This year the NFL will generate close to $9 billion in revenue, $500 million of that in association with the Super Bowl. Tens of thousands will attend the game and hundreds of millions will watch it live. It is, and has been for some years, the largest collection of human attention in the United States if not the world. And what do we choose to do with this opportunity to communicate with so many people all at once? Sell beer. And cars. And Beyonce. I think that more than reality television, or Facebook, or Twitter or Black Friday the Super Bowl reflects back to us what we already know about ourselves. We like to consume. We enjoy violence and competition as sport and entertainment. We like mostly naked women, especially if they only dance and sing. We really like beer.
And maybe that's okay. Maybe the Super bowl and football in general are all a part of healthy mass catharsis, a national blowing off of steam. Maybe it does drive business and the overall economy, creating jobs and revenue. Maybe hero worship and camaraderie forge the ties that bind us to each other. Or maybe it's the entire country enabling each others vices.
Super Bowl weekends are associated with increased incidents of drunk driving, domestic violence, gambling, alcohol and drug consumption, and human trafficking. Why are you watching?