Los Angeles Times: Bring On the Nachos and Beer — It's the National Huddle writes Michael Berland

Los Angeles Times: Bring On the Nachos and Beer — It’s the National Huddle
By Michael Berland and Doug Schoen
Published February 01, 2005

This week, Americans will celebrate this country’s 11th national holiday — Super Bowl Sunday. In a nation of highly polarized red states and blue states, what else do we all join together to celebrate? Only the Super Bowl can truly claim to be a uniter, not a divider.

Think about it: The outrage over the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” at last year’s halftime show was not so much about the partial nudity as about the desecration of what we all think is appropriate to this national celebration.

According to a random sample survey of 1,735 Americans we conducted this last week, Americans now treat Super Bowl Sunday the same way they treat Christmas or the Fourth of July. They make plans. They do “something special.” They spend it with others. In fact, half of all Americans would rather go to a Super Bowl party than a New Year’s Eve party.

And Super Bowl celebrations are no longer thrown- together beer-and-pizza bashes. In a growing trend, half of Americans plan well ahead for Super Bowl Sunday, usually before the final teams have even been determined. On average, Super Bowl plans are made 41 days in advance, our research shows. (By comparison, New Year’s plans are made 35 days in advance; anniversary plans are made 30 days in advance; birthday plans are made 25 days in advance.)

Why is Super Bowl Sunday so powerful in our culture? Maybe because Christmas and Thanksgiving are family holidays, and we each have our own traditions. Fourth of July fireworks and parades are celebrated city by city across the country. But Super Bowl Sunday is unique — a shared, nationwide social event organized around a single stage at a single time.

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