I looked through my list of new things last week and realised sadly that there’s a lot of sports events still to tick off. Understandably, I’ve not been able to get to any for at least a year, but I’ve been diligently trying to tick them off by finding some live and online. During 2020 I watched baseball, handball, and darts played in empty stadiums as I sit on my sofa: it seems crazy to think that by this time last year I’d seen a live volleyball match and a live hockey match and stood shoulder to shoulder with thousands of people! Towards the bottom of my list of sports events was American football. It seemed too good to be true then that early this morning, the 8th February, the biggest game in American football was happening, the Super Bowl – looks like I was going to tick another one-off!
The Super Bowl has been going since 1966 and is the final game to determine the winner of the National Football League in America. I knew this, as I’m confident you do too, due to the huge cultural significance around it. The Super Bowl is usually the most-watched programme in America which is why the advert time around runs at a premium: this is when you get the all the new film trailers, all those flashy adverts with celebrity endorsements, and of course, the spectacular half-time show – the one reason I know what the Super Bowl is. This year The Weeknd was the big star performing, but previous years have seen Beyonce, Michael Jackson, and Prince. You could say it’s a pretty big deal.
Unfortunately for me, the actual match (game?) didn’t start until 12.30 am Monday, so there wasn’t a chance I was making it up for the full four hours it was likely to take. It would be a push to make it up for the half-time show, but I went in with an open mind and not a clue what to expect.
I was under the impression that it was very similar to rugby, with the exception being you throw the ball forward instead of back. Well, I can say with the confidence of a woman who has seen a maximum of five rugby matches in her lifetime (but wishes it were more) – this was nothing like it. Yes they have a similarly shaped ball, yes they have an ‘H’ goal and yes they have to run with the ball over the goal line, but why do they need to stop every 10 seconds?! Every time it looked like things were getting interesting the game would stop and they’d set up again. Every time somebody got tackled they’d stop. I just couldn’t gel with it at all and I now understood why a match takes four hours .
I begrudgingly made it through the first quarter, which was 15 minutes of game time but around 40 minutes in real time. It felt like so much longer. I am curious why they only play in short bursts instead of playing through, but not enough to research anymore – it’s just not for me. I can’t say I won’t give it another try, especially if I get to see a live, in-the-flesh match at any point, but I’m not in any rush!