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RYAN BAKKEN: Super Bowl has superiority

Ryan Bakken

To some people, football's days are numbered.

In the last year, several self-proclaimed experts have opined that football will eventually disappear. Reasons cited include the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State and the game's violence that leads to concussions, brain damage and even suicide. Speculation was that those cases will prompt parents to keep their children on the sidelines.

However, after experiencing yet another Super Sunday two days ago, I don't see the pigskin disappearing any time soon. It's too engrained into the culture, especially the Super Bowl.

For five months, fans are attracted to the NFL's gladiator nature. Then, come Super Bowl time, fandom triples because parties also offer food, conversation, gambling boards and entertaining television commercials.

It's a bigger party than New Year's Eve, with competing blood-alcohol levels.

During the regular season, I typically watch the Vikings with mild interest. However, a loss doesn't ruin my weekend, unlike some purple Kool-Aid guzzlers in the office.

I'm also more of a baseball guy than a football guy, so I rarely care who wins the Super Bowl. But I always watch.

National game

It would be un-American to not watch. After all, football is America's game. There is a country north of us who also plays football, albeit with a dozen players aside. But up there, football lags a few million light years behind another sport for popularity.

In the United States, football is No. 1. Following are seven other reasons why that's so.

• Americans are aggressive, if not overbearing. Football is a perfect fit.

• Pro football has one championship game. It's not best-of-seven, as it is in baseball, basketball and hockey, so the drama is played out in four hours, not over two weeks.

• Football lends itself to gambling, which is entertainment for many. To win your bet, you may not even need to pick the winner; you just need to beat the point spread. Beating the point spread means you're smarter than your buddies. The most macho sport also offers the best chance to flex your superior brainpower.

• Are there World Series parties? Stanley Cup parties? NBA playoffs parties? If so, there isn't one in every neighborhood across the land.

• New television commercials -- most of them clever -- are aired first on Super Bowl Sunday. More potty breaks are taken during the action than the breaks.

• Football is the sports equivalent of capitalism. In football, you battle for turf. At work, you do, too.

• Because it's super.

Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1125; or send e-mail to