I realize comparing the Super Bowl to March Madness is apples to oranges. The Super Bowl is one game and the Tournament is a stack of games over three weeks. That difference isn’t enough to deter me from debating which is better as a sporting event however. The Super Bowl is obviously the biggest event. It has more eyes glued to the TV than any other sporting event or TV show during the year on an annual basis. Being the biggest and most popular doesn’t make it the best however. So I will go point for counterpoint to see if I can hash out which event is king of the sports world.
- The Super Bowl gets attention from the average sports fan as well as people who do not watch sports at all on any other day of the year. It is just a huge event much like a holiday. Grandmas, geeky teens, fashion models, and nuclear engineers are just as likely to see the big football game as a diehard NFL lifer. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament gets a lot of eyeballs each day it goes on, but most of these fans like basketball to some degree. The average Joe that has no use for the sport will not make an exception for March Madness. He may do some gambling on a bracket, but taking time to watch is a different story. Advantage Super Bowl.
- Since the Tournament has so many games there are more last second scenarios obviously. High drama is always a part of March Madness. From Bryce Drew, to Tyus Edny, to Christian Laettner, each year sees buzzer beaters galore. It takes lots of prayers from NFL fans to avoid the all too common blowout that will ruin the biggest gridiron event of the season. Advantage March Madness.
- The Super Bowl heroes are never forgotten. Scores may fade in the minds of average fans, but they don’t forget great Super Bowl performances. You don’t have to seek out an NFL expert to find out the top five Super Bowl performances. A decent NFL fan doesn’t forget big passing days or epic rushing displays that happen on the biggest stage in the world. Tournament heroes are remembered of course, but not in the same way. Early round heroics may be remembered for a calendar year, but unless you are ripping the hearts out of Kentucky in a later round, the name on the back of the hero’s jersey soon gets lost in the abyss. Advantage Super Bowl
- March Madness holds more true emotion from the players than the NFLers in the Super Bowl. I’m not as jaded as some fans who say pro athletes don’t care if they win or lose, as long as the checks clear. See Russell Wilson’s interview right after his Seahawks overcame Green Bay in the 2014 NFC Title Game if you think the pros don’t care. But in the Tournament, emotion is everywhere. The fans are jacked up from start to finish. The players know its do or die and many will never be on this type stage again. Many will never play another game of basketball that is watch by more than five people. March Madness is a chance for one last shining moment for guys who will soon join the real world of 9-5 jobs that suck the life out of them. Advantage March Madness.
- The NFL has a lot of problems. Roger Goodell is a prick. They had a big issue with domestic violence with well known players in 2014. Former players have suffered from brain trauma that led these players to take their own lives in horrific fashion. The league didn’t do much to bring attention to the concussion issue until they had no choice in the matter. Roger Goodell is a prick….worth repeating. Even with all those issues, and many are terrible, at least they pay their players to be in the Super Bowl. The Tournament brings in around $700 million dollars each year, yet the players / workers / indentured servants do not get a game check. That’s a great system if you are a maniacal character like NCAA President Mark Emmert who makes $1.7 million a year and sees nothing wrong with his “student athletes” playing for the love of the game and a free education. Perhaps this snake should work for free next year while taking whatever classes he would like with a free scholarship. Advantage Super Bowl.
- The Tournament can be enjoyed anywhere at anytime and doesn’t require one to be at the TV every second. You can watch at a loud bar and enjoy it just as much as a quiet night at home with the big screen. The Super Bowl will last a few hours and for me its important to hear the broadcast and be focused on the game. I know that’s not the case for the lay person who is just watching for the great game day food at the Super Bowl party, but this is my perspective, not some guy with hot wing sauce dripping on his khakis. Advantage Tournament.
- Game time. The Super Bowl starts at about 6:30 pm on a Sunday. The Tournament Championship Game is on a Monday night at around 9 pm. I know that folks at the NCAA don’t work real jobs and likely have like 84 sick days, but regular fans have to get up the next day to go to a real occupation. I can live with Monday night. It would be nice for an earlier tip off though. Most grownups that don’t have NCAA type careers based on the free labor of basketball stars. We need our sleep. Advantage Super Bowl.
I could go on and on, but it’s clear each event has its high points along with the low ones. The Super Bowl would be my choice as the best sporting event. But I am a diehard football fan so my view is slanted in the NFL’s favor. Even with that bias, March Madness isn’t far behind for me. One of my top five sports memories is Bo Kimble shooting left handed free throws in honor of his fallen teammate, Hank Gathers, in the Tournament of 1990.