Over the course of my adulthood I've witnessed a disturbing trend. We're losing what the Super Bowl is supposed to be about. It used to be about commercialism, particularly new, funny commercials. Super Bowl parties involved women talking amongst themselves while men talked about their jobs, golf games, or the upcoming baseball season. Once every few years, there'd be a game that was competitive into the fourth quarter. There were about eight of them in the first twenty-nine games. (Others had final scores that appeared to make them competitive, but they really weren't.)
Today, a whole generation's growing up not knowing what that's like. Yes, the commercialism is still there, but it's been increasingly overshadowed by the competition of the game itself! The men are actually talking about the game. And the women are watching, too!
When did this begin? With Super Bowl 30 (1995 season) between Pittsburgh and Dallas. After that, there's been three or four games that weren't in doubt by the beginning of the fourth quarter. Many have gone to the wire. This means you can't leave the game for a bathroom break during the game, but you don't want to miss the commercials either.
What a tragic Catch- 22!
Another example of losing touch with the True Meaning of the Super Bowl: people like supermarket check-out clerks used to say, "Enjoy the party," but now they increasingly say, "Enjoy the game." Are they ordered to say that? Don't they know how gravely offensive that is for those who want to remember what the Super Bowl was originally like?
And I wonder, if a competitive Super Bowl was what was originally intended, why didn't we have them from the beginning?
I write this several hours before kickoff of the 48th Super Bowl between Denver and Seattle, one of the most eagerly-awaited match-ups in years. But somehow, in my gut, I feel this could be a blowout. I can't even guess for whom. It just seems like we're due for one.
And if that happens, maybe we can all sit back and reflect on the True Meaning of the Super Bowl.