U.S. citizens gather to celebrate people giving each other brain damage


Courtesy of the New York Times | Crowds gathering before the 2021 Super Bowl

Dante Sasso, 807 Editor

It’s that time of the year, where people gather around the television to watch big, burly men sprint at each other in order to carry a pigskin across a line. This tradition has been going on for fifty-five years, and it’s become quite the American tradition for people to eat tons of unhealthy food while watching physically-fit gladiators slam into each other with their entire bodyweight for huge amounts of money.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much in effect, and the disease is still spreading even with the first rollouts of vaccines. There are ways to get around this, like watching the game over a streaming service while talking to friends and family over Zoom or FaceTime, but most Americans will likely just pretend there is no pandemic and ignore all social distancing rules because it is their American right to throw a party and assemble under the First Amendment, right?

Despite warnings from the CDC about the Super Bowl being a super spreader of COVID-19, a survey done by Seton Hall University found that 25% of their 1,522 sample stated they intended to gather in spite of the COVID-19 guidelines. Considering people had large gatherings for Thanksgiving and the Winter Holidays, it’s not really surprising that they would also just ignore health guidelines in order to gorge on food and watch commercials which companies spend millions of dollars on in order to get a spot.

Speaking of the commercials, for non-sport watchers those tend to be the highlight of the Super Bowl. This year’s commercials had plenty of differing advertisers, such as PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew ad, commercials for cars from both Cadillac and Jeep, and one from Robinhood despite them being at the center of a massive controversy after the GameStop and AMC stock debacle. At the end of the day though, all of these commercials are just bright colors to stimulate the human brain amidst the ongoing nightmare that is the outside world.

Aside from the parties and the commercials, the most baffling thing about this year’s Super Bowl is the fact that there were over 20,000 people seated in the stadium during the game. This decision–aside from making every health official of past, present, and future roll in their graves–makes sense from a profit standpoint. People can watch the Super Bowl for free at home on some streaming services, so in order for the NFL to make its money back on getting this whole ‘shindig’ together, they had to incentivize people to get outside and pay to come watch the Super Bowl. Rather than lose more than the supposed $4 billion that the NFL told CBS News it had missed out on, they instead thought, “what’s a few sick people as long as we still gain money in the end?”

It’s too soon to tell just what sort of impact the Super Bowl will have aside from how much money it will take out of the NFL’s pockets, but hopefully people weren’t foolish enough to gather in large groups and spread COVID-19 around like a plate of Super Bowl appetizers. Knowing how people have treated the pandemic in the past, though, it might be safe to say that we’ll see a spike in cases in the coming weeks.