The Super Bowl is the best show in town. It always has been, regardless of the outcome of the game and irrespective of whether it’s a nail-biting, edge-of-your seat thriller or a total snoozer. It could be due to the fact that football is by far the most popular sport in the US or because the halftime show has become such a behemoth of a spectacle, but one thing is certain: each Super Bowl Sunday football’s – and America’s – grandest components come together for one perfect night of sport and spectacle.
Here are the top 35 reasons we love the Super Bowl:
Because of awesome commercials:
According to a recent survey conducted by ad agency Venables & Partners and quoted by USA Today, 78% of Americans (up from 59% in 2011) look forward to Super Bowl commercials more than the game itself. These 7 unforgettable ads are partly the reason why:
- Volkswagen’s The Force ad from 2011. According to video metrics company Unruly, The Force is the most shared Super Bowl ad of all time. The ad had 5,279,722 shares by February 2015, around 2 million more shares than the second on the list – Budweiser’s 2002 9/11 ad (3,480,685 shares). The Force tells the story of a little boy, fully dressed as Darth Vader, using the force to start his family’s Passat.
- Apple’s 1984 ad. Oddly enough, Apple’s 1984 ad, which is considered the best Super Bowl ad of all times by popular opinion, did not make it to the top 10 most shared Super Bowl ads. No matter. It’s still pretty damn great and we’re not the only ones to say it. Aired nationally for the first time during Super Bowl XVIII, the commercial won the 1984 Grand Prix at the Cannes International Ad Festival and was inducted into the Clio Awards Hall of Fame in 1995 and the World Federation of Advertiser’s Hall of Fame in 2003. According to Steve Hayden, the copywriter who helped conceive of the ad, Apple earned about $150 million worth of free airtime when the commercial was aired repeatedly on numerous news shows that very night.
- The McDonald’s ad from 1993 starring Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. A basketball-centered commercial during football’s biggest night! You gotta love the audacity! Plus, it has Michael Jordan in it, and that is always awesome.
- Pepsi’s Your Cheating Heart commercial from 1996. This ad doesn’t make it very often to “Top 10” lists and that’s a shame. It’s simple, hilarious and gutsy. Basically, it just shows a Coke delivery man getting caught grabbing a Pepsi on a security camera.
- Reebok’s Terry Tate ad from 2003. The boss, hoping to increase productivity, hires linebacker Terry Tate to “shake things up” in the office. The result is funny and well, a bit violent. But still very funny.
- Don’t you just miss the 90s and the weird power yielded by nineties supermodels? Pepsi’s ad from 1992 featured Cindy Crawford, who was a mega star when this aired, drinking sexily from a can of Pepsi. It may pale by today’s GoDaddy standards, but this ad was actually perceived as highly sexual back in the day.
- The Budweiser Frogs commercial from 1995 proved that you don’t need sexy women – or women at all, or people for that matter – to make a great, memorable ad. Just three frogs mouthing “Bud – wei – ser.”
- Because you can spend $12.4 million on an ad, apparently (Read about the 7 most expensive Super Bowl ads of all time…)
Chrysler: Imported from Detroit, which ran in Super Bowl 2011, was the most expensive Super Bowl ad ever made. The second most expensive ad was Bud Light‘s Epic Night, which cost a modest $12 million. But we digress. The Chrysler ad is still splendid today; featuring Detroit’s own Eminem, it helped in bringing back some pride to that trouble-fraught city.
Because of controversial Super Bowl commercials, that everyone loves to hate…
(It wouldn’t be a Super Bowl, after all, without at least one controversial ad.) Here are three of our favorite:
- Carl’s Jr. 2015 Super Bowl Commercial featured an almost naked Charlotte McKinney wandering through a farmer’s market looking for a very natural hamburger. According to a survey by ad research firm Ameritest and quoted by entrepreneur.com, 52% of viewers found the ad offensive and sexist. It also earned 2.5 billion media impressions before it even ran as a Super Bowl commercial. That’s the way it goes.
- Focus on the Family’s ad featuring Tim Tebow from 2010. Pro-lifers vs. Pro-choice advocates fighting each other is always a good show, and this is exactly what this God-awful ad, pardon the pun, managed to do. Focus on the Family, a Christian organization, hired Broncos QB Tim Tebow and his mom to discourage women from terminating their pregnancy. For some obscure reason, CBS did not pull the ad.
- PETA’s Veggie Love banned Super Bowl commercial from 2009. It’s the 21st century and ad agencies are still using naked women to convince people to do stuff. Luckily, NBC passed on the chance to run this PETA ad during the Super Bowl; unavoidably, it still made a big Internet splash.
Because of these 3 Super Bowl Controversies…
- There were many controversial calls in Super Bowl history, but the officiating in Super Bowl XL (2005) managed to have three of them. The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks 21:10 in that game, but the biggest headlines the morning after were not about any screw-ups by the players, but about those made by the officials. There were at least three hotly contested calls – two calls against Seattle and one against the Steelers. All in all, according to Bleacher Report, the calls gave the Steelers a minimum of 14 points. Five years afterward, referee Bill Leavy admitted to having blown crucial calls. According to ESPN, Leavy said: “It left me with a lot of sleepless nights, and I think about it constantly.”
