The Super Bowl is one of the most culturally significant — and bizarre — days of the year. Not much else can gather more than 100 million viewers in front of their televisions to bet on which song Rihanna performs first.
But do the actual players, those at the heart of the “festivities,” feel the same way? In the days leading up to the game, we asked several of the Philadelphia Eagles their thoughts on the unique phenomenon that is the Super Bowl.
“I mean, (it’s) just the physical nature of it, really, at the end of the day,” said Eagles tight end Jack Stoll, only to be immediately interrupted by fellow tight end Grant Calcaterra.
“Maybe that people watch it for the commercials? That is pretty crazy,” Calcaterra said. “A lot of people watch it because the commercials are good … I watch it for the football, but I’m just saying.”
Advertising costs during the Super Bowl broadcast hit record numbers this year, with 30 seconds costing $7 million, compared to $6.5 in 2022 and $5.5 two years ago. For that price, fans should certainly expect a show from their ad breaks.
And while for some, the accouterments associated with the Super Bowl are the most bizarre, for others, such as the Eagles place kicker Jake Elliott, the Super Bowl feels like a holiday. Even though Elliott said he wasn’t a “huge NFL fan” as a child, the day felt akin to Thanksgiving or Christmas as he found himself at Super Bowl watch parties year in, year out.
“You’d truly have watch parties with everybody and it becomes a holiday,” Elliott said. “The whole world kind of shuts down for a day.”
With the day being, as Elliott described it, a “big show,” he said it was sometimes even hard to gather that there was a football game going on at all. The key, he said, is remembering to stay focused.
And focused he was: Despite the plethora of possible distractions on game day, Elliott still made two field goals and completed three extra points, accounting for nine out of 35 points the Eagles scored that day.
Fanfare aside, the culture that surrounds the teams can prove equally jarring. The energy Eagles fans bring was a culture shock for wide receiver Britain Covey, who was signed by the team as an undrafted free agent last year.
“Sometimes ‘passion’ is a word that is used when, really, it’s ‘obsession,’ ” Covey said. “Honestly, I love the fact that our fans are obsessed, because I know a lot of friends in the league whose fans are more apathetic, and you’d way rather have obsession than apathy.”
That energy certainly swelled ahead of the Super Bowl LVII, the Eagles’ fourth Super Bowl appearance and first since their 2017 win.
And while there are many players on a roster, no one is under more of the spotlight than the quarterback. For Eagles QB Jalen Hurts, it’s important to remember that, with such a spotlight, he finds himself in a position of influence.
“Every time I go out there I want to give them my all, give my all to everyone that’s watching — the kid that’s watching, wherever they’re from — put on a show for them and give them someone that they can look up to and be encouraged by,” Hurts said in a press conference.
He certainly didn’t crumble under the pressure. Despite the Eagles’ loss, Hurts set the record for most yards rushed by a quarterback in the Super Bowl: 70. He beat the previous record of 64, set by Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair when Hurts was just one year old, all while tying the Super Bowl record for most points scored in a single game — 20.
Managing to unite football fanatics and casual onlookers alike is an impressive feat. Even though the Eagles were unable to secure the win, their efforts sure made for an exciting game.