It's the biggest event of the year.every year: the grand finale of the most popular sport in the most powerful nation in the world. Saying the Super Bowl is just a football game is like saying Mount Everest is just a hill.
The television ratings prove the point: the Super Bowl drew 36.5 million viewers in 2010, that's about five TIMES more than the American Idol Finale. It's no wonder that companies pay three million dollars for just a half-a-minute of advertising time, and pull out all the stops to make the commercials just as exciting as the game itself, sometimes even more so.
Of course, there's something special about this Super Bowl, featuring two of the most storied franchises in football history. Local interest and excitement is bubbling over like a pot of water left too long on the stove. But even if, dare we think it, the Steelers weren't in the big game, we would still be anticipating Sunday evening with excitement and party-planning, though maybe without the perpetual smiles you'll find on the faces of fans all around the region.
The Super Bowl has become an event, a spectacle, an extravaganza; there may not even be a superlative in the dictionary that can accurately describe it; perhaps that's why we just settle for super.
This game is ultimately American: inspiring military fly-over's and new renditions of the "Star Spangled Banner," not to mention trips to Disney World. It has also spawned a famous out-of-tune and off-step Shuffle, an infamous wardrobe malfunction, and millions of Monday mornings "called-off."
The event is so special that even multi-million dollar athletes take along their personal camcorders to record the experience; for many, it's a once-in-a-lifetime deal.
After a season of drama and two weeks of unbelievable hype, the pomp and pageantry will culminate in a game for the ages: like teams of gladiators, they will strap on their (under) armor and do battle for the most coveted title on earth: World Champion.
Every play will be watched, analyzed and scrutinized across the country, around the globe, and in many different languages.
A shower of red, white and blue confetti will rain down on the Super Bowl XLV Champions, and legends will be born. Billions of dollars will be made, and millions more lost. The victorious and disappointed will spill onto the streets of their respective cities, in triumph or in tears. Either way, it will feel like much more than a game.
From the high school gridiron to the NFL, football defines us. The colors we wear from our teenage years to retirement say something about who we are; we don't even have to speak our names. Cheese heads recognize the Steelers Nation by their signature black and gold; Pittsburgh fans would know the Green Bay green and gold anywhere.
So win or lose, when the dip bowls are in the dishwasher and the television turned off, it will be a Super Sunday to remember.
Kellie Goodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.