The Super Bowl is this Sunday. Why do I know this? It’s not because I’ve been keeping track of the games. Or that we’re airing the game locally.
No. It’s the all hoopla associated with game that’s taken over the airwaves. Commercials which advertisers have spent millions to air for 30 to 60 seconds between downs are already being teased, discussed, and previewed online.
Animal Planet’s annual Puppy Bowl videos have also started. You know the game. Dozens of the cutest canines play (and pee) on a miniature football field complete with four-legged referees. This year, it’s “Ruff versus Fluff” with exclusive behind the scenes action, instant replays and puppy cams.
And to ensure equal time for the felines, the Hallmark Channel is offering a Kitten Bowl as part of a spay and neuter campaign. Meanwhile, Friskies cat food has already released their commercial for game night with a kitten and his mentor explaining the odd human behaviour during the Super Bowl.
Then there’s the half-time show. Over the years, we’ve watched wardrobe malfunctions (Nipple-gate anyone?), offensive hand gestures (thank you, M.I.A.), strange collaborations (Aerosmith joined by 'N Sync, Nelly, Mary J. Blige and Britney Spears?) and overblown theatrical endeavours.
And recently, there was the scandalous suggestion that the performers should pay to perform at the game. After all, the NFL has been picking up the tab for the exorbitant sets and excessive special effects, not to mention the travel and lodging costs for the stars and their entourages.
Meanwhile, chicken wings and pizza have been taking over the television airwaves as the food and drink industry prepares for all the game parties.
And if all that wasn’t enough, we have this year’s salacious ball-busting “Deflate-gate.” While many don’t understand the technical aspects of a football, audiences were all a-twitter upon hearing the coach announce how tough his balls are. Not to mention the quarterback declaring that his balls felt “perfect” and that no one played with them before the game.
With all this, the NFL is guaranteeing that practically everyone – including those who don’t give a hoot about football – will be talking about the Super Bowl. That’s how it attracts over 100 million viewers. It’s so much more than a football game. In fact, a 2011 survey found that among those who watched the Super Bowl, less than half thought the game was most important part of the show.
Because the truth is, although just about everyone is aware of the Super Bowl, the majority don’t even know who’s playing. Of course, this is pure conjecture on my part.
But consider this: producers of Jimmy Kimmel Live talked to 14 people on the street on Martin Luther King Day. Everyone knew about MLK, Jr. However, fifty percent didn’t know that he is, in fact, dead.
So I’m just assuming the leader of the civil rights movement ranks a little bit higher in top-of-mind awareness and social importance than a football game. But just barely.