It’s that time of the year again when days are measured as
countdowns to the big moment, when all conversations converge on one topic and
when we aliens head to the slopes for a weekend skiing trip as a) we have no
idea what the fuss is all about and b) we know we’ll be the only ones there, at
least on the Sunday.
Yup, it’s Super Bowl time.
But also as usual we have failed in our attempts to understand
why the whole nation pretty much comes to a standstill on the big day. TV coverage begins at 2 pm local and runs until
10:30 pm – in between, there is a half-time show from (this year) Bruno Mars
and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, an interview with President Obama and numerous
commercials all vying to be the funniest, the saddest or the weirdest while
paying the TV company up to $4 million per 30 seconds in their efforts to do
Oh and somewhere in there, there’ll be an actual game, where
the time on the clock will count down from 60 minutes but which will take
between 3 and 4 hours. More amazingly, it has been calculated the average NFL game has only 11 minutes of actual play.
But there is no denying that these are some of the most American 11 minutes. Average viewing figures for the Super Bowl have exceeded 100
million since 2010 and there have been calls for Super Bowl Sunday to be made a
national holiday given it unites Americans in their love of football.
love of a good party. The popularity of Super Bowl parties
means that total food consumption this coming Sunday is only second to
Thanksgiving. Except that pumpkin pie is replaced by pizza, sweet potatoes by
chips (as in our crisps) and turkey is replaced by chicken wings. An estimated
1.25 billion of them, according to the National Chicken Council’s 2014 Wing
Report, up 20 million from last Super Bowl.
Apparently if you laid all 1.25
billion end to end, they would stretch from the Seattle Seahawks’ home on the
west coast to the New Jersey stadium where the game is being played - some
30 times. Given they’re wings, I’m assuming that’s as the crow flies.
Most parties take place at home, with apparently nine out of ten viewers watching the game at their own or a friend's house. This is great for TV retailers who sell 7.7 million TVs in the week running up to the game, according to the National Retail Federation. The most popular are 50 inches or bigger - as in the width of a double-sized bed.
Other Super Bowl traditions include betting on just about everything and anything. Last year a record $99 million was wagered through the sports books in Nevada, the only state where sports gambling is allowed. But that is estimated to be only a tiny fraction of total wagers placed illegally. This year bets are being taken on key game changers such as what hat Bruno Mars will wear to start his half time show and will any of the members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers be shirtless during the performance.
There is one major break in tradition this year in that this will be the first outdoor
Super Bowl in a “cold-weather” environment. If you have been following the
news recently, you’ll know that cold this year in the USA has taken on a new meaning
. There had even been fears of a Snow Bowl but current forecasts are for
temperatures just about in the positive column, Celsius-wise. And it will help that on
every seat will be a “warming” pack with a cushion, muffler, gaiters,
three pairs of hand and foot warmers, lip balm and a pack of tissues. That
makes tickets, averaging around $2,600 each, a real bargain! Actually, apparently it is - supposedly the second cheapest Super Bowl in the last 8 years.
Another talking point this year is the fact the competing teams come from the only two states in the USA that currently allow recreational use of marijuana. So this year’s Super Bowl has in some quarters been re-named Stoner Bowl, complete with the obligatory T-shirts, hoodies - and alternative party food recipes.
Just in case you think we are being completely churlish and not getting into the spirit of our new home, we do aim to be watching the game with a bunch of other people while drinking beer and eating snack food. And dare I say it, even getting high - as in 30,000 ft high. For that's our Super Bowl tradition - a pre-Bowl skiing the bowls, take-off at kick-off and taking a gamble - on whether there will be in-flight live TV.