By Jay Landow | Contributor
The NFL playoffs are underway, and America is anxiously awaiting what is about to arrive: the coveted Super Bowl. The game will be played on Feb. 7, and while all Super Bowls are special, this year’s is a little more special than the rest. This year will mark the 50th Super Bowl game.
Many aspects of the occasion will be the same. The game is expected to draw hundreds of millions of television viewers, as usual. An unimaginable amount of beer, pizza and wings will be sold. Commercials will be bought at a record high of $5 million per 30 seconds. Huge names will headline the halftime show. Coldplay is set to play the main stage, and appearances are expected by Beyoncé and Bruno Mars, both of whom have played the Super Bowl halftime show in recent years. As always is with athletic championships, the spirits of some fans will be lifted, others will be crushed.
Given the importance of the anniversary event, some small things will be different to signify the occasion. The same way a married couple calls their 50th anniversary the gold anniversary, the NFL has chosen gold as the theme for Super Bowl 50. If you watched any games this season, you may have noticed the big 50’s used to mark the 50 yard line were filled in gold instead of white. Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California is the site of the big game and was chosen in part because the facility is the newest in the NFL and the state was the site of one of the largest gold rushes in American history in 1849, thus the San Francisco ‘49ers.
In addition to the traditional Lombardi Trophy, the winners of this year’s Super Bowl will be awarded a 33-pound, 18-karat golden statue of the number 50. Another interesting change made especially for Super Bowl 50 is the switch from Roman numerals to the Arabic numerals we use today. That means the official logos will say “Super Bowl 50” as opposed to “Super Bowl L.” The tradition of using roman numerals will resume next year for Super Bowl LI.
As of this article’s release date (January 21, 2016), which teams will play in the Super Bowl remains unknown. We only know who will play in the conference championships. Either the Denver Broncos or the New England Patriots will play for the AFC, and either the Carolina Panthers or the Arizona Cardinals will play for the NFC. The Panthers had the best record in the NFL this season, going 14-0 before losing to the Atlanta Falcons in week 15 (#riseup). The Panthers won their next and last game to finish the season 15-1. The Cardinals finished the season 13-3, and the Broncos and Patriots both finished up the season at 12-4.
The only game that featured two of the four teams left during the regular season was when the Patriots played against the Broncos on Nov. 29. The Broncos won in overtime 30-24. While none of the other teams met during the regular season, all of them played at least one of the other three teams during the pre-season.
The year’s Super Bowl is shaping up to be a good one. The past few years, the Super Bowl has been a slight disappointment. The games have either been strikingly lopsided, or have been shrouded in off-field controversy. The teams left in contention seem to have us heading towards a highly competitive and entertaining championship game that will live up to the occasion and make the 50th Super Bowl one to remember.