For Americans, Super Bowl Sunday is almost a national holiday. The day on which the final of the National Football League championship is played is second only to Thanksgiving in terms of food consumption, while an estimated 90 million people are expected to tune in to the game at any time.
But this year, there is one more reason to watch the Super Bowl – both teams that qualified are family–controlled and the addition of some family rivalry is expected to make the match even more competitive. The New England Patriots, owned by the Kraft family, and the New York Giants, controlled by the Mara and Tisch families, will face each other at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis today (5 February).
But who is expected to win? According to Arun, a one-horned Asian rhinoceros from the Fort Worth Zoo in Texas, it will be the Giants. The animal was shown two balls, each decorated with the logo of one team. “He has no interest in the Patriots at all,” Ron Surrat, zoo director of animal collections, told Reuters.
This is certainly what Robert Kraft, chairman and chief executive of the Kraft Group, which controls the Patriots, fears the most. In 2008, his Patriots lost the Super Bowl to the Giants, despite previously being undefeated for the entire season.
Kraft, who bought the team in 1994 for $172 million (€130.7 million), has another reason to hope his team will win the trophy. The players, in fact, decided to dedicate the 2011/2012 season to his late wife Myra, who died of cancer last summer. A season culminating in a victory would certainly make it more special.
However, Giants’ quarter-back Eli Manning also appears determined to win the cup.
“It’s not about beating a specific person or beating a certain team. It’s about the opportunity to win a championship for your own organisation, for the Giants, for the Mara family, for the Tisch family, for everything they’ve done to put us in this situation, their support,” he told the New York Post.
Tim Mara established the New York Giants in 1925 with an initial investment of $500. In 1991, he sold half of the football team to Bob Tisch. Today John Mara, the third generation of the Mara family to work at the Giants, serves as chief executive, while Tisch’s son Steve is president.
The game, which last year was the most watched television programme in the history of the country, will also include a half-time show, with artists such as Madonna and Nicki Minaj performing, while Kelly Clarkson, who won TV show American Idol in 2002, will sing the US national anthem before the match.
According to American website TreeHugger, Americans typically eat one billion chicken wings and drink more than 325 million gallons of beer (1.48 billion litres) during the game.
The website also says sales of antacid medicine tend to increase by 20% the day after the match.