“I Watch the Super Bowl for the Commercials” Club

super bowlI’m convinced my complete disregard for football may be connected to my early immigration. I’ve never had an interest in football nor have I ever attended a real live football game. This was a considerable waste as my high school had an undefeated football team, but I barely noticed. Despite my Soviet birth, I do not prefer soccer to football and don’t have an inherent passion to debate this subject, as some Europeans love to do.

I don’t enjoy watching these big men in their seemingly tight, uncomfortable outfits, often in putrid colors of diarrhea green, mustard yellow or unflattering reds. I’m not interested in the physics behind the throw or the semantics of the game. I don’t know the difference between a down or a scrimmage and I don’t care. I don’t even comprehend how it’s a ball at all; isn’t the nature of a ball supposed to be round? According to the Internet, maybe a football is an ovoid and I want to discuss this as much as football.

My husband is not a sports fan, either; he is an artist. This is not to say artists and sports fans are mutually exclusive, but it’s fairly common for them to be incompatible. When we first started dating, it was refreshing to bond on common cultural interests such as museums, concerts, hikes, traveling, reading, theater, and sex. While I enjoyed rollerblading in Central Park, and he walked at least 5 miles a day, sports were never a part of our lives and spectator sports, were even less so. We both agreed cheerleaders are the best part of a football game.

Take one part sports, one part commercials, one part concert, and one big hunk of national pride, and you’ve got the Super Bowl. The buying and selling of logocentric paraphernalia and the idolization of the players not only connects the fans with their team, it grants them a stake in the final outcome. The whole country stops to watch a bunch of grown men crash into each other and throw around a brown awkward object, while rowdy spectators drink gallons of beer and eat the wings of feathered creatures, dipped in a mixture of tomatoes and sugar.

The economy has everything to gain from this country-wide party so Yay Capitalism! Everyone wants a piece of the money pie. The exploitation of players on the commercial scale almost trumps the game itself. In Super Bowl 50, every player on the winning team will walk away $102,000; players on the losing team get $51,000. The quarterback has a $2 million bonus tied to the game.

The Super Bowl has also become a fashion show for commercials. Having spent 13 years in various roles within the advertising world, I await this football-interrupted commercial festival.

Companies use these precious seconds in between heated action of a game to strut down the advertising runway. In these especially expensive moments, they capitalize on 100 million ogling, passionate viewers and inject brainwashing messages convincing us to buy their products. This year’s going rate for a commercial was $5 million per 30 seconds.

So, I will be DVRing the Super Bowl (Yay technology) so I can skip the action of the game and watch the cinematic gems in the middle. Until I googled it, I had no idea Broncos were playing the Panthers. My husband has distilled it down to “Oldest Quarterback” versus guy from Blind Side. He’s going with “Oldest Quarterback.” From my vantage point, I see horses and cats. I’m rooting for the Panthers obviously, since I’m a cat person and their colors are much more pleasing to the eye.

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