“How is it that the ultimate prize in the most macho sport ever invented
is a piece of jewelry?” — Jennifer Garner in the movie Draft Day
Super Bowl LVI is on Sunday; the Bengals are playing the Rams at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Tom Brady isn’t playing, so many fans watching Sunday’s game won’t be able to name a player on either team without doing a Google search.
The Super Bowl is no longer about two teams playing for the NFL championship in a game recorded in Roman Numerals. It’s now an event. Is it just me, or are the Roman Numerals a little douchy?
Sunday is now an unofficial American holiday. It stopped being a football game and became a licensed, monetized, and commercialized cash haul years ago. The NFL trademarked the name, so only official outlets and sponsors may call it the Super Bowl. Everyone else has to call it The Big Game. Talk about douchy
This douchiness goes beyond the NFL. Type the words “Super Bowl Party” into a web browser, and you’ll find articles from Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, and the Food Network for tips and ideas for planning the perfect event. On Sunday, party guests will chow down on 28 million pounds of chips, 13 million pounds of guacamole, and about a billion chicken wings. Let’s hope those homes have at least two bathrooms and soft toilet paper.
I never liked Super Bowl Parties. You can either drop a few bucks to stand and watch the game in a crowded bar with a group of shit-faced fans who’ve been drinking since noon or go to a house party. The house parties are no better. Some guests spend days searching for the same outfit their favorite social media influencer wore in an Instagram post. “OMG!” The rest drone on and on about who’s playing at the halftime show. They usually leave when the White Claw and guacamole run out.
If you gamble, the Super Bowl is like a second Christmas. Gamblers will drop about $7 billion on the game. I don’t mean Millie from human resources picking a few boxes in the office pool. Since Christmas, I’ve seen non-stop ads for betting apps promising huge payouts. You can now lose insane amounts of money from an app on your iPhone. The app is like an electronic bookie, taking money straight from their bank accounts. On the plus side, I enjoyed seeing Halle Berry in the commercials for the past few weeks.
My friend Bill and I would hang out and watch the game for years. We’d order a pizza and split a six-pack. It was just two guys enjoying the game with no extraneous nonsense. Okay, we’d watch the commercials too, but that’s when they were worth watching, not the crap they’ve been
showing the past few years.
We had a good run, but the party found us. As the last two single guys in a group of old married men, the married men wanted in. They were eager for a night away from their wives and kids. The conversation switched from football to work, family, and politics. These guys didn’t come for the game. They came for the commercials, the halftime show, and the food — beefy guys gorged themselves on enough takeout to ensure a few trips to the cardiologist.
I got pissed when they kept rewinding and replaying an 80s-themed RadioShack commercial with Hulk Hogan, Mary Lou Retton, and Dee Snider. Yeah, that commercial helped RadioShack’s bottom line. Get off my lawn.
I’m watching Sunday’s game at home this year. Our Super Bowl tradition died when Bill got married in August. Fortunately, my wife likes football, but she also likes the halftime show. So, while Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, and Mary J. Blige are lip-synching for a global audience, I’ll go out and pick up pizza or wings. Hopefully, my son won’t grab the remote and stream Winnie the Pooh on Amazon Prime while I’m out