Hi! My name is David Wei. As a fan of the National Football League who has watched NFL football games for years, I had a question that I wanted to answer: How do people behave at Super Bowl parties? In order to answer this question, I researched online and conducted my own observational study at a Super Bowl party. Today, I will be talking about my experience at the Super Bowl party and how there were two types of people who I found there: those who cared for the Super Bowl game and those who cared for the party and Super Bowl celebrations.
As many of you may know, the Super Bowl is the championship game for the National Football League that is celebrated throughout the United States. The Super Bowl is most popular not only for the championship game itself, but also the pre-game festivities, funny commercials, and the spectacular halftime show performance. Nevertheless, a ticket to the Super Bowl costs thousands of dollars just to sit on the outer seats of the stadium. As a result, most people will watch the game at Super Bowl parties with their families and friends.
When the game started at my Super Bowl party, I noticed that there were two groups among those who were watching the game. There were two people (let’s call them Aaron and Davis) who were cheering for their favorite team, the New England Patriots. According to Ron Balaskovitz in his article, “Ten People You Meet at Super Bowl Parties,” Aaron and Davis were classified as true fans (Balaskovitz, par. 3). They were fully decked out in Patriots gear with jerseys, hats, and beanies – looking as if they were part of the crowd at the Super Bowl stadium. On the other side, there were those who were cheering for the Atlanta Falcons (let’s call them Mike and Rico). According to Justin Abarca in his article, “The 15 Worst Types Of People At Every Super Bowl Party,” Mike and Rico were the bandwagoners (Abarca, par. 14). They were not Falcons fans and had never shown any interest in the team prior to the Super Bowl, but they wanted to see the underdog of the game win after years of the Patriots winning the Super Bowl. During the first quarter of the game, the cheering was back and forth between the two sides, each side getting louder in aggravation when their respective teams failed to score.
In the second quarter, Mike had to leave on an errand and the Falcons started to score in bunches. It especially got loud when the Atlanta Falcons intercepted a Tom Brady pass and returned it for a touchdown. Rico was cheering really loudly while talking with Mike over the phone, joking with him that he should stay out there so the Falcons could keep scoring. The Patriots fans, however, sat quietly, praying that the Patriots would make a comeback. At halftime, the score was 28-9 with the Falcons winning and there were two different reactions from the Mike (who returned from his errands), Rico, Davis, and Aaron. The bandwagoners, whose team was winning by a large margin at the moment, were rejoicing loudly and happily from their team’s first half success. On the other hand, the true fans of the New England Patriots sat subdued on the couch, hoping for a comeback and trying to tune out the loud cheers of Mike and Rico.
When the halftime show started, the aunties and Davis’s sister (we’ll call her Isadora) joined Aaron, Davis, Mike, and Rico around the TV. The aunties and Isadora can be classified as, “halftime show enthusiasts,” (Abarca, par. 9), one of the groups that cared more for the festivities of the Super Bowl rather than the game itself. They were really excited for the show to start, and were anticipating different things from Lady Gaga’s performance from the various rumors that were circulated prior to the Super Bowl. They discussed the possibility of Lady Gaga including a political message against Donald Trump in her performance, performing from the roof of the stadium, and even the type of wardrobe that she would wear. Once the show started, everyone was mesmerized by the performance. The aunties were asking what songs were being sung and Isadora was answering each of their questions while singing along to the songs that she knew.
After the halftime show ended, the crowd dispersed. The aunties went back to preparing dinner and Isadora went to watch over the younger children playing their video games in another room. The younger children formed another group that cared more for the Super Bowl party rather than the game, known as “people who don’t like sports,” (Balaskovitz, pars. 16-18). They did not really care for the game and instead chose to isolate themselves in another room, playing Minecraft with each other and enjoying how the party brought them all together. Aaron, Davis, Mike, and Rico were once again the only ones to watch the game.
