What a game! What hype! What buzz! What drama! Even the lights went out on Monday, evidence that the Super Bowl requires more juice than physics and/or God can provide.
On Monday we Australians were treated to one of the best Super Bowls in the history of the sport!
At least, that was as far as I could tell.
I am a complete philistine when it comes to the game where the downtime outweighs the uptime sixfold.
I know nothing of the sport where there happens to be thrice the number of players in a ‘team’ than can legally take the field at any one time.
I wilfully and neglectfully shun opportunities to watch the football where there are more forward passes in one game than you would see in an entire Super Rugby season.
But despite my ignorant mocking of the machinations of the game that is enjoyed by so many in the land of the free, I do have a real bone to pick with Australia about the Super Bowl.
Wherefore do you care, Australia?
Especially you, you hiding, secretive NFL fans who found your voice on Facebook and Twitter at 10.00am AEDT on the fourth of February 2013!
“Come on 49ers!:
Was it all that emotion that you invested, all season long, willing the Niners to break their drought?
Was it all those years you spent as a long-suffering Ravens fan?
Had you even heard of the Ravens before they won the AFC Championship game and made it to the big kahuna?
Or did you just jump on the irresistible NFL bandwagon?
I will admit that I had only heard whispers of the Ravens’ franchise, and these were mostly mooted in drink-addled contests where participants were asked to name all 593 NFL franchises actively competing in the NFL.
And although pretty much all American sporting franchises have cooler sounding names than their Australian counterparts, I see this as insufficient reason for pretending to care about America’s biggest day in sport.
After all, none of us actually watch the NFL throughout the season, do we?
The Super Bowl, when placed in the jammed context Australian sporting landscape, has little to no impact.
It takes up a two-page spread the day before and the day after the game, and is never thought of again.
I would be surprised if the Super Bowl ever featured in any Australian’s personal best sporting moments of 20XX.
Of course there will be outliers and those who moved over from America, but the impact of the game to most of us is, yet it is billed as a ‘must-watch’ every year.
For this reason I think we should reflect on our true motivations for watching it.
Why are we really pretending to understand it, with all its boring and confusing timeouts, power shortages, half-time audience pandering and mind-boggling rules?
If the only purpose of the Super Bowl to Australians is to take up a few column inches in the newspaper and give people with a day off on Monday something to watch, then I think we should leave it at that.
We should just stop pretending to care.
It will save us the awkwardness of conversations like this one:
“Who won the Super Bowl?”
“I dunno. The Crows or something?”
“Uh huh… So, looking forward to Origin this year?”
It doesn’t mean anything to Australians other than an excuse to drink terrible American beer early in the morning, something I’m more than happy to never do again.
Let the Americans have it. They seem to like it.
I’ll take State of Origin, AFL grand final day, the Boxing Day Test, Bathurst 1000 any day of the week.
Hell, I’d even take Australia versus West Indies in a one-sided ODI borefest, complete with hours of rain delay.
Although Australia’s music, film and television industries may be bent over backwards by their American counterparts, giving us little choice but to like what they throw at us, our sporting industry remains our own.
I don’t see the reason to watch the Super Bowl just because it’s big.
There’s plenty enough on our patch to keep us occupied.
And it will save those who do jump on the bandwagon once a year the inevitable embarrassment of being vigorously quizzed by an actual NFL fan.