Watching the Super Bowl as a non-football fan



Erik Drost | Wikimedia Commons

Arianne Gonzalez, Arts & Culture Editor

Typically, any Sunday is time for me to relax and prepare for the week ahead. Maybe catch up on some assignments, read a book, watch movies or knit. Maybe try to do them simultaneously.

But it’s the Super Bowl LVI, and as a recently minted American, it felt obligatory to watch the game. Though why it is called football is still beyond me when the rest of the world considers soccer as football.

This year’s game was between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. As per my prediction, I was California all the way. Even if I am iffy about the 49ers losing.

To be perfectly honest, I still know nothing about the game. I called my brother, who was as clueless as I was,. He was just disappointed that the Buffalo Bills didn’t make it to the Super Bowl.

I decided to enlist the help of The Ticker’s own sports editor, Edgar Llivisupa.

“The rules of football are quite complex,” was the first thing he told me about the basic lowdown of the game. Well, that was promising.

Hehe sent me a video explaining the basic rules of football uploaded by the NFL. I was still confused, but I pushed onward to try and watch the game with my mother.

Early on in the pregame ceremonies, the hosts were predicting that the Rams were going to win the trophy — which boosted my confidence a bit. Even though I knew nothing about the actual rules of the game, once I decide to root for someone or a team, I go all in.

Still, ever the arts and culture editor, a lot of my focus was split between the game and on the things I could relate to: the commercials, the star-studded So-Fi stadium filled with Hollywood bigwigs and of course, the performers.

My top three commercials were: the sleep number commercial, NFL’s “Bring Down the House” ad, and the Jones Toyota commercial. Peyton Manning seemed to be everywhere, as well as Hollywood A-listers, although this could be compounded by the sense that the game was played in their backyard.

Jhene Aiko’s rendition of “America the Beautiful” was smooth and filled with her dulcet tones. Mickey Guyton’s “Star-Spangled Banner” was quite good, especially with the choir behind her.  Every time I am reminded of a Super Bowl national anthem, I cannot help but always look back to Whitney Houston’s rendition in 1991.

The game finally kicked off with Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson introducing both teams. It felt very reminiscent of  WWE Smackdown and little did I know that it was a foreshadowing of how the game was going to turn out.

A few minutes into the first quarter I realized my mother knew more about this game than I do. I was still trying to make sense of it all, attempting to understand the definitions of scrimmage, punt, “3rd and 4” on the TV, sacked and flags.

My basic understanding was you have to make a move to get as close to the touchdown zone as possible, and this was done by passing the ball or running it through.

I had enough knowledge to understand great defensive moves but it felt like the Rams were just swarming to whomever from the Bengals had the ball and piled on top of him.

It even got to the point that someone from the Bengals would just run to the outside lines to avoid being bulldozed by the Rams, which I guess meant Los Angeles was really living up to their name.

I was , however, envious of the weather in Los Angeles. One of the sports announcers announced that it was in the low 80s,and I glowered at the memory of shoveling snow that Sunday morning.

I blinked and the next thing I knew, Los Angeles gained ground and they managed a touchdown 6 minutes and 30 seconds into the first quarter. I thought it was a great pass from Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and a great catch by Odell Beckham Jr.

With this maneuver, Beckham Jr. became my favorite player. Plus, he wore   No. 3 which I find an auspicious number. Cooper Kupp is a close second since his number is 10 which happens to be my birthdate and he also can catch well.

Cincinnati was playing a really good game as well, as far as I could tell. The passes between quarterback Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase were working out for them.

I felt really confident in my football analytical skills nine minutes into the second quarter, though again, I still didt understand anything other than I am wholeheartedly rooting for the Rams at this point.

I was also having fun reading my fellow Ticker writers and editors’ comments on the game and explanation of what was going on.

My focus was again divided with the endless commercials, which this year seemed to be animal themed with Disney quite literally claiming that their platform has goats. But then, tragedy struck.

Beckham Jr. seemed to land wrong and suffered a knee injury, knocking him out of the rest of the game. And for the rest of the quarter, it seemed that they were suffering without No.3.

Then the quarter was up and it was time for the halftime show, which quite frankly remains the only reason why I watch the Super Bowl in the first place.

This year’s line-up included Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and Eminem, with guest appearances by 50 Cent, Anderson. Paak, Warren  Snipe and Sean Forbes.

I thought it was a solid show, simple and understated, but a nice homage to these hip hop greats and their classic hits. It also felt nice to see Dr. Dre because I feel like I haven’t seen him pop up as much since the late ‘10s.

Then the second half kicked in and 22 seconds into it, the Bengals managed to turn the tide and gain a lead. At this point, I thought it was going to be a Cinderella story and I was starting to lose hope. I will admit, I thought the plays were pretty cool and solid. Burrow seemed unflappable most of the game.

But it seemed this Super Bowl was really hitting the main players. First with Beckham Jr., then Stafford briefly and finally Burrows took a nasty hit. That playback of him falling on the ground seemed so painful.

This game felt so close down the wire. With less than two minutes the Rams had possession, for some reason it became flag city as referees were throwing down fouls for I don’t even know what. It seemed that LA was relying on Kupp at this point.

I found it funny that both my mother and myself were getting frustrated with how the Rams were playing.

And surprisingly, I found myself biting my nails in those final few minutes. Was I really swept up over a game that I don’t really care for most of the season that it’s on? Was this the closest to me understanding the enthusiasm of team sports?

Finally, the Rams scored a touchdown and regained the lead. I was still slightly nervous that the Bengals could catch up with the last few seconds, but since there was somehow a turnover that solidified the Rams’ victory, I breathed out a sigh of relief.

It felt heartwarming to see the Rams’ coach Sean McVay drenched in Gatorade — again a tradition that I’m still quite unfamiliar with. And to hear the testimonials from the LA players was nice; I thought Kupp was well-deserved to be the MVP.

This is one of the few times that I was happy to participate and watch a sports game. I can go to bed with a light heart knowing LA won. What a Hollywood ending indeed.