On Sunday January 5 most Americans who are not working the weekend shift, will tune into FOX and spend the evening (if not the whole day) watching the final game of that unique American sports: football. Last year 111 million Americans watched the Green Bay Packer beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
Who watches the Super Bowl?
Still, the Super Bowl is viewed mostly by North Americans. The game has an average television viewership outside the U.S. of only about two million people worldwide. Soccer and tennis enjoy a larger world audience. And the Olympics and the soccer World Cup, which happen only every four years, have a much wider world audience.
But this does not take away the from the fact that the audience watching the Super Bowl in the United States is representative of the world, with members of various generations of immigrants not just watching the game, but also playing the game.
Despite its anti-immigrant reputation, the population of the United States is made up of exactly that: immigrants. From the puritans who landed on Plymouth Rock to the most recent Mexican or Central American immigrant, we are a nation of diverse people from all over the world.
This is what makes this country great
Just look at the rosters for both the New England Patriots and the New York Giants and you can see the beautiful diversity that makes up the U.S. With last names like Hynoski, Koutouvides Herzlich, Petrus, Gostkowski, Ihedigbo and Cruz, the roots of a county made up of immigrants become obvious.
Just like Anglo and African-Americans make up the majority of the population of the U.S., they also make up the majority of the players in the teams. But many of those Anglos have ancestors who came here as immigrants from countries like Germany, Ireland and England. And we know the story of African-Americans and how they came to this country as unwilling immigrants.
The Super Bowl as a melting pot
This year’s Super Bowl has a closer resemblance to a Melting Pot. Players will include first and second generation immigrants from a variety of countries. Aaron Hernandez, a tight-end for the Patriots, is from Puerto Rico; Giant’s defensive end, Jason Pierre-Paul’s parents immigrated from Haiti in 1983; Croatian David Diehl is an offensive guard with the Giants; The Patriot’s safety Patrick Christopher Chung is Jamaican; and Prince Amukamara, a cornerback for the Giants, and the guy with the coolest name in the league – Sorry, Chad Ochocinco – is from Nigerian descent.
So when I kick back on Sunday to watch the final for this all-American sport, what people in other countries refer to as American Football, I will be watching a microcosm of immigrants doing what they do best: make this country great.