In Case You Missed the Super Bowl


On February 7th, one of the biggest events of every year took place at the Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa. People all over the world were streaming the 55th edition of the Super Bowl. It had not only an interesting game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but also included an outstanding show by The Weekend, as well as several entertaining ads featuring many celebrities. 

For those who are unaware, the Super Bowl is the NFL’s (National Football League) championship game which happens every year between the last two teams standing after the regular season and playoffs. There are two different conferences, the NFC (National Football Conference) and AFC (American Football Conference), and both have 16 teams split into 4 divisions. During the regular season, teams play 6 games within their division, 6 games within their conference, and 4 against teams from the other conference. Next, the 7best teams from each conference move on to the playoffs, with 4wildcards in each conference being given to teams that had the best record, but unfortunately didn’t win their division. The team with the best record within their conference doesn’t have to play in the 1st round, whilst the other 6 teams play single-elimination matches to determine who moves on to the conference semifinals. The winners of the conference semifinals compose the final 4teams, and they compete to advance to the Super Bowl in what is called the Conference Championships. Finally, the best teams from each conference go head-to-head in the single most important sports event in the US. 

Even though it is one of the most-watched events on television every year, the number of viewers has been drastically declining. A total of 91.6 million viewers were watching through CBS, which is the lowest number recorded since 2006. Although this game featured arguably the best quarterback of all time in Tom Brady, the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, who has broken numerous records in the NFL (many people refer to Brady and Mahomes as the GOAT and. baby GOAT respectively, with GOAT being “Greatest of All Time”), and the reigning Super Bowl champions in the Chiefs, it, unfortunately, didn’t please many of the viewers. While talking to Mr. Butler, one of Graded’s social studies/psychology teachers and a former high school football player, he told us that one of the many reasons he thinks this year’s Super Bowl was less successful was because of the COVID pandemic. “The favorite part of the Super Bowl for most people is not the game itself, but going to sports bars and parties. Due to the pandemic, people weren’t allowed to watch together. Other than that, since the fans weren’t allowed to go to the stadium to watch games throughout the season, there was significantly less anticipation and excitement for the championship,” Mr. Butler explained. He added that since the NFL is one of the most successful businesses in the world, the number of websites that are able to stream the Superbowl legally is extremely limited, which also contributes to the decreasing audience. To finalize our interview, he said he really enjoyed the game and thought it was “amazing how the offense of the Chiefs got destroyed by the Buccaneers”. On the other hand, when asking 10th grader and sports fan Marina Kaufmann about her opinion on the game, she had a different perspective. She thought the game was “not nearly as competitive as in other years,” as, by the end of the second quarter, she was sure of who would win. With a predictable game while confined to our houses, the decrease in viewers is understandable. As for the social side, Kaufmann thought the pandemic didn’t affect her experience. “In Brazil, we don’t have the custom of watching the Super Bowl in bars or making big parties, so I don’t think COVID made a difference on how many people watched it.” 

Aside from the game itself, many other events take place during the Super Bowl to attract more viewers, the most famous of them being the halftime show. Artists like Bruno Mars, The Rolling Stones, and Beyoncé have presented during previous editions, and this year didn’t disappoint. Although we didn’t get the usual two or three artists due to the pandemic, The Weeknd had an outstanding performance. Laura Segall, a sophomore at Graded, said that she loved when the singer went off stage and presented one of his songs in a closed space where only the cameras could see him. Her favorite part was “when all of the dancers were wearing full-face masks. Not only did it connect to the pandemic, but the music playing (Can’t Feel My Face) made a lot of sense.” When talking to Kaufmann about the show, she enjoyed “how he used the space in a very unique way. In previous years, all of the artists presented in the middle of the field, while The Weeknd only went to the field at the end. It was a very creative way to use the space and stage.” Many of these changes came from The Weeknd himself since he decided to contribute $7 million to the production’s budget. Even though the number of viewers is declining, it’s possible to infer that some artists still consider it a great honor to perform and would even pay to receive the kind of exposure the event gives them. 

In case you did miss the Super Bowl, the Buccaneers ended up winning with a 31-9 scoreboard. This was not only the Buccaneers’ second Super Bowl, but it was Tom Brady’s seventh. Between the half-time show, the well-funded ads, and the game itself, the Super Bowl continues to be one of the most entertaining sports events. Although this year the usual get-together and NFL parties didn’t happen, we hope that in the future, we can watch it with our friends and family! 



Sources: Forbes, New York Times, Programming Insider