Every year people prepare to watch the National Football League's best two teams play each other to win the Lombardi Trophy and be crowned champion. It's an event that attracts everyone: men, women and children of all ages, religious affiliations, races and walks of life. There are very few events in the world that gain such an even cross section of peoples' attention. For example: according to Fox News 46% of all viewers of the Super Bowl are women; there's very few televised sporting events that get that type of female following. This event is a media market frenzy. Ridiculous amounts of money are spent, not just on player salaries, ticket sales and accommodations but advertising reaches new heights at this time. Commercials on TV seem to fetch as much attention as the game itself.
To write that lots of money is spent on the Super Bowl is a gross understatement. Lets allow the mere numbers to demonstrate this point: an average each American will spend $63.87 on the event; it's the #2 eating day of the year behind only Thanksgiving (i.e. 123 billion chicken wings will be eaten); and $11 BILLION will be spent on this game in total. This years estimates are that Super Bowl XLVII will break all viewing and spending records because of the brother vs. brother coaching match-up.
Okay - that's enough to get anyone to choke on a chicken wing. Can it get worse?
Countless numbers of people will attend, view and listen to the Super Bowl. Last year 111.3 million people watched it. Due to these massive viewing numbers other typical Sunday events will be changed, altered or even canceled to make way for Super Bowl. While attending Mass the evening prior with my family, Monsignor announced, with visible reluctance, that the Sunday evening church service is canceled due to the football game. Is God watching the game too?
Eh America - how important is this "game" is to us?
A little background: I'm a former grade school, high school and college football player. I'm the director of a NFL Fantasy Football League. I'm a High School Football coach of 17+ years. I'm one of those NFL fans that's addicted to the game. I'm also sickened by our priorities and I admit that I'm part of America's problem.
I don't have the solution. What I do know is that America's priorities should be different. When we spend enough money in one day to supplement one hundred days of K-12 Educational Spending and we eliminate honoring our God for the evening something very wrong is happening. If we can spend billions of dollars in a day on a football game we can certainly spend a penny more a day on each child's education. If we can prioritize a football game to the point church service is canceled we can certainly play the game on a different evening and leave the Sabbath to its rightful owner. Let's send the correct message to our children and priortize their education and their God ahead of "our" past time enjoyment.
Super Bowl XLVII By the Numbers. USA Today. 2 February 2013.
The Big, Big Business of Super Bowl XLVI. The Fiscal Times. 5 February 2012.
Children in Poverty: Shame of a Nation. USCCB Blog. 7 January 2013
Schools of Thought. CNN. 4 September 2012.