Humor by Michael Showalter
The numbers are in. More than 111 million households watched the Super Bowl. That makes this year's Super Bowl the single-most-watched television broadcast of all time. Yes, even more than the premiere of "Jersey Shore" season two. It's hard to believe, but completely true.
111 million: This is an impressive statistic considering that with the proliferation of cable television, most people have almost that many channels to choose from. At last count, I personally have more than 4 million cable options. (Channel 3,467,000: The Types of Beans Network. Channel 2,032,961: The Sort of But Not Really That Interesting True Crimes Network.)
Until last year's Super Bowl, the "M*A*S*H" finale was the most-viewed show of all-time. But you have to understand that in those days, there were only three channels to choose from and, if memory serves, the night of the "M*A*S*H" finale the other two networks didn't even bother to program anything. They just aired color bars and tone until "M*A*S*H" ended and then resumed normal broadcasting.
Full disclosure: My household can be counted among the 111 million whose televisions were tuned to the Super Bowl. I had considered watching a "Golden Girls" rerun just as an act of rebellion -- before conceding to myself that I actually like football and wanted to see the game.
Some people watch the game just for the halftime show. Last year it was The Who, and the year before that, Bruce Springsten. This year, it was The Black Eyed Peas. It was a good show and I particularly liked will.i.am's see-through plastic hair. Sometimes I wish I had plastic hair. Budgetwise, it would be great because I wouldn't need to buy so many combs.
People probably don't realize that the halftime show wasn't always such a spectacle. The first Super Bowl halftime show ever back in 1967 included a high school drill team. In 1987, they had the great rocker himself Mickey Rooney doing the halftime show. Black Eyed Peas eat your heart out! In 1989, the halftime show hit an all-time low. The show was performed by an Elvis impersonator named Elvis Presto. Only a few years later, they had the real Michael Jackson. I'd call that a major upgrade.
Some folks watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. These people, my wife, for instance, are on the edge of their seats. She's dying to know how will they try to sell me nacho-cheese flavored corn chips this year. Or how these beer companies will manage to insinuate themselves into the fabric of what it means to be an American this year. But I digress.
Some of us watch it for the football. It was a good game. But I did start to wonder: Why are there so many people involved? A pro football team is like a mini-country. There are three entirely different teams within the team: offense, defense, special teams. There is a coterie of coaches for each team within the team; each of those coaches has assistant coaches. And from what I can tell, the assistant coaches have assistant coaches. There are guys in the booth wearing headsets, there are guys assisting the guys in the booth. Is this really necessary? I suppose it's all a part of the spectacle. And apparently people want to watch -- 111 million people, to be exact.
Here's to the Super Bowl, nacho-cheese flavored corn chips and, fingers crossed, another season of football next year!
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