The Super Bowl is fast approaching but many of the traditions surrounding the game will not be possible this year.
This year is the 55th Super Bowl, and the two teams competing are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Super Bowl is the final National Football League (NFL) game of the season, meaning it’s the most important American football game of the year and typically the most watched event of the year in America. The game generates rivalries and alliances, bringing regional communities together for a night when almost a third of America's population has their eyes glued to the television screen.
The game is set to take place 7 February at 11:30pm GMT. This year’s Super Bowl will be very intense in my region of the United States due to Tom Brady’s switch from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay made it to the Super Bowl this year, and due to the loss of Brady, the Patriots have had a pretty bad season. This upcoming game will be Brady’s tenth Super Bowl, and if Tampa Bay wins this year, it will be his seventh win, making him an even more difficult opponent to beat in the spot for the NFL player with the most Super Bowl titles. In New England, people are divided as some will support Tampa Bay due to their alliance with Brady; many Patriots fans have supported Brady throughout his entire career and will continue to support him even with his switch to the Florida team. However, other New Englanders are in support of the Kansas City Chiefs; this division is sure to cause some tension amongst fans, which should make for a very interesting night.
Just as importantly though, for me at least, this game brings about one of the biggest parties of the year: a night of classic American appetisers, old friends, a lot of screaming at the television, dressing up in your favourite team’s jersey and a fabulous half-time show.
Typically, I enjoy the Super Bowl with a group of friends and everyone brings their favourite Super Bowl snack; some of my favourites include Buffalo Chicken dip, pizza, hot wings, mac and cheese and potato skins. The festivities start around 5:30pm, about an hour before the actual game starts. Then, we usually all pile on and around the couch and watch the game late into the night. In recent years my regional team, the New England Patriots, have been in the Super Bowl, which has made the games a lot more intense and exciting, especially for my friends who are huge Patriot’s fans.
People gather together to watch the game, whether they like football or not, mainly for the sense of comradery and for the legendary commercials and half-time show performances that are talked about all year round; no one wants to miss out on this game. The social scene of a Super Bowl party typically includes the die-hard fans who are dressed in their team’s jerseys, the people who care about the game enough to pay attention to the score but aren’t too heavily invested, and those who couldn’t care less about the game itself but want to socialise, eat and drink. The halftime shows typically involve big-name performers, such as Prince, Beyonce, The Black Eyed Peas, and Justin Timberlake. This year, The Weeknd will be performing, which is something I personally don't want to miss. It’s usually a fun night for everyone involved (except for the supporters of the losing team, who usually spend the following Monday shamefully avoiding all Super Bowl conversation).
However, last year was my first year not being in the United States for the Super Bowl; instead, I was in Glasgow, surrounded by friends who didn’t care to watch the game, especially with it running from approximately 11:00pm to 5:00am GMT on a Sunday night. While the Oscars and Grammys typically run at the same time, the Super Bowl, at least amongst my friends, didn't generate the same amount of excitement, since many people in Glasgow don’t seem to have the same sense of FOMO that my American friends feel back home at Super Bowl time.
I still found a way to enjoy the game, despite being alone and in a time zone five hours ahead of all my friends back home. I slept in in the morning, made some snacks for myself and watched the game on my laptop while texting my friends back home. I didn’t watch the entirety of the game (thanks to my Monday 10am class), but while the experience was not as exciting as usual, it was still nice to feel connected to a tradition back home.
I was hoping to get more of my friends involved in the game this year and put together some sort of viewing party, but due to the virus that will obviously not be happening. However, I am currently stuck in the United States for the Super Bowl this year, so while I won’t be able to enjoy the usual large, rowdy parties I’m used to, I'll be able to watch the game with my family and be in the same time zone as my friends. My mission is to get more of my Glasgow friends on the Super Bowl bandwagon next year.
Editorial Note: Tom Brady may or may not have cheated to win all of those Super Bowls, see Deflategate and Spygate part 1 and 2.
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