Let’s analyze Super Bowl viewers

Last weekend was Super Bowl LVI.

Whether you watched it or not, there is always a lot of pre- and postgame chatter. It amuses me how viewers are so very distinct, falling into five categories of viewing: for the game, for the party or food, for the halftime show, and/or for the ads. Then, there are the non-viewers who take pride in not giving a toss about the game.

It seems right to start by addressing the fans of football as our first group of viewers. I spent countless Sundays and Monday nights watching NFL games in my late teens, and even though I have not kept up my player knowledge, I still love the game. I hear Goldie Hawn singing “It’s the sport of kings, better than diamond rings…” every time I sit down to watch a game. I’ve also watched most football movies ever made, so if you missed that reference, it’s the end credits song for the Wildcats movie.

Teams’ fans, this year including the Rams and Bengals, almost deserve their own category. They are not just watching for the game of football; there is pride on the line. Preparations for their game watching intensify, as do the stakes.

Which brings us to the next category, those watching for the party and/or the food. From chili to a starting lineup of appetizers and finger foods, with many a brand name beer or non-alcoholic bevy, there are deep food and drink traditions with Superbowl. Though some are looking for an excuse to drink heavily or gorge themselves, and nary look up for the sport, often chatting about recipes, which is a flag on the play for our first group.

Then there are the music aficionados who don’t want to miss the halftime show. This year, with a special teams lineup of hip-hop artists and rappers, even the kicker for one of the teams stayed out to watch the show. Many viewers called this year’s show the GOAT or greatest of all time, though they couldn’t have been around for performances like Prince if they are going to be able to stand by that call.

Speaking of GOAT, that brings us to the commercials that air during the Superbowl. They have their own dedicated defensive line who will take you out if you talk during the ads as opposed to the game. This year’s ads included a Disney+ ad featuring, yep, goats, and a long field goal of an ad by GM featuring Dr. Evil’s crew.

Then there are the non-viewers who seem to take pride in never having watched a single game, even mocking the sport with comments like “I hope they score a basket.” I’ve never really understood why some people feel the need to state proudly that they have never watched an episode of Game of Thrones, nor a Super Bowl game, but OK, if that is how you find your people, game on (or not, in this case).

As I near the end of the fourth quarter of this column, while I fall into four of the five categories of Super Bowl viewers, I can’t help but think that the champions who will sport a game-winning ring are those who choose to live and let live. It’s probably the needed mantra for our era, and if most quarterbacks (ahem, Tom Brady) can shake hands after the game, surely the rest of us can pick up a play or two from that.

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