Students gathered in Ford theater this past Sunday, Feb. 3, to watch Super Bowl LIII. The game was a defensive slugfest from start to finish, with Los Angeles Ram’s quarterback Jared Goff and New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady combining for zero touchdowns and two interceptions. However, it was the 41-year-old veteran Brady who emerged triumphant, hoisting the Lombardi trophy for a record sixth time. Patriots receiver Julian Edelman took home the Super Bowl MVP award behind his 10 receptions for 141 yards. The Rams were unable to move the ball effectively, never entering the Patriots’ red zone and only scoring a lone field goal on 12 drives.
The dimly-lit Ford auditorium filled with cheers and applause whenever the Rams made a play, but the audience was more evenly split than the noise suggested. “I wouldn’t say I am rooting for any particular team in this year’s Super Bowl, but I am a fan of Tom Brady and I would like to see him win another ring,” said Willamette quarterback Mathew Castaneda(‘20).
In a season where the Patriots lost five times to opponents that didn’t make the playoffs and the emergence of 23-year-old MVP Patrick Mahomes, it seemed like the NFL was ready for a change of guard. While there will come a day where Brady and the Patriots are no longer regularly in the Super Bowl, they proved this past Sunday that that day is not yet here.
For the Willamette first-years who watch the Superbowl, this was their first year watching the game in a new atmosphere. First-year Daniel Smith said that back at home his “family normally goes to a Super Bowl party at his friend’s house, and there’s lots of food and fun and taunting between fans of the opposing teams.”
While plenty of taunting occurred, there was no food allowed in the auditorium. Combined with the absent lights and the rows of sloped seats, the atmosphere was more similar to that of a movie theater than a Super Bowl party. However, despite the changes, the party remained a fun, loud place where friends and acquaintances could gather to enjoy the big game together.
The Super Bowl drew interest from many non-football fans as well. First-year James Abraham said that while he does not enjoy football, he “loves the Super Bowl commercials, including last year’s Dorito commercial.”
In Ford, several new faces slipped in through the door just in time to watch Maroon 5’s halftime performance before disappearing again before the start of the third quarter.
The Super Bowl is ultimately just a game of football, but what it offers and what it means to people is much more than that. While Ford was not the typical place to have a Super Bowl party, it allowed Willamette students to watch the Super Bowl for the competition, the halftime performance, the commercials and most importantly, watch it all together as a community.