As the Big Game approaches, many myths about the Super Bowl are repeated. Year after year, fans, stockbrokers, politicians, and more wait in breathless anticipation for the outcome of the game.
Because even if you aren’t a fan of either team, the outcome seems to mean something, the grinding gridiron contest has a much wider effect on the world around it. Or does it? Here are seven myths about the Super Bowl you may not have known, and that may or may not be true.
1. Big Appetites
It is often reported in the media, even on mainstream news and sports sites, that Super Bowl fans will eat 14 billion hamburgers during the big game. If you have ever been to a sports bar during the game, this seems like it might be a real statistic. But it isn’t.
For this to be true, every American would have to eat 46 hamburgers. Even assuming that the entire world, even those without access to television or Super Bowl streaming options were glued to the game, they would have to be double fisting burgers.
Still another food myth says more than half of all avocados consumed annually in the U.S. are sold in the week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. But the Super Bowl accounts for just over 3 percent of annual U.S. avocado consumption says Jan DeLyser of the California Avocado Commission, first place goes to Cinco de Mayo, at around 5 percent.
Not that Americans don’t have big appetites during the game, order a boat load of pizzas, and drink gallons of beer. This myth is just as overinflated as Donald Trump’s opinion of himself.
The Super Bowl Flush Effect states that so many fans wait until halftime and the end of the game to get rid of that beer and pizza that the simultaneous flushing as a result does damage to the water systems and the environment, especially in the cities of the home teams.
While studies have shown large spikes in water usage and even emergency plumber calls following the game, the spikes have hardly caused damage. The New York post did report that following the Super Bowl XLVI in which the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots, the water level in the Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers dropped two inches during a 13 percent increase in water usage following the game.
3. Rooting for the Underdog
We all watch because the underdog has a chance to win, right? Well, a slimmer chance than we all thought it turns out. While your friend at work trying to get back at you for last year’s March Madness bracket where you devastated him might want to you believe the favored team will lose, the favorite has won 35 times out of 50.
The largest upset happened in Super Bowl III, which if you are a math guy is a long time ago, when Joe Namath famously guaranteed the outcome of the game on the Thursday before. He then led the Jets, an 18-point underdog, to a victory over the then Baltimore Colts. This year might be a little closer though, with the Patriots only favored by 3.
4. Heart Attacks
If it is a close game, and a team loses, there is often a spike in depression in the home city. But one study conducted in Los Angeles County in 1980 and 1984 when the home team won and lost respectively, showed that after a loss, there was a spike in heart attacks.
The jury is still out on this one, as no study since has proven the claim, mostly because another one has never been done. Still, it might be true, especially after all of the burgers and beer, and all the bets that might have been lost.
5. Bulls vs. Bears
No, this is not some odd blend of basketball and football. Instead, it is something called the Super Bowl Index or SBI. Originally part of a sarcastic article published in 1978 by Leonard Koppett, the rule was based on the first 12 Super Bowls, and indicated that if an AFC team won, the market would go down, and if the NFC triumphed, it would go up.
The joke turned out to have way too much truth to it, as the SBI has been accurate 40 out of 50 times, a better record than many brokers. While the Patriots may be favored, many on Wall Street are pulling for the underdog Falcons.
6. Going to Disney World
Believe it or not, the enchanted place is not deserted on Super Bowl Sunday as you might expect. I mean, February isn’t peak season, so visiting then might be a good idea, but according to park officials who won’t reveal attendance numbers, the park is still busy on Super Bowl Sunday.
There are big screen TVs where you can watch the game if you do go, but it might be cheaper to watch in the bar at Applebee’s.
While the game may seem like a very manly event, the Weekly World News, one of the top sources for alien and Bigfoot photos, cited a study by the University of Pennsylvania which showed that while the Super Bowl seemed to be often filled with testosterone,watching might not be good for “men’s health.”
Hard to believe? Indeed. Because no such study was ever done, and it turned out the typically reliable publication was in error.
Each year, myths about the Super Bowl abound, and it seems everyone is waiting for the outcome before planning the rest of their year. Many of these myths are false or exaggerated, but one thing you can always count on.
The commercials won’t all suck.
Read more of The Truth About Some Super Bowl Myths on Last Word on Sports.