22 reasons why the Super Bowl is the greatest show on Earth
The time is almost upon us to don our random NFL jersey (I'll be decked out in Jacksonville Jaguars gear) and explain to our other halves why this game is so bloody important.
But there are so very many reasons to adore the game, nay show, nay PHENOMENON known as the Super Bowl that you'd be an age trying to articulate it to the ambivalent shrugs of a girlfriend or boyfriend who struggles to feign interest.
So we've done the heavy lifting for you so sit back, relax and enjoy the 22 reasons why Super Bowl 50 will once again be the greatest show on Earth.
1. The emotions
For fans, the few hours of action on Super Bowl Sunday is a rollercoaster of emotions and we're pretty sure that the players might feel some modicum of mood-changes too. The veneration awarded to the victors, the dishonour cast upon the defeated. It's never too hard to tell the difference between them.
2. The fans
After God, of course, the fans are the most thanked entity when players finally get to experience Super Bowl glory.
There are many different kinds of fans who are all entertaining in their own ways - you've got the kitted-out spectator who shouts instructions from the stands, the drunken fanatic who's squinting at the scoreboard midway through the third quarter and the lad who has spent all year saving his hard-earned cash for a ticket to the Super Bowl with the glimmer of hope that his team can win it.
And then there's this kind of fan from Super Bowl XXXVIII.
3. The commercials
It's a rarity that the ads during any sporting event are more important than going to crack open another bottle of beer but the Super Bowl is a special case.
The ludicrous cost of the most-coveted thirty seconds of advertising space each year makes for must-watch stuff. With the price of a thirty second ad at this year's Super Bowl being reported at $5million, the commercials have come a long way since Mean Joe Greene's Coca-Cola ad from 1979.
4. The showboaters
It's all well and good scoring a touchdown but, hey, you may as well entertain the crowd while on your way to the end zone.
When Tracy Porter intercepted a Peyton Manning throw at Super Bowl XLIV, the field was wide open for the New Orleans Saints cornerback to run into.
Rather than just sprint into the end zone like bloody anyone could do, he makes sure to showboat en route to the six points which secured the Vince Lombardi Trophy for New Orleans.
5. The (almost) showboaters
With all the "Wahey!" and "Gewonn!" shouts that accompany a showboating touchdown, there's always that special place in the heart of NFL fans for the guy who simply hasn't mastered the art.
Step forward Leon Lett! The Dallas Cowboys' defensive tackle latched onto a fumble and started celebrating a tad too soon while on his way to the end zone.
Buffalo's Don Beebe soon put a stop to that by catching up with Lett and slapping the ball out of his hands for a touchback.
The blunder mattered little in the overall scheme of Super Bowl XXVII as Dallas went on to win comfortably by 52 to 17 but, still, we enjoyed it very much. Maybe a little bit too much if we're honest.
6. The National Anthem
Maybe not as tear-jerking to us on this side of the Atlantic but there are undeniably some renditions of The Star Spangled Banner that get goosebumps raised on a universal level.
One such instance of this came before Super Bowl XXV in 1991 in Tampa when Whitney Houston was given the honour and she didn't disappoint during what was a poignant time for the U.S.A. with the Gulf War reaching its conclusion.
Houston belted out our favourite version of the anthem and gave dozens of future performers, including this year's choice, Lady Gaga, some big shoes to fill.
7. The TD celebrations
We at SportsJOE hate the fact that the NFL is working harder each to day to dilute the amount of celebration that goes on after a player scores a touchdown.
We're all for the over-the-top celebrations. Who wouldn't be? The more creative and bizarre the better.
You might imagine, and you'd be on the ball for doing so, that we loved Santonio Holmes' celebration after his touchdown for the Steelers at Super Bowl XLIII.
After just managing to stay in bounds in the fourth quarter, Holmes revelled in his touchdown by mimicking LeBron James' pregame ritual of tossing chalk into the air.
8. The grandstand finishes
Who doesn't love an exciting finish to a game?
The Super Bowl has provided many late, late wins in its 48-year history but our favourite, by far, is the 49ers comeback victory over Cincinnati back in 1989.
At Super Bowl XXIII, San Francicsco found themselves on their own 8-yard line, trailing by 3 points with 3 minutes remaining.
49ers' quarterback Joe Montana led a drive all the way up to the Bengals' 10-yard line before connecting with John Taylor in the end zone with just 40 seconds remaining on the game-clock to give San Francisco the 20-16 win.
9. The unpredictability
Anything can happen on Super Bowl Sunday, which is why it is must-watch television.
Back in 2013, at Super Bowl XLVII, the power in the Superdome in New Orleans went out just as the second half got started.
The inconvenience took those at the stadium over thirty minutes to remedy which sullied an otherwise amazing game.
10. Hot-dogs y'all
If nothing else, the Super Bowl is the perfect excuse for us to pig out on some good, old-fashioned American food.
There's a reason most New Year diets only last the month of January, with sales of hot-dogs, chicken wings, burgers and Doritos expected to soar.
11. The astounding plays
At the end of the day, it's the football that matters and it's often left until the Super Bowl for the players to break out their best work.
And that's exactly what popped out of the top drawer of Eli Manning and David Tyree when they combined in the final 90 seconds of their victory over the New England Patriots at Super Bowl XLII.
The play, since dubbed "The Helmet Catch," saw Manning evade the sack from three Patriots' defenders before hurtling a ball in the direction of Tyree who secured possession by wedging the football against his helmet.
