Super Bowl not just a game

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 1, 2009

It’s a pretty sure bet that tonight just about every one of you reading this column will be watching a football game tonight.

But it’s not just any football game. It’s kind of like a football game and big party all in one. It can only be the Super Bowl.

Millions upon millions of people gather around the chips, wings, mini hot dogs and a television set to watch two teams they probably don’t know or care much about play for the NFL championship.

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The hardcore football fans tune in for what should be a good game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburg Steelers.

The non-football fans will tune in because the party they go to has good food, the Super Bowl commercials are funny and Bruce Springsteen is performing at halftime.

The Super Bowl used to be just a game. The champions of the National Football Conference and American Football Conference would gather to determine the champion.

Sure, there was some pomp and circumstance. It was a championship game after all. But it was nothing like it is now.

Now, as soon as the conference championship games are over, it’s two weeks of hype.

You could barely turn on a television this week without hearing some talking head discuss how the Steelers defense was going to stop the Cardinals offense or how Cardinals coach Ken Whisinhunt is trying to get revenge against the team for which he used to be the offensive coordinator.

And it’s not just the constant analysis that’s different than Super Bowls of the past. It’s also the constant parties and corporate galas that accompany the game.

There are so many people in Tampa, Fla., right now, it’s unbelievable. They set up parties all week for movie stars, music moguls and other people in high places.

Most of them don’t even stay in town for the game.

Their work is done on Saturday, so they pack up and leave.

All of that and more is why the Super Bowl has morphed from just a professional league’s championship game to a cultural event.

It’s the commercials, the parties, the halftime show and, yes, the football that keeps America tuned in.

So enjoy the game, the food and the camaraderie tonight as you gather around the television to watch the game. The rest of America is right there with you.