By JUSTIN SOBELMAN
The Super Bowl is the single-best sporting event. Period.
Although I prefer basketball to football, there’s just some magic to the Super Bowl that can’t be topped. It’s the culmination of four consecutive win-or-go-home playoff rounds, and the fact that there’s always a reasonable chance that any of half a dozen or so teams can win the championship when the postseason begins makes the NFL Playoffs totally enthralling, and the Super Bowl is the dramatic conclusion.
One of my favorite aspects of the Super Bowl is the hyper-detailed coverage of everything surrounding it. Every year, my favorite podcast duo, Bill Simmons and Cousin Sal (of “Jimmy Kimmel” fame), puts out my favorite podcast episode of the year — the Super Bowl prop bets. While I don’t gamble, hearing the minutiae of the things that can be wagered on — from as normal as the point spread to as insane as how many times Tom Brady’s wife will be shown on the broadcast.
Then comes media day, which is basically a free-for-all. Media members from around the world gather to speak to players and coaches, all of whom are available to talk. My favorite coverage from this event has to be from people like NFL Network’s Dave Dameshek and Guillermo, again from “Kimmel.”
Both personalities have a similar schtick: going around to the players and coaches and asking them ridiculous questions like, “Is this a must-win game?” It’s always entertaining, and it’s great to see all the personalities of the players and coaches shine through as they get more exposure.
Best of all, of course, is the game itself, but I love what comes after almost as much. Even if the team I’m not rooting for wins, reading all the stories that come out of the players’ reactions to the ultimate team accomplishment in pro football makes me love being a sports fan.
Media members who are fortunate enough to be in the winning team’s locker room post-game, like The Ringer’s Robert Mays, always come up with great anecdotes. Mays pointed out one thing that really stuck with me. It was Malcolm Jenkins, a nine-year veteran and the undisputed leader of the Eagles, just sitting at his locker, holding the Lombardi Trophy. Mays said that Jenkins was cradling it like a baby, just staring at the silver football, “as if there was a deeper meaning to be held in the metal.”
It’s these innocent, purely human moments that are unique to football’s biggest stage. The sheer amount of media attention means that as fans we know more about the match-up, the players, and the legacies at stake than any other game. With only one game to cover, there’s hardly an angle that’s missed.
These guys work so hard, and put in so much effort, that no matter who you root for, it’s hard not to smile when you see just how much this accomplishment means to them. There’s something about seeing some of the toughest men in the world break down from winning a game that makes me appreciate the magic of sports. There’s nothing like it, and the detailed coverage means that we can see every tiny, beautiful moment.