By Art Beitchman
Many years ago, before the NFL became a conglomerate that breathes and dreams of more ways to get its billion-dollar count up, a couple of regular Joes could have a legitimate conversation that included:
“Let’s go to the Super Bowl to see the Eagles play.”
That discussion has many more zeros attached to it now.
I had my shot to go to Super Bowl XV back in 1981 with my buddy Bobby Sil. The face value of the ticket was $40 bucks, and with another $300 hundred in your pocket you could skate by for the 3-4-day trip, and come back with memories of a lifetime, even if your team didn’t win, which they didn’t.
Hanging out on Bourbon Street in New Orleans the Saturday night with wall-to-wall Eagles fans getting pumped up for the game was wild, especially with a 3-to-1 ratio advantage in fans compared with Raider fans! It was a celebration of a great season, coming off the NFC Championship game victory over the hated Dallas Cowboys 20-7, at bitterly cold Veterans Stadium.
Fast forward to Super Bowl 50, to be kicked off this Sunday in shiny new Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California. It’s still exciting to see America’s greatest sporting event take place with hundreds of millions around the world watching, but the corporate invasion has somehow taken away what the NFL championship game once was, and will never return to be.
With the enormous growth of the sport over the years comes ticket prices out of this world too: $1,000 face value for Super Bowl 50, the highest for one single sporting event.
It dawned on me that the vast majority of NFL fans in the U. S. have been shut out financially of ever seeing the Super Bowl live again — just one more reason to be happy for HDTV which couldn’t be more perfect to watch NFL football.