In just 50 years, the Super Bowl has become one of the biggest “shared experiences” in American culture, up there with attending religious services, voting in presidential elections and playing Pokémon Go.
But curiously, many of the tens of millions who tune in don’t actually want to watch football.
Perhaps it’s because the game itself has never been all that exciting, with the outcome rarely a close call. As a response, it seems the NFL has created a thriving, celebratory atmosphere around the game.
So how did a battle of gridiron gladiators become second fiddle to a flashy spectacle of singers, fireworks and advertisements?
The Super (boring) Bowl
The Super Bowl is generally super boring – at least, in terms of the typically lopsided score. The game is so boring that a rehash of all 50 of the past Super Bowls finds that the average margin of victory is more than 14 points. Only 18 of the games have been decided by seven points or fewer, while only seven have been settled by a field goal or less.
The first 20 Super Bowls produced only five close games, and criticisms of the lack of parity in the other 15 drowned out the excitement of the handful of close contests. The average margin of victory for Super Bowls I to XX was over two touchdowns. Sports columnists in the 1970s and 1980s dismissed Super Bowls as “hopelessly” and “unbearably dull,” “sleep-inducing” and “lacking high drama.” Even former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle admitted that the day was “probably more of an event than simply a game.”
Still, by the 1980s, the Super Bowl had become a de facto American holiday. But much of the public remained indifferent about the game itself. For example, prior to Super Bowl XXI, one poll indicated that 40 percent of viewers didn’t even care who won. Seguir leyendo THE SUPER BOWL’S EVOLUTION FROM FOOTBALL GAME TO ENTERTAINMENT EXTRAVAGANZA. PETER M. HOPSICKER AND MARK DYRESON