The Iliad

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Iliad

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Iliad

Inside an American sports spectacle

   Sunday, Feb. 11, the San Francisco 49ers faced the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada in Super Bowl LVIII. The game was one of the most entertaining of recent years, jam-packed with high-intensity moments and intricate plays. 

   After a touchdown in the last few seconds of overtime, the Kansas City Chiefs emerged victorious 25-22, winning their third Super Bowl of the last five years and the first back-to-back title since Tom Brady and Bill Belichick-era New England Patriots. 

   As any football enthusiast will tell you, the Super Bowl is not just a game, but a one-of-a-kind intersection between sports, entertainment, and Americana that brings a divided nation together for one Sunday each year. 

   Regardless of the level of apathy one might feel towards it, the Super Bowl is something no one can escape. It demands your attention. Local grocery stores treat it like a holiday, adorning aisles with cardboard cutouts, football-shaped cakes, and jumbo-sized chip-and-dip platters in the weeks prior. 

   Turn on the TV, and chances are an NFL player will appear in an advertisement trying to sell you fast food or a new wireless plan. 

   The sporting competition is now just a small component of the festivities. The halftime concert is the preeminent musical performance of the year, a much speculated-over and sought-after spot that was filled this year by Usher. 

   His dancing and roller skating extravaganza, including surprise visits from Alicia Keys, H.E.R., and rappers Lil Jon and Ludacris, was met with mixed responses. 

   Many fans had hoped Justin Bieber would be among the accompanying performers, but no such appearance was made.       

   The setlist excluded some of his biggest hits like “DJ Got Us Falling In Love Again” and “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home).”

When the camera was not on the field, commercials battled for viewer attention over the airwaves.   

   Famously campy and big-budget affairs, this year’s set did not disappoint.    

   Arnold Schwarzenegger saved two Vizsla puppies from a burning building as “Agent State Farm”; Boston natives Ben Affleck and Matt Damon represented Dunkin Donuts in a fictional boy band the DunKings; and with Verizon’s help, Beyonce announced the release of her new album “ACT II.” 

   Although, on the surface, the Super Bowl may seem like a harmless festival of fun –bringing together creativity, unity, athleticism at its finest, and the power of fandom– it also is a reflection of the worst parts of America. Peel back the layers of awe and myth and find men in tights battling each other while viewers stuff their faces with artery-clogging food and bet away their life savings. An estimated 23.1 billion dollars were bet on the event this year according to the American Gaming Association.

   The Super Bowl, at the end of the day, is a distraction that most people welcome with open arms.    

   In the words of the Roman Poet Juvenal “Give them bread and circus and they will never revolt.”Some “bread and circus” (distraction) every once in a while is fine, but it’s essential that we separate love and passion for the sport from the superficial entities that have become attached to it. 

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