American sports have never taken off in Europe, but the unconventional hours enjoyed by students makes them ideal late evening viewing. Next Sunday, Ford Field, Detroit, will host the pinnacle of the late night sport calendar and the greatest show on earth: the Super Bowl experience.
Super Bowl XL, (which contrary to reports does not stand for Extra Large), is the 40th annual championship game of the National Football League. Sunday 5 February will be the day when America stands (or sits) still, with the exception of regular visits to the fridge. Church attendances will plummet, deaths related to over eating and drinking will peak. Materialism will be rampant (this article is sponsored by Pepsi, incidentally). It is bigger than Christmas: this is the ultimate celebration of the American dream.
This year, in the now infamous half time show (see Janet Jackson’s left breast), up and coming rock band the Rolling Stones will be performing. England will be further represented by Devon’s own barefooted soul singer Joss Stone in the pre-game entertainment. Be warned, though: Aretha Franklin is scheduled to sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’. This will probably last over ten minutes and the use of the mute button on your TV controls is highly advisable.
Sandwiched in between Aretha Franklin, the balloons the baloney is the main contest between the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Seahawks are one of only seven NFL franchises never to have been to the Super Bowl, while it will be the Steelers sixth Super Bowl, their first in ten years.
An intriguing dual within the match, will be between MVP Seahawk running back Shaun Alexander and the plump Steeler running back, Jerome ‘The Bus’ Bettis. At the beginning of the year, The Bus was coaxed into one last season and it should be an emotional day in his home town of Detroit. He may be built like a prop forward, but he runs unfeasibly fast, yet he will struggle to match Alexander’s yardage: he rushed 1880 yards in the regular season.
Another player to watch out for is Pittsburgh’s safety, Troy Polamalu. He is easily recognisable with his mane of curly hair flowing out of his helmet. He seems to be involved in every play with his speed and sense of where the ball is going to go, allowing him to make regular, game changing tackles and interceptions. He may well be the difference between two evenly matched sides.
By Ed Humphreys