Why do Americans love the Super Bowl? Why do 125 million or more tune in -- seven times as many as Game 7 of the World Series, and 75 million more than watched President Obama's State of the Union address?
What makes the Biggest Day in All of Sports so entertaining? And why are we compelled to watch two teams pummel each other for nothing more than a shiny gold ring?
Who knows for sure. But perhaps it is because the Super Bowl represents two of most fundamental philosophies that make America great: Hard work and capitalism.
First, 32 teams spill blood, sweat and tears for a good deal of the summer training for the upcoming season. Once the season starts, teams have 16 games to prove their worth, to earn a spot in the playoffs. During those games, knees are blown out, leaders rise to the top, superstars become mortal, and each outcome can be decided by a few inches, or even a botched call by the referees. If a team wins the right to play on, it is pitted against an equal foe -- no more mismatches like the regular season.
If a team wins its conference and moves on to the holy grail of sports championship games, a new level of stress comes with the achievement: A whole new pressure and responsibility falls on its shoulders. But there is also greater reward with a higher income. When a team makes it to the Super Bowl, they are taking their skills to a new level. A game that leaves one teams dreams of reaching the upper echelons shattered and the other team king for the year.
Then comes advertising. Many people watch the Super Bowl strictly for the commercials. Throughout the year, people watch hundreds of hours of TV but often skip the commercials. But in the Super Bowl, throngs gathered for the big game often talk throughout the action on the field and hush up for the commercials. Why? Because, companies will spend millions for a coveted 30-second spot (this year the rate is $133,00 per second). In a broadcast that boasts the highest viewership every year, the competition is fierce amongst the companies that vie for “best commercial of the game” -- which actually translates to best commercial of the year.
So that's why Americans love the Super Bowl. They watch to see the two best Band of Brothers -- who've all worked hard to earn their spot -- face off. And they watch to see America's best companies compete for our hard-earned dollars as well. Americans love competition -- on the field and off. And more than anything, America loves a winner.