Super Bowl Sunday is a good time to think about the phrase, “As American as baseball and apple pie.” The phrase should actually be, “As American as football and apple pie.”
I’m not an expert on football, but there are probably a ton of reasons why it’s so appealing to Americans. One might be the combination of power and strength that is seen as representative of the ideal American male. Another, which I’ve written about, is the violence involved in the game.
The effect of that appeal is quantifiable: An estimated 100 million people will watch the Super Bowl. Yes, 100 million is the number that’s thrown around every year at this time, but think about that for a minute. That’s about one in three Americans who will share this event simultaneously. With media fragmented over different platforms, channels, stations and websites, it’s remarkable that so many Americans share this same experience at the same time.
It’s not just the Super Bowl that’s popular. Americans have been watching football throughout the season, too. This was the first year that every primetime football game won its time slot. And it’s not just men who are watching football. Women make up about a third of NFL viewers and Sunday Night Football on NBC was the third highest rated show of the season for women 18-49 years old.
There are probably more reasons. Scheduling probably helps: It’s easier to get an individual to watch the 16 regular season football games that are played on Sundays, than to get that same person to watch the dozens of basketball or baseball games that occur during the workweek. But it’s more than just scheduling that keeps Americans coming back to football.
What do you think? Why is football so popular in America? Are you going to watch the Super Bowl tonight? Why?
See also: Mind-Boggling