- The “Wardrobe Malfunction” of Super Bowl XXXVIII (2003). We all know the story: Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson went on to perform during halftime, sang some songs that no one remembers and then, in one crucial moment, Timberlake ripped the clothing off of Jackson’s right breast – exposing her nipple for about half a second. This half a sec angered millions of Americans, killed MTV’s chances to ever produce the halftime show again, brought on a huge, record-breaking FCC fine of $550,000 against CBS and led to self-imposed censorship – both in sports and in TV shows totally unrelated to football – for months following the incident.
- The Double Kickoff. This embarrassing incident occurred during Super Bowl I (1967). NBC got so distracted during an interview Bob Hope on the sidelines that they actually missed the kickoff that opened the second half. So what did they do? They just kicked the ball again! Weren’t the 60s just grand?
Because of these fans’ reactions…
- Super Bowl XLIX will be best remembered for two things: First, Deflategate, that made people who are not from New England hate the Patriots even more. Second, the harrowing decision by Seattle in the last 26 seconds of the game, to pass the ball instead of running it. That led to a Pats interception and the Pats winning the Super Bowl. This compilation captures the reactions from Patriots and Seahawks fans perfectly.
Because of the awesome halftime shows…
Who could forget any of these 6?
- Madonna at Super Bowl XLVI (2011). Madonna at her performing best and accompanied by LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., and Cee Lo Green. Who could ask for anything more?
- Bruce Springsteen at Super Bowl XLIII (2009). “I want you to step back from the guacamole dip! I want you to put those chicken fingers down! And turn your television all the way up!” There’s nothing like Bruce Springsteen’s raw talent and performing prowess to make for a brilliant halftime show.
- The Rolling Stones at Super Bowl XL (2005). Mick Jagger was 63 at the time, which did nothing to assuage his mind-blowing energy on stage. Couple that with just three perfect songs – “Start Me Up,” “Rough Justice” and “Satisfaction” – and you’ve got yourself one hell of a show.
- Michael Jackson at Super Bowl XXVII (1993). Notwithstanding that pretty awful “Heal the World” number, MJ gave one of the best performances in Super Bowl history.
- Where art thou, Prince? Well, in Super Bowl XLI (2006), Prince was all there. This magnificent don’t-give-a-crap, kick-butt rock & roll performance remains one of the best in the game.
- U2 at Super Bowl XXXVI (2001). Just a few months after the devastating attacks of 9/11, U2 took the stage and paid a grandiose yet moving tribute to the victims and the American Way. And the songs were pretty awesome, too.
Because there’s always a chance of a delightful mess-up of the national anthem…
- Take Christina Aguilera’s deliciously horrendous performance at Super Bowl XLV (2011), for example:
- Because Coldplay is headlining the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show and even if you don’t like them, these guys do know how to put on an awesome show:
- Once a year, betting is totally ok. According to Boyds Bets, Las Vegas crossed the $100 million threshold for the first time in 2014. According to SportDay, about half of American adults bet on the Super Bowl. Only 1% of the gambling takes place in Nevada – where it’s actually legal.
- Finally, we have a good enough excuse to skip a wedding. In a CouponCabin.com survey from 2012, one in five Americans admitted that they would miss the wedding of a close friend or a family member to attend a Super Bowl game featuring their favorite NFL team. Almost one in five would miss a funeral and 15% of crazies would miss the birth of their child.
- We just love a party! According to Treehugger, 17 people attend the average Super Bowl party. Only 5% watch the game alone.
- We can forget all about our diet (at least for one night). The Super Bowl is the second largest day for food consumption in the US, right behind Thanksgiving Day. According to Mashable, Americans consume more than 1 billion chicken wings (enough to give each American 3 wings); 120 million pounds of avocado (enough to fill 39 Boeing 747s); and 4 million pizzas (stacking up to 910 towers of Pisa).
- Our boss will be as hungover as we are on Monday morning. According to a 2008 survey commissioned by Kronos, about 4.4 million people show up late to work the day after the Super Bowl. 1.5 million call in sick.
- We don’t need to be football fans to enjoy Game Day. According to Treehugger, 40% of those who watch the Super Bowl aren’t football fans at all.
- There’s always the chance of a “Game of Thrones” sized drama. Take Super Bowl XLVII (2012), for instance: it was the first time in the history of the NFL (and NBA, MLB or NHL) that two brothers were head coaches of opposing teams.
- We can spend exorbitant amounts on Game Day tickets and then expense it on the company’s behalf. According to Mars Insurance, 35% of all Super Bowl tickets are written off as a corporate expense.
- If we ever do score Game Day tickets, we’ll never be cold. According to NFL Rush, the NFL has a policy against holding Super Bowls in stadiums that have a climate of less than 50 degrees F (10 degrees C), unless the stadium is enclosed.
- It’s a great excuse to buy a new TV. According to CNBC, large-screen TVs cost 5%-10% less during the week leading up to the Super Bowl than they do in the three months before and after the game.
- We can play with our food and it’s socially acceptable:
- At the end of the day, it’s just a game – and there’s always next year.