The Super Bowl is more than a game
The Super Bowl! The Big Apple! The most watched television show in history! The hype goes on and on until the country and even the world are whipped up into a frenzy.
Can there really be any TV ad worth $4 million for 30 seconds of airtime? Apparently many companies think so, as they bid the prices up year after year.
I must admit that I am not a passionate pro football fan. My roots are firmly planted in the fertile soil of SEC football. No matter how much I love college football on a sunny Fall afternoon, I must admit that attending a Super Bowl had long been on my bucket list.
When we had a chance to attend Super Bowl XLVIII this past weekend in New York, Mary Lou and I jumped at the chance. When Peyton Manning helped the Denver Broncos get in the big game, I was even happier.
New York City is bigger than life in the first place, but you add the glitz, glitter and celebrity of the Super Bowl week and the city becomes even grander.
Evander Holyfield was on our plane going up. My brother offered me $10 to pick a fight with him. Compared to Shaq O’Neal, who we also saw, Holyfield is a pipsqueak. The rich and famous, many with their entourages, were everywhere in their limos and long, black Escalades.
While there were plenty of rabid fans for both teams present, the game is really about corporate America. Everything from the food to the entertainment was over the top, with each company seemingly trying to outdo each other.
You couldn’t even travel to the stadium except by bus or train. It was odd seeing parking decks with tens of thousands of spaces empty for such a big game. The reason was security, which was the tightest I have ever seen at any event. I believe it is easier to get into the White House than it is to the Super Bowl.
As the temperature dropped, people put on layer after layer of clothing. I personally had on five layers and was quite comfortable despite the biting wind. It was the first time in my life that I actually used hand warmers.
Finally, it was time for the big game. A safety scored by Seattle on the very first play shocked everyone. Little did we know the game was already over at that point. The Broncos never showed up even as 111 million people watched on worldwide television.
We changed our flight to early Monday morning, hoping to get out of the city before the fast approaching snow storm. We almost made it, getting on the plane and sitting on the runway for an hour before the flight was cancelled.
That began a very long day of cancellations and rebookings until we finally got the very last plane out of New York. Our home never looked as good as it did at 4:30 Tuesday morning when we finally made it back.
Even though the game was a big disappointment, the Super Bowl experience was worth every minute. It really is so much more than just a football game.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org