In the third quarter, the Patriots scored and Aaron and Davis waited, hoping for more to come from Tom Brady and his team. However, once their momentum stopped, Aaron and Davis slumped back into their seats and became quiet again. Mike had to leave on another errand. While he was gone, the Falcons scored another touchdown, extending their lead. Once again, Rico became excited. He cheered loudly and joked with Mike that he should stay at the grocery store. Davis could barely keep his eyes open at this point, and was about to fall asleep. He walked to out of the room and told Isadora to wear his Patriots jersey. He hoped that switching jerseys would somehow bring good luck to the Patriots and change the tide of the game. Afterwards, he fell asleep on the couch in the living room.
When Davis woke up, he heard Aaron and Isadora screaming that the Patriots were only down by 8 points. Grabbing his beanie and glasses, he rushed out of the living room to the TV and sat down next to Aaron. There was renewed hope blazing in the Patriots fans’ eyes. They were cheering louder than ever. Their cheers were silenced when Julio Jones caught the ball within field goal range – a field goal would bring the lead back to two possessions. Davis, Aaron, and Isadora were sitting on the couch with their hands clasped in front of their faces in apprehension. Mike and Rico were sitting content, thinking about the guaranteed win that the Falcons had. However, the Falcons were called for a penalty, and then the Falcons quarterback was sacked for a loss of ten yards. The Falcons had another penalty and were forced to punt the ball. The room was quiet with a nervous tension as everyone crowded around the TV to watch the final minutes of the game. After the Patriots marched down the field and scored a touchdown with a two point conversion, Davis and Aaron jumped off of the couch screaming their heads off. On the other side of the room, Mike and Rico stood quietly, shaking their heads in disbelief and disappointment.
During the overtime period, everyone from the adults to the kids was watching the game with anticipation. Although the kids cared more for the party than the game itself, they cheered along for the team that their parents were cheering for. New England started the overtime with the ball and marching it down the field, capitalizing on the drive with a game-winning touchdown from Patriots running back, James White. There were a multitude of reactions among the crowd. The children were disappointed that the team they were cheering for at the end lost, and walked back to their room to play Minecraft. The aunts enjoyed the excitement and walked back to the kitchen to finish the dinner preparations. Mike and Rico were shaking their heads in disappointment at the blown lead and walked out of the room. Davis, Aaron, and Isadora were celebrating. They were yelling, screaming, high-fiving each other, and taking pictures of themselves in their Patriots gear.
My observations at the party confirmed my initial thesis that there are two groups: one that is interested in the Super Bowl game and another that is interested in the festivities that come along with the Super Bowl event. Moreover, the two groups could be further broken down into subcategories: the group that was fascinated by the football game was mainly comprised of the true fans (Davis and Aaron) and the bandwagoners (Mike and Rico) while the group that was more focused on the festivities of the Super Bowl party consisted of the aunts and Isadora who were the halftime show enthusiasts and the kids who were only there to enjoy the party. Throughout most of the party, these two groups lived separately in their own personal bubbles. However, the two groups came together and watched the end of the game at its suspenseful climax. The tension, excitement, and suspense that was in the air drew all of the groups together as they sat on the edges of their seats during the final moments of the game. It is amazing how the Super Bowl was able to bring these two groups at the party together. Hopefully, next year’s Super Bowl will be exciting enough to do the same. Well, that’s it for today! Thank you so much for listening and have a great day!
Abarca, Justin. "The 15 Worst Types Of People At Every Super Bowl Party." BuzzFeed. N.p., 27 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 Feb. 2017. <https://www.buzzfeed.com/justinabarca/worst-types-of-people-at-every-super-bowl-party?utm_term=.hl26EvVL5#.iq851OXjA>.
Balaskovitz, Ron. "Ten People You Meet At Super Bowl Parties." Gunaxin Humor. N.p., 01 Feb. 2017. Web. 18 Feb. 2017. <http://humor.gunaxin.com/the-people-you-meet-at-super-bowl-parties/82511>.