Sunday, the highly anticipated Super Bowl 56 will be played at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood and will mark the 8th time the most watched single game in American sports will have been held in Los Angeles. In 1967 I attended the first Super Bowl ever which was at the L.A. Coliseum with my late Aunt Amelia, a die hard Rams fan. The game featured the favored NFL Champion Green Bay Packers and the AFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately it was a dull affair with the Packers winning 35-10. (Actually most Super Bowls have been dull but it never dampens the hype for the next year.)
The game at the Coliseum wasn’t even called the “Super Bowl” but rather the somewhat wordy “AFL-NFL World Championship Game.” The best tickets cost $12 and parking was $1 and yet one-third of the Coliseum was embarrassingly empty.
Suffice it to say, times have changed. For example, if you want to attend Super Bowl LVI at the much lauded Sofi Stadium, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is tickets are still available. The bad news is they’re averaging $10,000 for a great seat and $5,000 for a lousy one, almost double last year’s numbers. (This according to Seat Geek’s Super Bowl ticket tracker. How’s that for a company name?)
Whereas parking was $1 in 1967, on Sunday parking will range from $200 to one listed right across the street from the stadium for $8,400. (It would seem infinitely cheaper and maybe more convenient to just take Uber.) For those who only want to participate in a tailgate party, that will cost $1,000 per car. #Ouch.
Instead of SOFI being one-third empty, as was the Coliseum, it’s estimated Super Bowl 56 will be a sellout. As for wagering on the game in the U.S. it will surely break the previous record of $43.65 billion, set in 2019. (That’s billion with a “b”.)
Not surprisingly, both teams are desperately hungry for a win. The Bengals are one of only twelve NFL teams who’ve never won a Super Bowl, though they’ve been in two. Counting this one, the Rams will have been to five Super Bowls with one victory, however, that was the St. Louis Rams. Technically the Los Angeles Rams haven’t won a title game since 1951 which means, unless my math is off, they’ve had a 71 year drought.
Being a lifelong Ram fan and having fond memories of going to their games with Aunt Amelia, I desperately hope L.A. finally wins. They’re favored by 4 ½ points, which actually makes me nervous they could be jinxed. (Which shows how frequently losing has made me superstitious.)
The Bengals’ second-year quarterback, Joe Burrow, is touted by many to be the next Tom Brady and the new face of the NFL. However, the Rams have many outstanding players including: perennial All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald; outside linebacker Von Miller; corner back Jalen Ramsey; quarterback Matthew Stafford who’s won three straight playoff games; and wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp. (Cooper’s so good I was debating putting his name in the title i.e. “My Kupp Runneth Over,” or “Kupp Half Full,” but I could almost hear groans from my readers.)
The Super Bowl is so uniquely popular in America maybe it should be a national holiday? Before you think I’m out of my mind (which comes with being a Rams fan) keep in mind that the Cincinnati Public Schools has canceled school on Super Bowl Monday.
My theory is if something looks like a holiday and acts like a holiday why not make it a holiday? The Super Bowl is like the 4th of July and Christmas rolled into one. Plus you can bet on it whereas you can’t on Christmas. (That said, maybe Vegas has odds on Dad getting a tie.)
Most holidays have food connected with it like Turkey on Thanksgiving and hot dogs on July 4th. Others have nationwide sales like on Memorial Day for tires and mattresses. The Super Bowl outsells all the others if, for no other reason, that many viewers tune in just to see the commercials!
Another popular aspect to the Super Bowl is the Halftime Show which has featured endless mega stars including: Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, and Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson (Can you say “wardrobe malfunction?”) This year Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar will perform at the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show.
As for Super Bowl parties, I’m not a huge fan. The main reason is I always want to see the game whereas most everyone else is into wolfing down snacks, schmoozing, boozing and networking. (However, I might make an exception for some BBQ chicken, Heineken and chocolate cake. Go Rams!)
Super Bowl LVI is on NBC Sunday, February 13, at 3:30 P.M. If he’s not busy drinking Heineken, eating BBQ chicken and chocolate cake, Jack can be reached at email@example.com