‘Superbowling’: Using the super bowl’s yearly commentary to explore the evolution of a sporting spectacle in the American consciousness

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Abstract

In the days following Super Bowl III, New York Times columnist Robert Lipsyte coined the phrase ‘superbowling’. Consisting of the ‘chatter’ and diverse perspectives voiced throughout the nation in the days surrounding each Super Bowl, superbowling includes the off-the-wall psychiatric evaluations and epic gloating by football fans, political reactions and sociological analyses concerning the game’s affect on the nation’s institutions, as well as the hasty generalizations by alarmed moralists and university professors. This paper utilizes the ‘superbowling’ penned between Super Bowls I and XXXVI as evidence that provides insight into ‘the variety of ways in which Americans understood and enacted their political culture at a specific time’. By investigating the varieties of superbowling topics highlighted within each yearly Super Bowl, one cannot only better understand the evolution of Super Bowl Sunday, but can also understand its relationship to the prominent historical happenings and personalities of the time. It is concluded that by the turn of the millennium, superbowling revealed at least three enduring qualities of Super Bowl Sunday: ‘conspicuous consumption’, ‘shared experience’, and ʼnational holiday’.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-45
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Volume34
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 22 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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