If January 20 was a day of community and celebration, Sunday, February 1, followed close on. Once again millions gathered around television and computer screens (BIG screen was definitely preferred), this time for the XLIII Super Bowl game. (Roman numerals are always used for Super Bowls, symbolic, perhaps, of the ancient Roman coliseum). Years ago, when first doing work on ACR, I noticed a pre-game Super Bowl commentary playing the “Hallelujah Chorus” in the background.
Super Bowl Sunday continues to be a High Holy Day of ACR. The advertisements not only amuse, but reflect our belief systems. This year the advertising spots sold slowly, but they sold, many for beverages which people continue to consume during hard times. Side celebrations were fewer. Corporations didn’t want to be seen spending millions to party with the country in a recession. Eyes were focused on the game! And an exciting game it was! The Cardinals mounted a comeback to pull ahead just to lose the game in the final seconds to the Steelers. Probably the play that will be most long remembered was the Steelers defensive linebacker intercepting a pass with 18 seconds left in the first half and running 100 yards for a touchdown, those who would stop him being knocked down all the way.
One could also take the broader picture on television. Even though it was no competition, there were options for the wide variety of tastes in the society with Anne of Green Gables on PBS and an interview with Alice Walker on C-Span. The game, of course, was the center attraction. I noted, perhaps not surprisingly, a pre-game sports commentator said, “Even though fewer people may be able to afford to come to Tampa,” it’s still a communal gathering, “kind of like the whole country going to church together.”