Before it is anything else, before it’s even a football game, the Super Bowl is first and foremost a two week entertainment festival for the rich and shameless: a corporate Woodstock with suits and sports cars subbing for ponchos and patchouli. Less free love and drugs, more hookers and scotch.
I agree. My response to the title question is, Empire stole the soul. A game is a game, but an Empire doesn't just have games, it has spectacles composed of gladiators, bread, and circuses. The Roman poet Juvenal's comment in his work "Satire X" stil rings true 2000 years later:
"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_and_circuses
the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time
handed out military command, high civil office, legions - everything, now
restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things:
bread and circuses ."
The Super Bowl spectacle is nothing different in psychological substance than the spectacles of the gladiators. It is no coincidence that professional football games take place in colosseums. NASCAR, the other top drawing audience "sport", is nothing more than a Circus Maximus, the greatest of the Ben Hur style chariot races of the Roman hippodromes. Some modern racetracks are still called hippodromes.
The American Empire relies on the Super Bowl to create a great fantasy of conflict as a diversion from the real conflicts going on in the Empire. Offered by the owners of America the Super Bowl is a diverson from their manipulations and control of society. As George Carlin said, "The owners of this country know the truth: its called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." The Super Bowl is intended to put people to sleep so they can continue to dream the American dream.
Personally engaging in a game of sport, either in a pick-up game or a community league, for exercise, fun, and fulfillment is one thing, but the entertainment spectacle is quite another. Everyone of us who participates in the spectacles of sport putting the millions into the pockets of the plutocrats who present the entertainments instead of toward eradicating poverty, can comfort ourselves knowing that we are, as Juvenal pointed out, "abdicating our duties" as a democracy of the people, by the people and for the people.