In 2016, the Super Bowl, the climactic spectacle of American professional football, celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Super Bowl stands as the broadest ‘shared experience’ in American culture. As television ratings, cultural practices, and scholarly tomes reveal, more people participate in watching the Super Bowl than in any other common endeavour in the United States. The Super Bowl has become a new national holiday dedicated to the celebration of consumption—the driving force underneath modern culture.
Beyond the borders of the United States, the Super Bowl does not rank as highly as a global phenomenon, though it increasingly draws larger audiences in a few nations around the globe. Some watch as curious students of American habits, others seem to be developing affinity for American-style football. The global dynamics of the consumption of football reveal much about the dynamics of American ‘soft power’ and cultural influence in the new globalized social networks that are emerging as consumption increasingly powers not only the United States but also the world economy.
A Half Century of Super Bowls: National and Global Perspectives on America’s Grandest Spectacle analyzes the Super Bowl in shaping American and global communities and identities. It was originally published as a special issue of the International Journal of the History of Sport.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Super Bowl Sunday: A National Holiday and a Global Curiosity
Peter Hopsicker and Mark Dyreson
1. The Super Bowl at 50 or L
2. ‘Superbowling’: Using the Super Bowl’s Yearly Commentary to Explore the Evolution of a Sporting Spectacle in the American Consciousness
Peter M. Hopsicker
3. Fifty Years of Super Bowl Commercials, Thirty-Two Years of Spectacular Consumption
Matthew P. McAllister and Elysia Galindo-Ramirez
4. ‘Super Bore’: The Canadian Media and the Grey Cup-Super Bowl Comparison
Craig G. Greenham
5. Amerika: The Super Bowl and German Imagination
6. A Century of British Readings of America through American Football: From the Fin de Siècle to the Super Bowl
7. ‘We Will Try Again, Again, Again to Make It Bigger’: Japan, American Football, and the Super Bowl in the Past, Present, and Future
8. The Super Bowl as a Television Spectacle: Global Designs, Glocal Niches, and Parochial Patterns
Peter M. Hopsicker is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Head of the Division of Education, Human Development, and Social Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, Altoona, USA. He is also a member of the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Kinesiology and a member of the Executive Committee of the Center for the Study of Sports in Society at Pennsylvania State University.
Mark Dyreson is a Professor of Kinesiology and History at Pennsylvania State University, State College, USA; the Director of Research and Educational Programs at the Penn State Center for the Study of Sports in Society; the Managing Editor of the International Journal of the History of Sport; a former President of the North American Society for Sport History; a Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology; and the author of several books and numerous articles on the history of sport.