By no stretch of the imagination could you call me a sports fan, and the amount I know about American Football could fit on a pinhead. I had a San Francisco 49ers t-shirt when I was a kid; I knew about The Refrigerator; I had watched Mean Machine with Burt Reynolds; I’d read Vanity Of Duluoz about Jack Kerouac’s college football days; I caught some games on Channel 4 in the UK where it was shown at 2 in the morning with all those other sports that the English viewing public considered fringe sports.
So, last night I went to my first Superbowl Party, and it was great, and it was something totally different to anything I have really experienced. My feeling has always been that Americans know how to celebrate better than the English – I always remember things being a little reserved in the UK; of course there are exceptions, but the only event that really stands out for me was the Silver Jubilee in ’77. Bonfire Nights were pretty passe and apart from the usual bangs and light displays you would expect didn’t really do much for me.
The first sporting event I went to was a Ray’s game, and after picking up what was happening with the baseball game it was fun, but even before that rudimentary understanding of the rules and the plays the whole atmosphere was a family friendly event that just made you feel good.
This party was like that, but the whole atmosphere was notched up. I’ll admit I was pretty clueless about what was happening with the game, but I enjoyed watching it, partly because of the energy that the rest of the audience at the party was kicking out.
The NFL and the networks covering it really make it an event – the adverts and the music and the whole hoopla that people generate around it really gets the blood pumping. They create the family feeling in the stadium and it carries through. The advertisers really nailed that whole vibe and the adverts were exciting and rode on that flow of being for the whole family.
People know that there is a commercial aspect to the whole thing, but the aesthetic level and tone of the whole thing is delivered with such enthusiasm that it almost transcends the idea of selling things. The captive audience is ready and waiting for something exciting – some kind of spectacle that equals the game they are watching – they want that energy level maintained. For me they achieved that.
I left the party wanting to learn more about the game because the whole thing was fun. I wanted to support a team, because the whole thing was really good natured – the sponsors, the advertisers, the audience … everyone was playing the game. I felt myself wanting to watch the TV Shows and the Movies; I wanted to buy the cars. I wanted to watch football – this is not something I would normally want to do, but I was sold.