What makes the Super Bowl so super? Seattle Seahawks' Russell Okung smiles during media day for NFL Super Bowl XLIX (AP photo / Reuters)
What makes the Super Bowl so super?
Lexile

The Super Bowl, at its most basic level, is a game that determines the NFL championship.

It has become so much more since the first game was played in 1967.

Super Bowl Sunday has become an unofficial holiday in the United States. It's a day when families and friends gather to watch the game, the over-the-top commercials and big-name musical acts at halftime.

The game and the two weeks of hype, parties and other events leading up to it have turned the Super Bowl into a spectacle and it ranks up there with the Olympics or World Cup, a royal wedding or papal celebration, the Oscars or Grammys.

This year's game, between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, is scheduled Sunday. Here are some reasons why the Super Bowl is so special.

Baseball is known as America's pastime but football is woven into the country's fabric.

The NFL's rise came at the same time as television's and turned into a $9 billion enterprise. The NFL season has far fewer games than the other major North American sports, 16 compared to 162 in baseball. That makes every NFL game an event.

Once the season gets to the Super Bowl, many of the fans don't get a chance to go. Tickets started around $800 for this year's game and most are snapped up by corporations.

Cities bid for the right to host the Super Bowl. Many use the game as a rallying point to build a new stadium and bring in revenue.

The game is rotated every year, usually to a warm-weather city or one with a domed stadium.

Last year's game was played in the stadium the New York Jets and Giants share in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It was the first outdoor game in a cold-weather city. Future games will be in San Francisco, Houston and Minneapolis.

Arizona's University of Phoenix Stadium, site of this year's games, has a retractable roof and a field that is wheeled outside so the grass can get sunlight.

The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched events in the world and routinely draws more than 80 million viewers. The game has eclipsed 100 million viewers each of the past five years. A record 111.5 million watched Seattle roll over Denver a year ago.

Millions more watch the game around the world.

Super Bowl commercials have become a part of the show. They lure viewers who might not otherwise watch the game.

Over the years, the commercials have included talking animals and babies, supermodels and Clydesdales, sophomoric humor and tear-jerking moments.

The rate for this year's game is $4.5 million for a 30-second spot.

This year's halftime show will feature Katie Perry and rock guitarist Lenny Kravitz. Other halftime Super Bowl performers have included Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Prince, Madonna and Bruno Mars with the Red Hot Chili Peppers last year.

Critical thinking challenge: Why are companies willing to spend so much money for Super Bowl ads?

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COMMENTS (9)
  • GretaS-Alb
    2/08/2015 - 02:33 p.m.

    I never knew that the super bowl was concerted as a holiday. I can't believe that 111.5 million people watched the Seahawks play the Broncos. What confuses me in how can 111.5 million people watch the super bowl because wouldn't a person count as 1 not 0.5.

  • Jonathanc-McC
    2/09/2015 - 02:52 p.m.

    I think that the reason companies are willing to spend so much money on ads for the Super Bowl is because it is popular! Every person I know watches it. My mom doesn't even like football but watches it for the commercials. Considering all the parties that happen during the Super Bowl, there are a lot of people watching it, and I mean a lot. People have so many parties and other celebrations that there are 80 million people watching it. That's more people than the number of people living in England! When you're at home and you're watching TV and those boring commercials come on, no one watches them. People go to get more food or go to the bathroom. But when the Super Bowl comes on people's eyes are glued to the TV. Everyone wants to see those commercials. Usually they are funny or interesting or they give you some emotion that makes you want to keep watching. They are the best place to have your ads. More people will see that commercial at their party (or whatever way they celebrate the Super Bowl) than they will on a billboard, bench,a Youtube ad, or on regular commercials.

  • jbufo-wim
    10/21/2015 - 01:05 p.m.

    I think companies are willing to pay millions for 30 seconds because so many people watch the Super Bowl. It also has hype to it. When people see their commercial they will keep it in the back of their mind.

  • ethans2-buc
    11/09/2015 - 10:01 a.m.

    I think we should have the superbowl at the Cowboys stadium since it also has a detachable roof.

  • hieun-jac
    11/20/2015 - 10:41 a.m.

    American people very like supper bowl , so there is a chance they met family and enjoy their favorite sport .

  • kendallb-hor
    1/11/2016 - 03:01 p.m.

    I think the authors purpose for writing this article is to inform us as readers about the superbowl. I have learned that the superbowl is the most watched thing on tv. Also over 80 million people watch it. Football is a big part of my life I love to watch is and my brothers both play. My favorite team is the New England Patriots who went to the superbowl last year.

  • gtyler-dav
    8/24/2016 - 04:32 p.m.

    In response to "what makes the super bowl so super ," I agree that it has 80 million people watching it. One reason I agree is that it is almost viewed as much as the Olympics in America . Another reason is that it is usually takes place in a warm state . A third reason is there are a lot of NFL fans. Even though it is more popular , I think the World Series is still better .

  • fernandoc3-sch
    1/19/2017 - 01:46 p.m.

    I feel that it is unhealthy to watch the super bowl because all you do is sit and watch but to be in it is healthy because you put in a lot of work. And all the money is bad. and the commercials are very unneeded.A record 111.5 million watched Seattle roll over Denver a year ago.

  • jourdanc-
    3/27/2017 - 08:47 a.m.

    to make people laugh.

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