Spectacular Sunday: Super Bowl LII
With almost a week to go before the kickoff of Super Bowl LII on Sunday, Feb. 4th the excitement and drama building up around the country and in the Minneapolis area is starting to resemble a tidal wave that is turning into a tsunami by the time the game starts at 6:30 P.M. Eastern time.
Annual contender New England Patriots vs. the Philadelphia Eagles should be an interesting matchup: a proven champion challenging a team that beat the Minnesota Vikings by 31 points to earn a trip to the biggest game in football. Already being billed as the most expensive Super Bowl to date (the least expensive ticket is $3,600) 65,000 enthusiastic spectators are expecting to witness an epic contest between two NFL titans.
At an astronomical cost of $1.13 billion to construct, the U.S. Bank Stadium certainly qualifies as a football field worthy of accommodating Super Bowl LII. Nicknamed the “People’s Stadium” by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, over 1.6 million visitors have passed through the doors of the arena during its first 12 months, even allowing for jogging and rollerblading in its main concourse on some winter nights. Shaped like a Viking boat in honor of their home team, U.S. Bank Stadium allows fresh air to blow in by opening up five gigantic doors on the west side of the field, each one measuring 95 feet tall. HKS Architects take credit for the unique design; having already built two other NFL arenas: the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium and Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium.
Yet how ironic this whole grand affair really is: the city of Minneapolis reaping multi-millions in revenue from a spectacular NFL event that their own home team (the Vikings) were just one victory away from taking part in. Now their arch-rival Philadelphia Eagles are arriving on the Vikings home turf, waging war against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the rest of the Patriots crew. Half time entertainment will be provided by Justin Timberlake, Pink will sing the national anthem, while Leslie Odom Jr. will steal the spotlight for performing “America the Beautiful.”
With an accomplished playoff history to be proud of, New England has quite a bit to boast about: winning five of their last nine Super Bowls and being the first team to make the 10th appearance. Considering all-star Tom Brady leading the charge along with running back LeGarrette Blount and amazing wide receiver Danny Amendola, it’s easily understandable how and why these pigskin warriors from out east are five and a half point favorites. But how can any sports fan overlook the abilities of this Philadelphia Eagles team that devastated the Vikings 38 – 7 on Jan. 25th? Somehow public opinion favors Tom Brady and team when compared to superstars such as Eagles Q.B. Nick Foles, not to mention top talent on defense including end Brandon Graham and tackle Fletcher Cox clearly demonstrating their extraordinary skills behind the dynamic strategies of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Add in the remarkable plays of safety Malcolm Jenkins and you have a defensive recipe built for success, ready to strike a major defensive blow against the much-touted Patriot’s offense and celebrated Tom Brady.
A nationwide audience, Las Vegas odds-makers, and 65,000 screaming fans in Minneapolis will be the ultimate judges as to the caliber of this Super Bowl LII extravaganza and how it compares to the legendary contests of Super Bowls gone by. However, one thing is for sure: it will take more than a new, funny Coke commercial and a loud half time show by Justin Timberlake to satisfy NFL aficionados on the holiest of all football Sundays.
Indeed, larger-than-life Howard Cosell would’ve been astonished at the spectacle Super Sunday has truly become!