While it's unlikely that this was drilled at any stage on the practice field, the fact that it could be pulled off under such a pressure situation and set up a touchdown for Plaxico Burress that earned the Giants the Vince Lombardi Trophy makes it our favourite play in Super Bowl history. We're easily pleased.
12. The water-cooler moments
With over 100 million sets of eyes cast firmly on the game, the Super Bowl is the only thing on the lips of the workforce come Monday morning.
There have been plenty of memorable moments over the years that are discussed in canteens the world over at the start of the week but fewer more unforgettable than this doozy.
13. The heartbreak
As glorious an outing as it is for half the players who take to the field on the first Sunday of February, the other half are left with weeks of sleepless nights pondering the "what-ifs?"
You have to appreciate the heartbreaking moments of Super Bowls past if you're to understand the importance of the game.
Poor Scott Norwood probably hasn't slept since 1991 after he missed this field-goal attempt which would have won the game for his Bills.
After a surging drive up the field led by Buffalo QB Jim Kelly, Bills kicker Norwood was given the chance to clutch hero status with a 47-yard attempt that famously went "wide right," giving the Giants the victory.
14. Bucketloads of beer
We think this figure might throw you from your chair but, apparently, 50 million cases of beer are consumed in America on Super Bowl Sunday.
That's a helluva lot of alcohol but there's no reason why the Americans should have all the fun and we're sure that 6-packs of Coors Light and Budweiser will be flying off Irish shelves too come Sunday evening.
15. The iconic images
The single-most memorable image of the Super Bowl that is etched deep into our psyche is that of New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, who had predicted an upset at Super Bowl III over the Baltimore Colts, who were 18-point favourites.
Namath guided the Jets to a 16-7 victory over the Colts and, when leaving the field, wagged a solitary finger in celebration of the win.
16. The novelty bets
We're unaware of any sporting event on which you can place more ludicrous bets than the Super Bowl.
Such prop bets available this weekend include the result of the coin toss, the first song on Coldplay's half-time setlist and the jersey number of the first touchdown scorer.
17. The underdog wins
If there's anything that we've learned to expect over the past 48 Super Bowls, it's that anything can happen in this game.
It's that one time of year where the odds can essentially be scrapped because motivation often supersedes skill when the Super Bowl comes around.
Super Bowl XLII ended up in the biggest upset in the history of the game and one of the most shocking underdog victories in any sport when the heavily unfavoured New York Giants overcame the 12-point favourite New England Patriots by 17-14.
While Sunday's encounter should be competitive and a win for either side wouldn't shock anybody, the history of upsets just goes to show that anything can happen.
18. The half-time shows
The NFL have mastered the art of making the Super Bowl appeal to every member of the household and the oft-discussed half-time show is one of the main reasons that the fairer sex sit through the football nonsense.
With Coldplay set for the honour come Sunday night, they got some pretty big shoes to fill with the likes of U2, Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney all wowing crowds over the years.
The late, great Michael Jackson, though, gets our nod for the best one yet. Not only does his five-song strong setlist still hold up but it was ol' MJ who spawned the phenomenon of pop-stars taking centre-stage at half-time.
19. The amount of wasted Gatorade
All in the name of a good celebration and it's one of our favourite things to see as we wind down from an intense Super Bowl.
We can hardly think of anything in this wonderful world that's more enjoyable to see than a typically curmudgeonly man who's on the wrong side of middle-aged get drenched in a bright-coloured liquid à la Nickelodeon gameshows.
20. The action-packed games
It's all well and good picking out beautiful plays or disastrous errors, both of which provide us with fleeting glimmers of entertainment.
But it's the games that keep us gripped from opening kick-off to the final score that are what Super Bowl's are all about.
For fans of a certain team who reach the final two, a shutout is obviously the most desired result but, for the neutral, there's no better spectacle than seeing two quarter-backs at the top of their game trade touchdown passes to see who's the best.
We were treated to that in '78 at Super Bowl XIII when fierce rivals Pittsburgh and Dallas battled it out in a 35-31 victory for the Steelers but neither team could let their chin drop as they kept us neutrals on the edge of our seats throughout.
Pittsburgh's Terry Bradshaw and Dallas' Roger Staubach had seven touchdown passes between them as the Vince Lombardi Trophy was decided in the air in one of the greatest games in Super Bowl history.
21. The commentary
There are certain commentators who have the ability to sum up the sentiments of a player perfectly.
That was the case back in 1979 when Jackie Smith had all but secured possession of the football in the end zone only to drop it at the last second, denying the Cowboys a crucial touchdown.
Announcer Verne Lundquist encapsulated the mood perfectly by saying: "Bless his heart, he's got to be the sickest man in America!"
22. The storylines
Those Americans love a narrative don't they?
If the Super Bowl wasn't important enough to the millions of American football fans, the media are murder for spicing matters up even more by constructing an emotion-evoking storyline but sure there's nothing wrong with that either.
Whether it be Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith being the first African-American pair of coaches to bring opposing teams to a Super Bowl back in 2006 or "The Harbaugh Bowl" in 2013 when brothers John and Jim Harbaugh competed against each other, we all love an easy-to-digest story.
One of the main narratives ahead of Super Bowl 50 is the battle between the old school and new school of quarterbacks when Peyton Manning goes head-to-head with Cam Newton on Sunday night.