Superbowl Sunday

With the Superbowl upon us, and with one of the teams looking to complete the first 19-game undefeated season, it is probably safe to say that the majority of the U.S. will be tuned into the game. I was seeking to present a glimpse of what this day - not just this game - has become to the people of the nation, and I came across exactly that in an article by Joseph Price from a University of Chicago publication called Sightings. The article is titled, More Than a Game.
Price explains:
"the Super Bowl constitutes a religious phenomenon, providing a prominent public ceremony for patriotic display, while blending several symbol systems that shape the worldviews of many Americans. The football game and surrounding events celebrate America's devotion to sports, its fascination with entertainment, and its practice of consumerism."
Writing in 2005, when the game was in Jacksonville, Florida, Price notes how a pilgrimage of over 100,000 people descended on the small city for the week of festivities that included everything from lavish corporate sponsored parties to your average house party that many across the country will be attending this weekend. Further, in 2005:
"The National Retail Federation estimates that nationwide about 45 million people attended 7.5 million Super Bowl parties, at which more food was consumed than on any day other than Thanksgiving."
Price goes on in describing the devotional approach to the consumerist spirit of the game by noting the $300 million boost to the Jacksonville economy, the $2.4 million spent for a 30 second advertisement during the game which was watched by more than 150 Americans. Consider all of these numbers are apt to go up this year, with the possibility of an undefeated season on the line, and capturing the interest of even non-fans of the sport. So how does all this make the Superbowl some sort of consumerist religious event? According to Price:
"It enables participants (including fans) to explore levels of selfhood, identity, and self-transcendence that would otherwise remain inaccessible, while establishing a means for developing communal relations with other devotees. It models ways to deal with contingencies and fate, providing the prospect for experiencing a final victory -- and thus sampling, at least in an anticipatory way, abundant life -- or for rehearsing the lasting defeat of death."
And so... enjoy the game, and may we all experience a little bit of connection to the things that are greater than us.
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  1. Anonymous4:03 PM

    I came across this article to accompany another great post by the writers of Recycled Minds.

  2. Anonymous4:13 PM

    yeah, i've often wondered about the allure of sports, being a non-believer of sorts myself. especially interesting to me is when the fans have no ties to the team -- either geographically, nostalgically, etc -- and yet they are so utterly consumed by very specific teams. of course, others just like to watch the competition, which i can understand.
    still, it's no wonder that superbowl sunday has taken on all the characteristics of other american consumerist holidays. but strange nonetheless.

  3. Anonymous2:42 PM

    One nation, under football.... oooops I mean God...
    sick sick SICK!

  4. well - here you go. Sunday's superbowl was the most watched ever with 97.5 million viewers. Here's the strange thing - the only thing that has been seen by more viewers was the 1983 finale of M-A-S-H, with 104 million. what is wrong with this world????
    Sourced from YahooNews @;_ylt=AtEwK5TPCj_ChoTWA0nPXf05nYcB?slug=ap-superbowl-ratings&prov=ap&type=lgns


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