Let me address this right now: I love football. I love it, I think it’s great, I think it’s fun to watch, I think it’s exciting and I think it’s a fun way to pass time with some friends and family as you cheer on the home team. I love the Huskers, I love the Broncos, I love the Bears and I’m fond of whatever other teams are playing as long as they’re not playing against any of my teams.
Growing up, the Huskers were a big deal in my family. Every game day that my grandparents didn’t use their season tickets to go to, the Hausmans would gather in their basement on the Husker red couches and eat food and be merry. Football is for everyone – all sports are, really – and the Super Bowl is a pretty dang big one.
Because that’s what it’s really about, right? People can talk a big game about America’s thirst for violence, athletic guys in tight white pants and entertaining commercials, but watching a football game isn’t nearly as exciting when you’re alone. Part of the fun is having someone beside you yelling “Offsides!” in hopes that the ref will hear you; or to have someone to high-five, chest-bump or beer tap with, if you’re the beer-tapping type.
Football is a bonding experience. That’s just the way it’s worked out over the years. When you have some friends over for a game you shine up your big television, find the best snacks and go all out. You can say hi to the person standing next to you in the elevator and ask if they saw the game last night. You can share a random high-five with someone you’ve never met but is also wearing a shirt representing the Orange Crush.
Here in Nebraska, we sort of get the best of it. Husker fans are universally pretty great people. We only boo refs, I’ve never seen anything flung at an opposing fan and our tickets are near the student section. Husker fans are fantastic. Even if you’re not in the Husker nation there are Husker Bars all over the country where you can go and hang out with a crowd of like-minded individuals, even in the Longhorn State. Nebraska fans are the kind of people where you can be pretty much anywhere, hear the long drawn-out “Gooo Biiiiiig Reeeeeeeeed” and be able to yell back “GO BIG RED!” without embarrassment (I’m talking about football here, Jays, don’t worry; you know I still love you.)
Community. That’s what being a football fan should be all about, and that’s what I argue for anytime somebody starts lecturing me about America’s priorities when I’m hanging out somewhere wearing my Rex Burkhead jersey.
That is what makes the Super Bowl so fantastic. It’s like normal football community to the nth degree. Pretty much everyone knows something about the Super Bowl. Oh the Ravens won, oh the coaches were brothers, oh there was this one Raven’s player who made a confetti angel after the game and it was really cute. Another thing people will be talking about: the fact that Beyoncé’s performance was so epic that it shut out the lights for like half an hour.
That’s something to be remembered.
Because even if a group of people who hate football ended up trapped at a Super Bowl party this year, there was Beyoncé. The Super Bowl ushers in some easy conversations about heart-warming Clydesdales, nauseating webhosts, and a performance so spectacular that it took up my Facebook newsfeed for quite a long time. Let’s face it, she effectively won that game – they do call it a shut-out after all.
Don’t hate on football. Watching sports isn’t for everyone, and watching football is less for some people. However, you can’t categorize it as a waste of time and energy that breeds violence and idiocy just because your only experience with it was your high school team. Football is great; there’s a reason it’s so popular and widespread. You don’t have to love football, but don’t ignore the good it has to offer the communities it impacts.