As with every Super Bowl build up, tis the season to hear experts tell you why so many members of the planetary club will watch the game tomorrow. These pundits, who by the way are paid to tell you what they think (so you will think what they think), will offer a number of reasons.
When you hear that one guy claim that people will watch it simply because everybody else does, listen to that person, because they know what they’re talking about. And then get their name and network and post it as a comment on this web-zone so that I know who stole my idea.
This post carries a lot of statistics. They say there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. But what they left out is if a statistic comes from me, it’s always true. I acquired them through the most refined, delicate research process known to man. It cost me the entire monthly operating budget for this blog to achieve these results. So you make sure to enjoy it.
Last year’s Super Bowl was watched by 111 million American viewers. Two weeks ago 47 million watched the AFC Championship game while the NFC game carried 42 million. Assuming similar numbers for tomorrow, what’s to account for this 60 million disparity?
We can all assume that those who truly care about football would watch two of the biggest games of the year right? So why are 60 million meat-bags who don’t care about football watching the game? As stated above, it’s because everybody else is watching. What’s up with that? Who cares? If 100 million people were watching jai-alai in the Cayman Islands I wouldn’t watch it. Except that I probably would; the whole thing.
Here’s a very profound statement (it came to me in a dream last night): The average human wants to be a part of something. They want in on the team. When you show up at the Keurig station on Monday morning (water coolers are apparently for Commie-Nazis) you don’t want to be the only person who didn’t see at least one play the prior night. Or who saw that wacky commercial. By the way, buy things, lots of things! Spend money now! NOW!
The growing dispersion of entertainment sources is well known and written about constantly so we won’t discuss it here, at least until later. But these figures show you how rare an occurrence a water cooler moment is now:
– I Love Lucy was routinely watched by over half, yes half, of people who owned a television
– Today the highest ratio is around 20%, by Sunday night football or NCIS
– But NCIS, the number one show, averages only 21 million viewers a night
– Seinfeld averaged over 30 million viewers for the last four years of its run
– There are 40 million more Americans today than when Seinfeld ended
This is all a very slow way of saying that we the human race no longer watch the same things anymore. Except for very rare events like tomorrow you are generally not going to be able to share the moments your grandparents and parents did with the population. You may wonder why this matters to the public?
I offer the topic of festivus. Seinfeld ended almost 15 years ago. Yet how often did you hear somebody of advanced age bring up festivus a few weeks ago? And then somebody else joined in on the joke.
It’s the idea that there’s something special to you and that from nowhere you can bring up a moment that made you laugh, cheer, tense, or cry. Then at any point in your day, somebody you hardly know can share that moment with you. It establishes a connection of thought and emotion between humans that is rarely shared. You wouldn’t let these people walk your dog; but you’ll share that flash with them every chance you get.
Now is the growing absence of these moments a problem? For two reasons, I don’t particularly think so.
First, we can still generate enough big events to keep us tied together: online videos that get billions of views, Super Bowl, alien invasion leader broadcast, whatever.
Second, when you look back at human history, we’ve only had the capability to generate these moments for less than a century. You think subsistence farmers got to read or watch the same thing in the millions? There was The Bible, but I don’t think we place that in the same category.
We’ve survived this long by relying not on entertainment to establish our links with fellow creatures; but by generating those special moments through each other. Through connections we create based not on what we watched, but on who we are.
So, a slight suggestion for those who don’t care about football. Don’t watch it. They’ll kick you off the team, but you don’t want in on that team anyways. Make your own.
Watched by more people than the Korean War.