Watching One Football Game per Year

February 4, 2012

Super Bowl 46 logo

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Once a year, there is a single game that most Americans plan to watch, or at least will be exposed to by their friends, family, or colleagues.  This game, of course, is the annual Super Bowl championship, where the two top teams will be facing off in a large arena, become a spectacle and a symbol of American sports during the time before and during the game.  No doubt, an important occasion for every football fan. For the people that are not fans of football, however, it is still an important occasion. Why is that?

In 2012, we are being treated to the 46th Super Bowl, and where the NFC’s New York Giants will play the AFC’s New England Patriots on Sunday, February 5, 2012, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. In the United States, it will be televised by NBC, as well as broadcasted online by NBC Sports.

Of course, as many Americans know, this is the biggest game during the year. Parties and gatherings are planned. Time off from employment is scheduled to allow employees to watch this game. Stores prep every aisle that they can for the amount of food and related accessories that fans will purchase.

The importance placed on this game by football fans and the media may be why those that, normally, do not follow sporting events are drawn into watching this game in order to see what the buzz is about. They hear about the big-name commentators, and ridiculously expensive tickets to get into the stadium, and the million-dollar commercials. Still, why do so many people watch this game year after year?

Regular people feel left out, and want to be a part of this large social event. Humans are social creatures, and we try to fit into where we think we should by doing what we see others doing. This has long been known to scholars of human behavior and communication patterns. We also do what it takes to get what we can out of a situation. So, people that are not true fans of football will sit on the couch with their buddies and cheer for one of the teams, even if we know nothing about either one. We just do it to gain social acceptance. We know that we are being watched, so we try to act accordingly while in our little panopticon (we will act differently while being watched, so a prison system was developed around this trait in humans).

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