Although the Super Bowl is not an official holiday in the USA, it is celebrated all over the country. It is the final game at the end of an annual football season, which is broadcast on television and watched by over 100 million viewers. Even though it is a sports event, it attracts the attention of not only football fans but also people not interested in the game itself. The Super Bowl Sunday, which takes place on the first Sunday each February, has become an American tradition involving family gatherings and watching matches on television. This paper will consider the celebrations of this event and their social meaning.
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Since the Super Bowl is a large-scale occasion, it should be regulated by specific rules to avoid chaos. Therefore, the festival Sunday requires increased attention from law enforcement bodies. Since the celebration involves the consumption of a great amount of alcohol, police officers often have to arrest people for disorderly conduct and drunken driving. Furthermore, there are regulations placed on sports betting since it is a popular activity during the game. Viewers are not the only people controlled by laws and social norms. Football players are subject to the game rules formulated by the National Football League.
As for traditions associated with the Super Bowl, this event serves as a suitable occasion for family gatherings and meetings with friends. People often go to bars equipped with TV sets and watch the game there. The celebration also involves eating many festive dishes and drinking alcohol, especially beer. In fact, the Super Bowl is distinguished by the increased consumption of food and is comparable to Thanksgiving in the number of eaten products (Wenner & Billings, 2017). For people not interested in football, the celebration is associated with watching commercials, which cost large sums of money to advertisers.
During the Super Bowl, people are divided into two types according to the roles they play in the event. The first group is viewers, who watch the game and consume various complementary goods, such as clothes and souvenirs with football teams’ logos, food, and beverages, tickets, and commercials. The second type is service providers, advertisers, and goods manufacturers, who aim to satisfy the needs of the consumers and make a profit. These groups are interrelated since the existence of customers has generated producers. Among viewers, it is also possible to draw a distinction between the roles of men and women. Since the male audience is more interested in football, its representatives tend to celebrate the event among their friends. Female viewers are inclined to stay with their families and engage in festive preparations.
Overall, the Super Bowl Sunday may seem strange to an onlooker unacquainted with the tradition. If aliens came to the Earth and observed the celebration, they would think that football is a kind of a sacred game on this planet. Millions of people staring at the screen and watching players roll the ball across the field would be a puzzling sight for them. However, they would think so if they landed somewhere near a place of gathering of the game viewers. Otherwise, they would believe that the Earth became desolated since shops and other establishments are closed early on the day of the celebration, and spectators are busy watching the annual match. Generally, the view of many people gathered in one place and engaged in the same occupation would give them an assumption that the Americans are a friendly and united nation.
In conclusion, it should be said that analyzing the Super Bowl from a sociological perspective helps to explain what role sports play in the life of society. Since men are more engaged in the event than women, it may be assumed that sports serve to emphasize masculinity. By observing people’s tendency to join the community of the Super Bowl fans despite their disinterest in football, sociologists may conclude that society exerts pressure on its members. This phenomenon suggests that people always want to belong to a group. It also explains why most individuals are inclined to behave like other members of their community.
Wenner, L. A., & Billings, A. C. (Eds.). (2017). Sport, media and mega-events. Milton Park, UK: Taylor & Francis.