Happy Super Bowl, Go Broncos!

Coloradans and right-minded people throughout the world have ample reason to be excited about this year’s Super Bowl.

The Denver Broncos, led by Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ offense, have an opportunity to hoist a Lombardi-Trophy exclamation point to their record-breaking season.

Of course, there is that not-so-minor obstacle of the Seattle Seahawks’ league-leading defense to overcome. And, while play on the other side of the ball hasn’t received the same amount of attention, how the Broncos’ defense handles Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle offense will be just as important.

Broncos and Seahawks backers, along with countless football fans who have no particular team allegiance, will watch the on-field contest with excitement.

But, in reality, the Super Bowl has become something much more than just an athletic competition. It has become our national midwinter celebration — lasting two weeks — much as the winter solstice festivals that were staged by ancient societies to help break the tedium of the cold, dark season.

We’re a month past the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s holidays that emphasized family, social gatherings and some degree of revelry. There’s nothing big to bring family and friends together — not Valentine’s Day or President’s Day, certainly — until spring and outdoor gatherings begin.

So, Americans, more by evolution than intelligent design, have created a mid-winter celebration of capitalistic excess, personal over-indulgence (How many spicy cheese nachos will you eat this year?) and a media spectacle that encourages family and social get-togethers and often makes the actual contest on the gridiron seem like a secondary attraction.

Not really a fan of football? Well, tune in to watch the commercials, for which corporations are reportedly paying $4 million for each half-minute slot. There are now television shows and endless news stories just about the commercials in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. Doritos has created its own advertising reality show by allowing ordinary folks to compete for $1 million by creating the best amateur-produced Doritos commercial.

Then, of course, there is the half-time gala, which will be watched by hundreds of millions of fans who don’t give a whit about football. Will Bruno Mars be fabulous or a flop? Will he do anything to rival Janet Jackson’s imfamous “wardrobe malfunction” during the halftime show 10 years ago?

Leading up to today’s game, of course, there have been innumerable news articles, television stories and blog posts featuring this player’s personal history, that coach’s achievements and failures and outrageous quotes — or worse, a refusal to offer outrageous quotes — by everyone from star players to team janitors.

The Super Bowl truly has become a uniquely American national event. It can’t be long before the Monday after the spectacle is declared a national holiday so we all have an extra day to recover, and perhaps shop for day-after-Super-Bowl specials.

So, Happy Super Bowl, everyone. By the way, Broncos by 10.


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