Super Bowl 2015: It's the most ridiculous sporting event of the year, but I absolutely love it

Even if you don't know the rules, the spectacle of the whole thing is unmissable

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The Independent Online

American football is an absurd sport. That is not why I love it, but it adds to the madness. I love it because it is a spectacle: a form of ritualised combat that actually looks like a fight, with complex team-work and planning.

People who don't like it complain that it is a stop-start affair, but that is part of its attraction. Each play is such an intricate clash of rival plans that you need to see the replay to work out what the hell was going on in all the different zones of the struggle.

A live game is 60 minutes of playing time – and much of that is in the huddle or getting into position before the ball is in play – that takes three and a half hours altogether for time-outs and clock-stopping. The Super Bowl might take a little longer because I think half-time, a ridiculous pop concert bookended by the most expensive TV commercials on the planet, is longer than usual.

So I'll be there tonight – 11.30, Channel 4 – ready to watch the most ridiculous game of the year, the Seattle Seahawks vs the New England Patriots in Phoenix, Arizona. It is ridiculous that it should be played in a desert state. It will be a summery 19 degrees C on a sunny afternoon, in a stadium with a retractable roof so they can turn the air conditioning on if it gets too hot. Real grass won't grow in the shady stadium, but it will slide in on a 8,000-ton tray from outside, where it is grown and watered in the desert sunshine.

 

Like I say, absurd. American football is supposed to be played in the rain and the snow, in the rust belt of the north east, in Chicago, Green Bay, Buffalo, Pittsburg. Also in Philadelphia because my team, the Eagles, come from there and it's close to the wintry working-class heart of the game.

Anyway, the Eagles didn't make it to the Super Bowl this year, so I'm supporting the Seahawks, not because hawks and eagles are related but because I like Russell Wilson, the Seahawks' quarterback, and Marshawn Lynch, the running back who shakes hands with his team mates if he scores a touchdown.

Also because I don't like the Patriots and their quarterback, Tom Brady, and I never have. Brady has been around for ages and is very good. But I don't like him. I don't think I have to give reasons – it's just a sports teams thing. You like some teams and you hate their enemies.

So there you are. You don't have to know what's going on. All players are allowed to barge and push but not hold all opponents, and any spectator can delight in a catch made, running at full speed, from over the shoulder, or a weaving run, breaking tackles, through a crowded field. But it is so much better if you do know what is going on.

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