Consumption and gluttony, in other words…the Super Bowl

There are people in America who think football is a religion (much in the same way the rest of the world feels about soccer…oops America, missed the boat on that one), and it’s no surprise that football is often pinpointed, nationally and internationally, as the ultimate symbol of American culture.

So many people were tuned into Super Bowl Sunday this year that internet traffic dropped as much as 20 percent during the game.  The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Assosciation projected more than 150,000 visitors to pour into the city. And at home, more than 111.3 million tuned in to watch the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots, setting a record for the third consecutive year as the most-watched television show in U.S. history.

And while our country was engrossed in the highest-profile sporting event in the nation, we managed to consume an average of 1,200 calories each, plus 50 grams of fat on top of that. In fact, last year the NFL estimated that 100 million pounds of wings and 325.5 million gallons of beer were consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.  No wonder there’s a 20 percent increase in anti-acid sales the Monday after the game.

Yes, there are diehard fans who care more about the their love of football than what kind of Doritos their host bought, but as a whole we should take a look at how our Super Bowl habits reflect our culture, our country’s reputation…and our waistlines. Yes, some people really do watch or attend the Super Bowl out a burning passion for the romance of American football, but what about the rest of us who sit on our butts eating pigs in a blanket? When the hype of the Super Bowl, for some, has nothing to do with the actual playing, why do we keep watching?

American football has been ingrained in our culture for so long that it’s hard not to watch. It’s a social norm.  I watched the game this year (and every other year at that) for the social aspect–not the scoreboard. There are many others like me–and advertisers know it, which speaks to another way the Super Bowl feeds our gluttonous, mainstream America culture machine: Super Bowl commercials.

Love’em or hate’em, chances are the advertiser is paying more than $3.5 million to try to convince you in 30 seconds to buy their product, which most of us likely will at some point, because let’s face it, we don’t have enough stuff as it is already.

So maybe football really is the epitome of American culture after all? We eat and we consume, we eat and we consume — and Super Bowl Sunday gets us to do both year after year.


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