Watchdog

Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

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Super Bowl draws more real fans in 21st century

Ray Anderson from Idaho enjoys Super Bowl

Ray Anderson from Idaho enjoys Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Credit: Newsday / Thomas Ferrara)

There is no question that in the 18 years since my first Super Bowl, the crowds have become louder and seemingly more full of actual fans than the dreaded "corporate types" for which the game long has been known.

As many observers - including Fox's Joe Buck - noted Sunday night at MetLife Stadium, the crowd was loud and engaged from the start - although obviously less so for Broncos fans as the game wore on.

I finally had an epiphany on why this might be as I stood in Penn Station watching wave after wave of fans in Seahawks attire pour out of the train from Secaucus.

Twenty years ago, a fan in Seattle who wanted to attend a Super Bowl here would have had to rely on tickets from a shady broker with a phone number in Connecticut and no guarantee of authenticity.

Thus tickets simply were not efficiently distributed into the hands of those who want them most - and to whom they would mean the most.

These days the secondary market has become so efficient that buying a ticket in Seattle for a game in New Jersey is a simple matter of deciding what price one can live with.

More so than ever, no matter from what entity a ticket initially is purchased, it often eventually ends up with someone willing to wear a team jersey to the game - and to cheer loudly for her or his favorites.

Mostly, that's a good thing - at least for the sake of an exciting in-stadium vibe.

Forgive me if this is not an original theory. Like I said, it occurred to me at 1 o'clock this morning and I didn't know what else to do with it so I thought I'd share it here.

Naturally, close games help keep stadiums rocking, and we didn't get that this time around. It reminded me a lot of my only Super Bowl as the beat writer covering one of the teams involved - Super Bowl XXXV, when the Ravens did to the Giants what the Seahawks did to the Broncos.

This game left me with a feeling similar to that one. On one hand, because of deadline pressures there is nothing better than an early blowout for writers trying to produce coherent stories for newspapers in a timely fashion.

On the other hand, after writing about a game every day for two weeks, it is more than a little depressing when it turns into a drama-free dud.

Oh, well. All good. On to the Olympics. Thanks for reading all of Newsday's Super Bowl coverage.

Tags: Super Bowl

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