Column: Is the Super Bowl a must-watch?

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor (13) during a practice for the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, in Minneapolis. Philadelphia is scheduled to face the New England Patriots Sunday. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Super Bowl Sunday: the biggest sports day of the year. The culmination of the NFL season, the crowning of a new champion, the unbelievable plays that will live on forever. And that’s not even to mention all of the non-sports related activities, from gameday feasts to halftime shows to overhyped pre-released commercials, just to name a few.

I couldn’t be any less excited.

Normally I love the Super Bowl; there’s no better event, perhaps with the exception of the World Cup, to unite the sports fans and non-sports fans of the world. But, here’s the unfortunate thing: I’m a Giants fan.

Of all the possible Super Bowl matchups, drawing a team from the NFC and the AFC, the Patriots and Eagles are easily the second-worst imaginable. Replace the Eagles with the team from Dallas and you have stuff from nightmares.

It’s the ultimate lose-lose. Every second of the game will be pure torture, knowing that the outcome of every play, of every call and the outcome of the game itself, will favor a team that I passionately despise, no matter which team it is.

And yet, this upcoming Sunday at approximately 6 p.m., I will undoubtedly be sitting in a room surrounded by Patriots fans, Odell jersey donned, ready to endure the next three hours of suffering.

It’s not just me. Giants fans are far from the only ones who feel an obligation to tune in on Sunday, even if it’ll inflict immense physical and mental pain.

There is a certain unavoidable draw of the Super Bowl. Of course, if you’re a football fan, there is a kind of duty to see how the long season concludes after countless Sundays spent watching hours of NFL action. Following any sport’s regular season is an investment, and one that requires seeing out to the end.

But even for the non-sports inclined, for those that have no idea what an extra point is or what constitutes a catch in the NFL—wait, no one does—there’s an inescapable pressure to watch the Super Bowl. As if to ignore the big game is completely un-American.

And perhaps that’s it. Maybe the NFL and Super Bowl advertisers have done such a successful job convincing us that the Super Bowl is not only must-watch, can’t-miss television, but that it’s distinctly an American staple.

Or perhaps it’s something simpler than that. Possibly the Super Bowl has become just another excuse to throw parties and eat absurd amounts of food. Maybe the spectacle that is the Super Bowl, particularly the commercials and performances, have surpassed the game itself.

Whatever the reason, I’ve found myself asking a question that I never considered before: do we have to care about the Super Bowl?

Personally, I know that for better or worse, I’ll always care. In fact, the very passion that I feel towards the two teams, albeit negative, is evidence that even when my favorite team isn’t taking the field, I’m still very much invested in the game.

But I wonder if, for those with little interest in football, the Super Bowl is reaching—or perhaps has already reached—a peak. Last year’s big game was the least-watched since 2013. Between the growing concerns of the long-term effects of the sport, the continued growth of the NBA and the oversaturation of the NFL, it’s very possible the Super Bowl will soon no longer be the required watching event it is today.

Ultimately, however, the Super Bowl obligation is not a bad thing. It brings fans of all kinds together, and although you must subject yourself to never-ending advertising and fanfare throughout, there’s nothing like sharing in those iconic moments (I choose to remember the David Tyree catch, primarily) with others.

It’s the biggest game of the biggest sport in the country, and it’s far too exciting to miss out on. The Super Bowl has become more than simply a game; it has become part of American history. And if that sounds too lofty, you’ve never watched.

There’s a reason why, despite the Eagles and Patriots being two of my bottom-three teams, I’ll be watching, just like everyone else. While it hurts my very soul that either the Patriots or the Eagles will inevitably hoist the Lombardi Trophy, I’m eager for Sunday to arrive.

Forget what I said about my lacking excitement: it’ll be the worst Super Bowl of my life—but I’m still looking forward to it.


Andrew Morrison is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at andrew.morrison@uconn.edu. He tweets at @asmor24.