The Super Bowl Analysed By A Briton Who’s Never Seen American Football Before

Decoding a United States tradition. posted on

1. The Super Bowl is a bit like the FA Cup final. Except people actually care about it.

Matthew Emmons/Usa Today Sports

That said, unlike the FA Cup — in which almost every team in the country from amateurs to Manchester United can theoretically make the final — the Super Bowl is unashamedly about money and slick production values. Three hours of adverts interrupted by the occasional spot of sport, if you will.

I have never watched American football and have no idea what’s going on.

2. Seattle Seahawks run out to The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” in tribute to the drug-addled Wigan band (and northwest England’s commitment to hitting people for fun).

Noah K. Murray / Reuters

3. Meanwhile, the other team gets led out by a WOMAN ON A HORSE. Britain has rubbish animal mascots in comparison, such as the Blackburn Rovers chicken.

Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

4. Still, U.S. television presentation can make even the most mundane moments seem like an epic moment in human history.

5. This is the ceremonial Super Bowl coat. Presumably worn as a forfeit to atone for sins in a previous life.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

6. I have no idea why there are so many referees. One of them has a massive ego and takes great pleasure in explaining his decision to the crowd.

Certain they use the same referee from gladiators. You will go on my 1st whistle.. #SuperBowl

7. It takes us 45 minutes to get through the first 15 minutes of play. But we’ve had a lot of adverts.

Mark J. Rebilas/Usa Today Sports

8. There’s constant off-the-ball grappling between the players, like a room of drunks who aren’t sure whether they want to punch their rival or just have a hug.

Noah K. Murray/Usa Today Sports

9. Turns out you don’t actually need to “touch” the ball “down” on the ground to score a “touchdown.”

Mark J. Rebilas/Usa Today Sports

10. They let a hawk in.

Tim Farrell / Reuters

It’ll help with those bird’s-eye views.

11. The approximately 105 substitutes run on and off the pitch without warning.

Mark J. Rebilas/Usa Today Sports

12. Hang on, a ball game in which players line up and then charge at each other while trying to get the ball to the end of the pitch? It’s just Rugby League with padding.

13. Yet another car advert, in which a man jumps off cliff into sea to escape day-to-day drudgery and connect with his inner self.


A disclaimer appears on screen: “DO NOT ATTEMPT.”

14. Bruno Mars pops up for some reason.

Elsa / Getty Images

Where did the thousands of people on the pitch come from? Have they been held in a holding pen ready to get excited around the astonishingly small Mars? Either way it seems desperately unfair to make them watch the Red Hot Chilli Peppers when they’re just trying to enjoy themselves.

The typical English football halftime “show” consists of a demonstration from the local police dog team and a raffle.

15. The crowd is singing along to Kernkraft 400’s “Zombie Nation.” But unlike U.K. football fans, they don’t seem to have any spontaneous chants.

Andrew Kelly / Reuters

“There’s only one franchise in Denver, one franchise in Den-en-ver….”

16. Seconds later these two men kissed.

Sadly the camera cut away so we’re unable to bring you photographic evidence of the moment.

17. Yet another car advert asks whether there is “anything more American…than America.” The correct answer is quickly identified.

"Is there anything more American than America?" – I nominate M&M World in Leicester Square. #SB48

19. Ah, I know this guy. He’s the one who gave the utterly amazing and barely comprehensible interview that went viral the other month. More of that, please.

20. Seattle Seahawks are declared “world champions” of a competition that only includes teams from the continental United States.

Wikimedia Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

The world is in front of you, right now.

21. Sorry America: That was a desperately dull game of sport presented with great style.


Lipstick on a pig can only get you so far. And I think watching York City FC play lower league English football is a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

22. Still, I reckon I now know more about American Football than the Denver Broncos’ management.


Pat Bowlen, I’m available if you decide to get rid of John Fox.

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