Fact #3: The Super Bowl is one of the three true American national holidays.


Christmas? Too Christian (and pagan). Hanukkah? Too Jewish (and forced into greater significance by Christmas in The West). Then Halloween's just kid stuff and drunkenness, St. Patrick's Day's just Irish stuff and drunkenness, and most everything else can't broadly connect with all Americans because it's from a specific religion or from a greeting card sales scheme not everyone can stomach.


Only three big holidays captivate all Americans, because they spring directly from America's self-image: Thanksgiving ("we are grateful for getting to take over this continent"), the 4th of July ("we are grateful for getting to run this continent however we want"), and the Super Bowl ("look how awesomely we're running this continent!").


The Super Bowl is a celebration of how much ass-kickery one country can accomplish with a mix of capitalism, democracy, and overwhelming superiority. Watch the clashing millionaire athletes, behold the works of the mighty corporate advertisers, and make sure you don't miss the Blue Angels flyover that can only be accomplished with money, might, and unparalleled discipline in flying.

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Like any holiday, the Super Bowl experience is expected to be a gathering with friends to eat a lot of food. Super Bowl Sunday is the #2 eating day in America's year after Thanksgiving. It's really the biggest thing on the calendar between the December holidays (if you even celebrate those) and summer's valuable vacationing and fireworks-launching.

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And if you see the Super Bowl in its proper context as one of the Big Three American holidays, OF COURSE Justin Timberlake briefly partially flashing Janet Jackson's breast at a television audience demanded a Congressional hearing. It was the equivalent of some celebrity coming into your house and briefly partially flashing her breast at your grandma, at the Thanksgiving dinner table, which is an experience you'd wish never happened.


Anyway have a great Super Bowl this year, whether you're a Ravens fan, a 49ers fan, or just a fan of celebrating America's most important traditions. It's a stunningly important event to this country, and it's only getting more central to what ties us all together. If nothing else, it's the Sunday when Americans consume approximately 1.3 billion (WITH A B) bottles of beer.