Tonight sees the Super Bowl in its 50th incarnation; where the Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers. The imposing figure of Peyton Manning against the dominating Cam Newton. But why has this seemingly very American sport taken the UK by storm in recent years?
I think I may know.
In times where our national sport is picked apart by pundits, many people like to see tactics dominating games – where one mind conquers another through attack and counter. This is the essence of American Football that appeals to that side of football fans. Gridiron is tactically meticulous in its preparation – it doesn’t take much to appreciate the precision with which the sport works. The hugeness of it all it simply astounding. The stadiums, the teams, the noise, the fans – they’re all huge – even the cheerleading squads are massive. This is something alien to UK football.
Sure, we have bits and bats, but this sport is big, loud and consistently shouts out about how great it is. I have a feeling that this will be a Super Bowl to remember, especially considering that it’s likely to be Peyton Manning’s last ever match in a glittering 18-year career. Super Bowl champion and MVP with the Indianapolis Colts, 14 time Pro Bowl pick and the NFL’s all-time leading passer in both yards and touchdown passes – it’s not a career to be sniffed at. On the other side of that though, the Carolina Panthers Quarter Back , Cam Newton, is something special.
The highest rushing QB in the NFL this season (that’s run yards) and the highest amount of rushing touchdowns by any QB in the history of the NFL, bearing in mind that he’s only been involved in 5 campaigns. The fascination of this multi-faceted sport is engaging thousands of fans around the world – and rightly so. I, for one, will be watching intently tonight – predicting a Panthers win by 10.
Dave Figgins Chief Sports Reporter Bolton Live