Last year’s Super Bowl was epic. It featured a great comeback finish, sparked in part by a glorious power outage. It was watched by well over 100 million people.
This year, the Super Bowl and its related festivities are coming to New York City (and I suppose New Jersey, too) for the first—and maybe only—time ever. Simply put, the biggest sporting event in the nation comes to the biggest city in the nation. And it just so happens we live right up the street from where some of the party is going on.
A 14-block stretch of Broadway will be shut down in the Times Square area from Wednesday to Saturday for what will be dubbed “Super Bowl Boulevard.” This celebration of professional football will be even closer to us than the noncelebration of our own football team up at Baker. Sure, it will be overrun by tourists and dominated by sponsors, and crowds will grow as the weekend nears, but this is truly one of those New York experiences to take advantage of.
Considering the lack of championship-caliber teams in New York right now, the current run of big sporting events being hosted here is pretty remarkable. About 13 months from now Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden will host the NBA All-Star festivities for another New York spectacle. And just a few months ago, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and its entire week of festivities— which I was fortunate enough to take part in—came to the city. The week of events in Manhattan and Queens was a magnificent way to celebrate both baseball and New York, and was the type of spectacle that can create enduring memories. For example, one of those moments for me was the ovation for Mariano Rivera in the eighth inning of the Midsummer Classic itself.
This is why there is such a desire to attend big events: You can be a part of big moments in history, while sharing the experience with thousands of other people. Sporting events are especially popular because they are unpredictable and bring out so many different emotions. This Super Bowl will include it all.
As for the game itself, without the right connections or a couple thousand dollars, the only option is to watch on TV. It’s a choice huge swaths of the country make every week during football season. This fall, 34 of the 35 most-watched TV shows in America were NFL games, and the Super Bowl regularly (if not always) is the most-watched program of the year in this country. So you might as well join in and take part in the experience. There are millions of others who would love to be in frigid New York this week, and you can say you were there.
You can even pick a team to root for. Do you want Peyton Manning to cement his legacy with a second Super Bowl victory? Would you rather see Richard Sherman and company complete a masterful defensive season by shutting him down? Do you like orange better than neon green? Starbucks or Chipotle? Or, if answering those questions does not lead to a decision, at the very least you can root for snow and the chaos it may bring, like the rest of us will.
My preseason prediction was Seattle over Denver, so I will stick with that. However, my main hope is for a close game in the midst of a blizzard—which would surely produce the highest television ratings of all time, but most impressively, may even lead several students less than six miles east to step out of Butler for a few hours.
Ryan Young is a Columbia College junior majoring in economics-statistics. He is a sports broadcaster for WKCR. Roar Ryan Roar runs biweekly.