Washington, Feb 3: America came to a virtual standstill Sunday to watch the year’s biggest sporting event – Super Bowl, a game of American style football – much like the sub-continent does to watch a cricket match between India and Pakistan.
From President Barack Obama down, fans prepared for days for “Super Bowl Sunday” to watch the 48th annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL), the highest level of professional American football, at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
But the game isn’t anything like the football played in the rest of the world as two teams of eleven players, each dressed in helmets and thick shoulder pads, try to advance an oval ball down the field by running with or passing it. Originating from the sport of rugby football, the first game of American football was said to have been played on Nov 6, 1869, between two college teams, Rutgers and Princeton.
Obama celebrated the Super Bowl by having the White House tweet a picture of him throwing a football. He also gave his sixth traditional Super Bowl Sunday interview telecast during Fox News’s pre-game show.
As nine out of ten Americans plunked down before their television sets to watch what has frequently been the most watched American television broadcast of the year they consumed an estimated 50 million cases of beer. Super Bowl Sunday is also the 2nd largest day for US food consumption after Thanksgiving Day with an estimated 1.25 billion chicken wings expected to be eaten.
About 48 million Americans were expected to order takeout or delivery food from a restaurant instead of cooking at home, according to ABC7SB TV citing the National Restaurant Association.
According to other fun facts compiled by the channel, a 30-second Super Bowl ad was going for about $4 million. That’s $133,333.33 per second.
Tickets for the inaugural Super Bowl were sold for $6 but the price increases have outpaced inflation and the face value for tickets this year ranged between $500 and $2,600.
Over 700,000 footballs are produced annually for official NFL use and 72 of them are used for the Super Bowl, the channel said. Nearly one-third of US adults were expected to bet on the big game with men outnumbering women who decide to put some cash on the line.
Several people collapsed in an overcrowded Secaucus Junction train station in New Jersey train station while waiting in long lines to get to the Super Bowl. Emergency medical workers pushed their way through the overheated crowd to treat the people at the station Sunday afternoon.
For the record, what was expected to be very competitive game with Obama predicting a 24-21 score for the winner, though he was careful not to take sides, turned out to be a totally one sided affair.
The Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl title Sunday night beating the Denver Broncos 43-8.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)