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Monaco: Nothing compares to the Super Bowl (Jan. 28)

Mike Monaco | Monday, January 28, 2013

Editor’s note: This is the first in a 10-part series discussing the best event in sports. In this installment, Mike Monaco argues for the Super Bowl.

It’d be a little weird if I asked you what you will be doing next Sunday. I could be sacrilegious, weirdly thoughtful or just plain crazy.

Well I still might be crazy, but I know what you, and everybody else, will be doing. That’s right, Super Bowl Sunday. It’s the best event in sports because it has it all.

It has nation-encompassing popularity. Super Bowl Sunday is essentially a national holiday in the United States. It’s safe to assume there will be at least 100 million fans tuning into the game on their television. That’s not just the casual fan watching the game. It’s not even an occasional football fan or an occasional sports fan. It’s anyone even slightly interested in football or entertainment. 

The Super Bowl is typically the second most-watched sporting event in the world behind the UEFA Champions League final. CBS will broadcast the game to more than 200 stations in the U.S. Dial Global Radio will have the game on roughly 600 stations. People in more than 185 countries will watch a game being broadcasted in 30 different languages. It’s quite simply the best event in sports.

The key is it’s an event. It has entertainment value for people spanning a wide spectrum of football knowledge and interest. Many tune in because they love football. They want to see how Colin Kaepernick fares against a Ray Lewis-led Ravens defense that has had two weeks to prepare for the multi-talented quarterback sensation. 

Others might watch because they like sports. It’s the last football game of the year and football is the most popular sport in the United States.

Still other viewers just want to watch the commercials. They want to see what (hopefully) funny ads have been produced after companies shell out nearly $4 million for a 30-second spot. They want to see the E*TRADE baby. They want to see what GoDaddy.com will tempt you with.

Still some others just want to enjoy the environment. They want to enjoy food, drink and friends at a Super Bowl gathering. And if they get a chance to watch Beyoncé perform at halftime, all the better.  

Simply put, there is no other sporting event like it. Every casual baseball, basketball and hockey fan certainly doesn’t tune in to every game of a lengthy World Series, NBA Finals or Stanley Cup Finals. But every football fan will be watching the Super Bowl.

March Madness is exhilarating, but is that really a sporting event when it begins on March 19 and ends on April 8? By the time the average fan has had his or her bracket busted, chances are he or she won’t zealously watch the title game.

The Olympics, by definition, has worldwide appeal and is a tremendous gathering of elite athletes. But this summer’s festivities in London lasted from July 27 until August 12. That’s not a sporting event.

So we’ve already ruled out the NBA Finals, World Series, Stanley Cup Finals, March Madness and the Olympics. What else comes close to matching the Super Bowl’s appeal for a single sports event? Well, though Jim Nantz is right in calling The Masters “a tradition unlike any other,” we’ve got four rounds of drives, putts and chips to wade through. So cross The Masters off the list.

Wimbledon lasts a fortnight, literally. The World Cup is thrilling, but it suffers from the same drawback of the Olympics.

The Super Bowl, meanwhile is the most concentrated day of sporting fervor in the world and, as a result, it’s the best event in sports.

You could argue that a game seven of the NBA Finals or the World Series is better than the Super Bowl. You could argue that a five-set thriller between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is the best. You could argue that a World Cup Final between Spain and Brazil is the best event in sports. You could certainly argue for any number of those. 

But what you can’t do is assure me that any of those events will happen. We might get a four-game sweep in the World Series or a lackluster matchup in the Wimbledon final.

The Super Bowl, on the other hand, is encased in a protective armor from letdowns. No matter the matchup, no matter the Vegas line, people will tune in, and in record numbers. Last year’s instant classic between the Patriots and Giants became the most-watched television show in U.S. history. Oh, and it was the third year in a row the Super Bowl set that record.

So I know what you’ll be doing next Sunday. You’ll be watching the best event in sports.

Contact Mike Monaco at [email protected]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.