Last Sunday was Superbowl Sunday and I got up at 2am to watch it all. For a game that nominally lasts 60 minutes it takes over four hours to complete.
The clock only runs during action on the pitch and the average play lasts about 10 seconds, then the clock is stopped for up to 30 seconds before the next one. And that does not take into account timeouts.
Each team can call six 30-second timeouts in a match, the officials can call unlimited timeouts to deal with injuries or equipment failure, and then there are the media timeouts. Television can call for up to 20 timeouts per match which vary from one minute to two minutes.
Then there is the half time show. In rugby you get 10 minutes to have a quick suck on a piece of orange but at the Superbowl you have a half-hour show from a world famous act. This year it was Maroon 5 (who?).
The match started at 2am and by the time it had finished just after 6.30am my wife had got up and gone to work. With tickets for the stadium between $2,000 and $5,000 at least the fans got their money’s worth Aye Right!
The match was quite unentertaining and low scoring with only one touchdown in the whole game. However you do not spend over four hours watching the football. No, the real entertainment of the Superbowl is the TV adverts. Major companies and their advertising agencies plan all year to make the advert considered the best during the event. With a 30-second spot costing on average $5.25 million, they have to be memorable.
There are always big stars, and this year was no exception with Steve Carrell, Backstreet Boys, Michael Buble, Serena Williams, Carrie Bradshaw, Jeff Bridges and a whole host of non-entities that only young Americans would know.
As for the funniest, probably the one for Alexa but the most memorable was the one which started off as an advert for Bud Light and ended up as a trailer for the next season of Game of Thrones, dragons and all.
As an entertainment event rather than a sporting match it works, but I guess that is how the Americans manage to keep the interest in sport and large numbers of people willing to pay huge amounts of money to attend. And it is interesting to note that while Formula 1 has got rid of its grid girls more and more soccer teams in the UK are introducing cheerleading squads.
While in the US the average crowd for a college football game is over 40,000, that for the English Premiership, arguably the biggest league in soccer, is just over 38,000. So more people go to watch Ohio Bobcats than go to see Chelsea!
The spectator now demands a better experience and wants a bit more entertainment than just 22 prima donnas rolling around on the pitch. When I am back home next I will mention this to the owners of Stirling Albion and tell them to get over to the USA to find out how to make it fun.
By the way, The New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13 – 3.