Looking back at the 58th Superbowl Sunday | In Focus

What does America’s biggest sporting event say about our culture?

More than 123 million people watched Superbowl LVIII.

People viewed the game for different reasons. Some were 49ers fans. Some were Chiefs fans. They watched out of fan loyalty. Some wanted to see one or the other team defeated out of revenge or jealousy. Others watched for the joy of competition and athleticism performed by professionals. Still others wanted to see the commercials with all the celebrities or for the offbeat humor.

Others wanted to watch the half-time show with its choreographed dancers and singers and the noise and sounds of fireworks.

Some tuned in because they had bet on the game and wanted to see the point spread which could win or lose them a bundle of money.

Others tuned in to see America’s sweetheart couple Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. Some with a conspiracy theory perspective saw Taylor Swift making a political statement endorsing Joe Biden for president purely by attending the game.

Others could care less about football. They just watched because it was time to socialize and be with their friends and family.

Whatever the reason for your participation, Superbowl Sunday is a reflection of American culture. It tells us and the world several things about ourselves.

We worship sports and competition. Winning is what matters. The teams that never made it to the playoffs were forgotten. Several coaches were fired. Several assistant coaches found themselves being promoted to head coaching positions. Players will be let go or traded to other teams.

Money matters a great deal in American culture. If you are a professional athlete, you can make millions of dollars a year for actually playing only eleven minutes a game. Wealth determines your status and makes you famous. Wealth means you are able to find and marry the most beautiful women in the world.

Wealth matters more than injuries and a potentially shortened lifespan. There is a cost/benefit decision that every player makes when playing professional football. Something as small as a damaged finger or a pulled muscle can alter your life and your fortune forever. And, of course there is always the scary risk of concussion.

Professional football is a blend of skilled individualism and teamwork. A pro-team has to have just the right mix of both to win the Superbowl. Luck also plays a big role. In this Superbowl, both teams played brilliantly, but there had to be a winner and a loser. Instead of ending the game in a tie, there had to be overtime. This increased the tension and made for the sale of even more commercials. That made the NFL and team owners wealthier as a result.

Football is a head game where the best prepared, the best trained, the most physically fit usually win out. It demonstrates the importance of preparation, research, and recruiting. Coaches are paid millions of dollars for their skills and their decisions. Dozens of staff are hired to give each team an edge over other teams. Weight trainers, dieticians, sports medicine experts, X-ray technicians and physicians are hired to create a well-functioning and smoothly operating sports team. It takes money to make money.

Why were 70% of the NFL players black in 2020 in a country where they only make up only 12.1% of the population? (sportskeeda.com) Why are there so few Asians—0.1%? And Jews, also at 0.1% ?

Somehow patriotism is tied to professional football. We invariably see the national anthem sung by someone famous with an enormous American flag displayed in the background. Why is it so important if the national anthem is sung or if some athletes kneel in protest over some social wrong? This is one of the unanswered questions about football. Are you a patriot if you play and/or watch football? Are you un-American if you’re not interested in the sport?

Why do the teams who did poorly during the season get a chance to get the best college athletes in the draft? Why is professional football so socialistic and concerned about equity in a country where capitalism is worshipped as the national religion?

Professional football: politics, power, emphasis on size and speed, athleticism and subsequent fame can tell us a great deal about what America values—and devalues. The Superbowl is a mirror reflecting back at us what we deem to be important in American society.