It's the perfect sports event as national holiday. Everyone has a party, and it's always BYODAS: Bring you own deer antler spray. (Or, if you prefer, barbecued meatballs.)
Millions of people love the Super Bowl, and some of them are even sports fans.
March Madness has its moments, with the filling out of brackets and first-weekend buzzer beaters. But if your team is not playing in the national title game, you aren't throwing a party. The NCAA title game starts so late on a Monday nights, the youngest kids have to be in bed by halftime. The exception being last year, when Kentucky's kids were allowed to stay up and win the game.
When was the last time you went to a World Series party? Bob Gibson was pitching, you say, and you brought a case of Stroh's?
NBA Finals party? Maybe in Miami.
I once went to a World Cup party and it was kind of fun, although the 6 a.m. starting time was definitely a minus.
We love the Super Bowl because it's an event that provides the perfect balance of sports and entertainment, fortified with sex, violence and rock 'n' roll in a PG format.
Sex appeal arrives with the cheerleaders and GoDaddy.com commercials. Violence walks in when Bernard Pollard (or similar player, depending on the matchup) blasts the tar out of an opposing player. Rock 'n' roll comes in either the halftime show (although Beyonce might fall in the sex-appeal category) or the “rock star” like persona of the game's leading characters.
For instance, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis are the rock stars this time around, with Kaepernick the young, fresh face on the scene and Lewis the classic rocker with the questionable past behavior.
The two-week buildup also allows those who aren't sports fans to gain at least a casual knowledge of the players. We meet the coaches – in this case the brothers Harbaugh – and the top players and everyone is brought up to reasonable speed. No one's outside of baseball fanatics know the San Francisco Giants best middle relief pitcher. Nor do they care. People know the 49ers backup quarterback is Alex Smith.
Those who really don't care about football can find something to enjoy about the Super Bowl's periphery. They can judge Alicia Keys' national anthem. They can pick out their favorite offbeat commercial. They can wait to see what Beyonce wears at halftime. Few remember the teams who played in the Janet Jackson Wardrobe Malfunction Super Bowl. But they know her what she brought to the halftime (peep) show.
The NFL and its cozy relationship with the entertainment and commercial industries prompts many to watch so they can join the next-day conversation about Super Sunday.
Unlike the World Series or NCAA title games, kickoff is early enough for everyone to watch the game. The 6:30 tonight starting time is perfect. Confetti drops by 10 p.m., although the postgame chatter goes on all night.
This game does have some unique aspects to it, particularly the brother vs. brother coaching storyline. I've grown a bit tired of the buildup, but I can't help but feel some sense of empathy for both brothers.
The winning Harbaugh will be thrilled. He's won a Super Bowl. Yet he'll have to feel a bit bittersweet about his brother losing. I can't imagine being the Harbaugh bothers' parents. They'll win and lose. Talk about emotional conflict.
For most us, emotion won't be tied to this Super Bowl, absent its local flavor of Colts, Bears or Browns. (That last one's for my friend Murray, who still believes the Browns will make the Super Bowl in his lifetime. I love blind optimists.)
For most of us, the Super Bowl is a one-day respite from the real world. It's an unofficial holiday of mindless eating and watching. Is this a great country or what?
Now let's go watch Pollard light up a receiver. Please excuse me, I have to load up on some nachos.
Super Bowl XLVIIKickoff: 6:30 today
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