Super Bowl seems to the visitor an unusual title for a football game, but a little research revealed that the term Bowl arose from the Rose Bowl over 100 years ago, and that each end of season football (gridiron) game became known as a Bowl.
For those from USA, the history, the relevance, the teams, the players, media hype and the memorabilia are embedded in each person’s being, and for the great majority of people outside of USA (except Canadians), these issues have no impact on life or even TV ratings, as football for them is a different code.
So what does a visitor from beyond the shores witness during the week of Super Bowl? On arrival in New York one week before the 2014 Bowl, our hotel welcomed fans to Super Bowl, and it is then that we found that the two teams from the west, from Denver and Seattle are to play in New Jersey, in the open, on Super Bowl Sunday.
The day we arrived it was 20°F with an icy wind and due to get colder early in the week. Standing around, as seems to occupy much time in American Football, may have the same effect on athletic skills as sitting in an iced bath. May the gods of American football provide a warm spell for the weekend.
Broadway is a busy thoroughfare every day of the year, but when we arrived in 40th Street, Broadway was nearly blocked by NYPD trucks between 40th and 41st, seemingly preparing for a drag race. Each day as we walked around, the closures grew, like mechanical moulds, and generator filled trucks lined the side streets west of Broadway (at least they emanated warmth).
Late at night after a Japanese meal on 38th, with an outside temperature of about 15°F, the technicians and electricians were still working without gloves connecting power lines for the various shows and lighting. And then on Monday night we realized that the human powers who control New York had gone a little crazy. In the middle of Broadway near the corner of 40th had appeared a super slide – a slippery dip of enormous proportions, one that should add extra excitement to the young at heart huddling in the icy wind whistling up Broadway, though a thin layer of black ice which may form on the surface.
By Tuesday, the area around Broadway from about 34th to 42nd had become a gridlock of automobile iron. Our taxi drivers universally cursed the folly of these staged celebrations that are deemed necessary to bring in the crowds at the deadest tourist time of the year, the month or so after Epiphany.
Is attracting locals and visitors to engender the transfer of cash the sole reason for this unrelated display of entertainment?
But there is another dimension to the tale of the Super Bowl to be watched by over 100 million people, hopefully glued to their TVs with takeout spread on the table. Each 30 second ad on TV during the game costs about $4 Million. Our business partner lamented for those advertisers whose ads may be shown in the second half if one attack overcomes the other defense before half time. How many millions will turn to another channel, or even maybe go out for a walk? Well at least there is the slide in Broadway.