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Opinion

Super Bowl hype is a little too much today

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February 5, 2009

When I was in the fourth grade I was able to watch one of the most exciting things to happen in Wisconsin sports history: the Green Bay Packers beating the New England Patriots 35 to 21 in Super Bowl XXXI.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. My family had all gathered around to watch the favorite in the game, the Packers, take on the Patriots. We even got Subway, which to a fourth grader, is quite the treat.

To watch the game, we had this monstrous, old school, tube TV. The knob didn’t like to work, so any time we wanted to watch it, my dad would have to use pliers to turn it on. As a kid I remember the hype and pre-game festivities for that historic game were mildly overdone, but now, 12 years later, what has happened to the Super Bowl?

The two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl set a football fan up for the big day. Somehow the media finds a way to talk to everyone, including the team’s towel boy, about why his team is going to dominate the game. Then on Sunday, if you turned the TV on at nine in the morning (that’s eight hours before the Super Bowl even started), ESPN had already begun to break down the game.

I love football, but I do not know how it is possible to talk about one game for eight hours. Then three hours later, at noon, it was difficult to tune into any sports station (unless it was the Golf Channel) and see anything but Super Bowl coverage. Once the game had begun, the hype didn’t stop. Paying close to $3 million for an advertisement is outlandish.

Thankfully there was some comic relief for those fans that did not want to watch Bruce Springsteen do a floor dive into the camera. If you didn’t want to watch the concert, ABC had a halftime version of their show, “Wipeout.”

At first glance this show is ridiculous, but watching an obese “couch potato” try to bounce from one huge ball to the next is actually quite comical. This was one of the first times that I had ever seen another channel compete for the half time spotlight with the network that was airing the Super Bowl. Yet another reason why the “unofficial holiday” has become more about what is going on outside of the game, than the game itself.

However, as irritating as all the hype was, the game turned out to be a great one. I won’t lie, I was cheering for the Cardinals, and was bummed when the refs didn’t even review the last play (I still think it was a forward pass). This game goes to show you that teams are finally catching up to the juggernauts that ruled the NFL for years. The fact that a 9-7 Cardinals team could make it to the Super Bowl, and almost win it, was a feat in itself.

Adam Vircks is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.