What is the Super Bowl?

The viewing audience world-wide for the World Cup was 700 million. The viewing audience in the U.S. alone for the Super Bowl last year was 106 million.

Why is the Super Bowl such a big deal?

In a way, it seems to recall the primitive days of our earlier ancestors — men using force to get what they want.

But maybe that is why it is so exciting to watch. The gladiator aspect of the game — two teams physically duking it out — brings out our blood-thirsty, frenzied side. It’s action-packed with a side of danger, guaranteed to ramp up the adrenaline and testosterone.

A study by Scientific American shows that watching your team win boosts testosterone, while the fans of the losing team have a decrease in their testosterone levels. This plays into the notion of social domination and competitiveness that has ensured our species’ survival — survival of the fittest.

Perhaps we are biologically prone to become somewhat addicted to these exhilarating and dangerous sports. After all, nobody watches chess for the excitement.

Physicality aside, one has to wonder at the ethics of spending $2.5 million on a 30-second ad which, according to CBS, was the average rate last year. The most watched ad last year was the Betty White Snickers ad, which has more than two million views on YouTube.

I admit I enjoy watching the Super Bowl ads as much as the next person, but I don’t think that’s an adequate justification for indulging in the pomp and circumstance of the Super Bowl. And that’s before all the money spent on the halftime show.

America is a land where we do everything big — big cars, big houses, and big sporting events. But while half the country is going big, the other half is going hungry.

What if the NFL used some of the millions of dollars the Super Bowl generated to promote sports in disadvantaged neighborhoods? I would feel a lot better about watching the Super Bowl if they made even a small effort to help their less fortunate viewers use proceeds from their Super Bowl fortune.

All in all, despite its problems, the Super Bowl is something we do together as a nation. It’s something that unifies us. At the same time, on the same day, a third of our country sits down and watches the Super Bowl, a sporting event that has, arguably, overtaken the World Series. Regardless of your opinion of the event, you have to agree that, in today’s world, unity is something we all need to strive for.