John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Super Hype

Posted on January 30, 2015
Super Bowl XLVIII kicking.jpg

"Super Bowl XLVIII kicking" by MichelinStar - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

“This one goes to eleven. “

That line, from the iconic movie This Is Spinal Tap, came to mind when I thought about this weekend’s big event.

The Super Bowl, to be truly successful, has to be one louder.

It has to be bigger, better, more exciting, more titillating, and just a bigger experience.

Tickets for the cheap seats are now going for upwards of $7000.   For a football game, that rarely if ever matches the hype.

The Super Bowl was named by former AFL owner and huge oilman Lamar Hunt.   He jokingly told Pete Rozelle, the former NFL commissioner, to call it a “super bowl”, adding that he was sure that he could come up with a better name.

Rozelle couldn’t, and now we have the biggest non-religious holiday of the year.

Unlike the World Series, which usually takes over a week to decide, the Super Bowl is decided in a couple of hours (not counting the commercials or the endless pre-game show).

The first bowl game was the Rose Bowl.   The stadium looked like a bowl and the football game coincided with the Tournament of Roses parade.

For most of the last century, before the Super Bowl, college football was far more popular than the professional variety.   But the pro-game took off after, thanks to the marketing genius of Rozelle, the ubiquity of television and the creation of the Super Bowl.

Like the World Series, the Super Bowl is looked askance by the rest of the world.

Since we are the country that really plays football, I guess we can call our championship “Super”, but is it really super-duper, or is it just super.

In doing my research for this piece, I learned that the World Series was originally named “World” because the sponsoring newspaper was named the New York World.

Unlike football, baseball is played in other countries, and when the Americans compete with other world powers these days, they don’t do as well as originally conceived.

Perhaps it is best to go with the idea that the Series was sponsored by a newspaper.

Maybe it should be updated and be called the World Times.

In any event, the Super Bowl never really lives up to the hype.  So it falls to the advertisers to take up the slack.

And sometimes the ads are fun.  Usually they combine audacity with humor and sentimentality.

The ads are so important because they theoretically draw in non-football fans.

Somebody has to eat all that food.

And in case you didn’t know, Americans eat more food on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day on the calendar outside of Thanksgiving.

Amazing, isn’t it?

In any event, I kind of hope the Patriots win.

Seattle won last year, and who really wants the Seahawks to be back to back champions?