IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING: Why I only watched half of the Super Bowl

If you have been reading my columns, you probably know that I’m a huge football fan. I have been for as long as l can remember. A lot of people consider fall their favorite season for the changing leaves, the pumpkin flavored treats and the refreshing bite in the air; I consider it my favorite season because that means football is starting.

The morning of the first game of the season, I wake up early. Not on purpose, but because I am too excited to sleep. I impatiently pace around my house and try to find something to do to pass the time. When the football is finally kicked off, I am oozing so much enthusiasm and fervor that anyone who is with me is already annoyed with me.

As the season moves on, my elation never wavers. Being a Green Bay Packers fan, I’ve been blessed with a lifetime of successful seasons. I’ve seen them make it to three Super Bowls; Super Bowl XXXI in 1997 against the New England Patriots, Super Bowl XXXII in 1998 against the Denver Broncos and Super Bowl XLV in 2011 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Unfortunately for a lot of people around here, they have never seen their team win a Super Bowl, and I am genuinely sorry about that. Watching the Packers beat the Steelers five years ago will always be one of my favorite football memories. However, after that game, I had a bit of a realization about the Super Bowl; It’s not really about football or the game itself.

I had committed to not watching the game this year. This proved to be a lot harder than I thought. Football has a vice grip on me that is hard to control, so I folded and started watching. However, once the game got to halftime, I had seen enough.

Before the game this year, there was a seven-hour pregame show, and that was just on CBS. NFL Network had eight and half hours of pregame and ESPN had a staggering 11 hours of pregame. If an average football game runs three hours, then ESPN has almost four times the amount of pregame coverage than the length of the game.

A quote in an article by sports writer Katie Sharp (sbnation.com) describes it almost perfectly.

“Super Bowl Sunday has taken on a life of its own in recent years, with the actual game representing a mere blip on the jam-packed schedule for the big day.”

Once the aggravatingly redundant pregame shows are over, you have the pregame performances. This year, there was an Armed Forces chorus that sang “America the Beautiful”, and then Lady Gaga took the stage to sing the national anthem.

Because people will bet on almost anything, there is an over-under on how long the national anthem is each year. Not only that, but there is actual controversy on how long the song actually was, as if there needed to be any more drama on Super Bowl Sunday.

Speaking of betting, there are dozens of prop bets on the Super Bowl every year. There are several different bets you can place on non-game related events, such as whether or not their will be an earthquake during the game, what color the gatorade will be that is poured on the winning coach, and what song Coldplay will play first during the halftime show.

There are numerous bets on the coin toss alone. You can bet on which team will win the coin toss, whether it will be heads or tails, if the coin toss needs to be redone, if the tam making the call will win or lose the coin toss and if the coin toss winner will win the game.

When the game finally kicks off, all people can talk about are the commercials. A 30-second commercial cost $5 million to air this year, up from $4.5 million last year. This may be the one sporting event of the year where more people get up to get some chicken wings, grab a beer or use the restroom during the game than those that do during the commercials. That being said, the puppy-monkey-baby commercial haunted my dreams that night. It that’s what they were going for, they succeeded.

“They have become an event all by themselves, and many viewers seek them out without even caring about the game,” said an article on the commercials on heavy.com.

Once the game is over, the talk is less about the game and more on who screwed up for the losing team, and who will be named the MVP on the winning team. While a defensive player won the MVP honors it this year, seven of the last 10 Super Bowl MVP’s have been quarterbacks. In the 50 years of Super Bowls, a quarterback has been named the MVP 27 times, with the next closest being running backs with seven times.

As far as the losing team, Cam Newton will likely be blamed for the Panthers’ loss. That’s part of being an NFL quarterback. Mike Tolbert, the Panthers’ full back, is also catching criticism for fumbling twice in the game, his first and only two of the season. Carolina wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery also had slippery fingers, dropping his first two passes of the year in the game. Unfortunately for these guys, there is just as many post-game stories on them as on the Broncos.

When I was watching the Packers win their fourth Super Bowl back in 2011, I didn’t care about the commercials, the prop bets or the pregame show. I didn’t care who the halftime performer was or who sang the national anthem. All I wanted to do was watch the game; the game I’ve loved my whole life. Take all of that additional hodge podge of mediocrity out, and you have a football game with the two best teams in the league. If there was only the game and none of the other nonsense, I would watch it no question. That is what’s worth watching. People in this country have seemed to forget about that.