The Super Bowl: NFL Championship Or Media Spectacle?

Jim MancariCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2017

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Super Bowl was once known as the ultimate clash of football titans competing for eternal greatness on the gridiron. NFL legends like Bart Starr, Roger Staubach and Terry Bradshaw left everything they had on the field, while coaches such as Vince Lombardi, Hank Stram and Chuck Noll put their best foot forward in order to hoist the championship trophy.

Today, the players and coaches still give their best efforts in order to attain immortality. However, the media has turned “Super Sunday” into a national holiday. It’s getting to the point where most fans watch the game for the entertainment aspect rather than the play on the field. The whole spectacle of the Super Bowl, in my opinion, has become quite ridiculous in today’s society.

I understand that the NFL is a business and is trying to get the support of multiple sponsors. But does every single screen graphic or statistic need a sponsor?

The NFL lucked out this year that two of the most storied franchises in sports history, the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, squared off in what was hyped up to be an epic battle. The game itself equaled the New York Giants win over the New England Patriots from 2008 as one of the best games played in recent memory. But when we look back at Super Bowl XLV, will we remember the 31-25 final score and that Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers won the MVP? Or will we remember the media aspects of this game more than the game itself?

The spectacle that is the Super Bowl began on Tuesday of this past week, with the annual “Media Day” in Dallas. To think, the hype has gotten so huge that the media needs a specific day dedicated to them. Most of the questions were geared towards Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s off-the-field issues surrounding his sexual assault scandal from the offseason.

Showing that the media’s role in the big game has really been brought over the top, reporters questioned Steelers’ defensive end Brett Kiesel about the Facebook page dedicated to his beard. That’s right; fans can “like” this guy’s beard on the web.

In all sports, the athletes are treated as super human beings with all-powerful capabilities. What we often forget is that these men are regular guys who have families and, in the scheme of things, are just doing their jobs. I could only imagine if a bunch of fans start cheering outside the office of an accountant to do his job.

The whole opening ceremonies have been blown out of proportion as well. Multi-platinum recording artist Christina Aguilera was brought in to sing the National Anthem, and she actually flubbed a line. The media will compare this to Janet Jackson’s infamous wardrobe malfunction and probably remember it more about the game than Aaron Rodgers’ performance. Celebrities galore were present at the game, from Texas-hero George W. Bush to Alex Rodriguez being fed popcorn by Cameron Diaz. Don’t worry; we won’t hear the end of this for awhile.

Speaking of performances, the Black Eyed Peas hyped up a tremendous halftime show all week. A normal halftime for an NFL game lasts roughly 15 minutes, but in the Super Bowl, a 30-minute halftime show has become the norm. Though the budget for the show could have probably fed a small nation, the Black Eyed Peas seemed to disappoint many viewers, until special appearances by Slash from Guns N’ Roses and Usher livened things up. Usher saved that halftime show like Green Bay’s defense saved the Packers on the final drive, but once again, what will be remembered years later?

Of course, what is the Super Bowl without great commercials? Doritos scored three memorable commercials within the first quarter. I could only imagine the price tag associated with those spots. The E-Trade baby made a few appearances, Bud Light had a nice showing, and it was great to see Roseanne get decked by a log in the Snickers commercial. By the way, I have already ordered my pink Sketchers Shape-Ups. Thanks, Kim Kardashian.

Unfortunately, the game itself has become second to the entertainment value. Aaron Rodgers at times looked like a young Brett Favre with his movement in the pocket and clutch throws down field. Hopefully, Rodgers isn’t as proficient a texter as Favre. But again, will fans remember Rodgers’ big game or the 2011 season premiere of FOX’s hit show, “Glee”, which aired after the game?

It’s amazing how a 60-minute game can be turned into such pandemonium over the course of almost four hours. What’s more ludicrous is that fans actually paid $200 to watch the game outside the stadium in Dallas and, even worse, $900 to park their car.

In the end, the “cheesheads” walked away happy while Twitter saw as much action as will be seen in Pirates of the Caribbean 4. The media is likely already preparing for next year’s Super Bowl; that is, of course, if the Collective Bargaining Agreement pans out and the sport is played.

Until then, Christina Aguilera, I mean the 2011 Green Bay Packers, will go down in Super Bowl lore forever.