Is the Super Bowl Really a Big Deal?

Newcomers to the United States ask, "Is the Super Bowl really a big deal?"

In a word, yes!  It is the single biggest TV event of the year in the United States. 

In one game, a national sports champion is decided.  In our three other major team sports (baseball, basketball, hockey), there is a best-of-seven game playoff.  This one game is for all the marbles: the winner is crowned, the loser is quickly forgotten.

Sports fans are buying beer, soda pop, snacks, and much more this weekend.

Sports fans are buying beer, soda pop, snacks, and much more this weekend.

Supermarkets and party stores are crowded this weekend as fans stock up for their home viewing parties.  Sports bars and restaurants with TVs will be full of viewers who want to watch the game with other sports fans. 

If you have not been invited to attend a game watch party, you have two options.  First, you can invite people to your house to watch.  (If your invitees are hosting their own party, they may invite you to join them!)  Second, you can go to your local sports bar to watch both the game and the Americans who are cheering: sports AND culture in the same place!

What to do if you don’t like football?  Watch the game anyway.  Advertisers will show their best and most creative ads during this event.  (You can go to the fridge or the bathroom while the game is playing.)  Watch the halftime show.  It will be very splashy. 

7 Things You Need to Know:

1. The two teams playing are the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots (West Coast vs. East Coast).

2. The Seahawks won last year’s Super Bowl.  They have a very tough defense.

3. The Patriots are playing in their 6th Super Bowl since 2000.  They have a great offense.

4. New England’s quarterback, Tom Brady is one of the best all-time NFL quarterbacks, he is a University of Michigan graduate (Go Blue!), and he is married to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen.

5. New England is accused of cheating their way into the Super Bowl.  During the semi-final game against Indianapolis, they are accused of changing the inflation of the game ball to help with throwing and catching under rainy conditions.

6. Superstar Katy Perry will sing at the halftime show. 

7. Each member of the winning team gets $97,000.  Losing team members get $49,000.  Not a bad payday for either side!

New Vocabulary:

all the marbles = everything, in this case: all the glory, the whole championship

be crowned = be publicly recognized as the leader, receive the trophy

splashy = impressive, showy

Monday Morning Update:

Final score: New England 28, Seattle 24

In a see-saw battle, New England scored with about 2 minutes left.  The Patriot defense then intercepted a Seahawks pass at the goal line to preserve the victory with 20 seconds remaining. This was New England's fourth national championship in 14 years.

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.