3 Super Bowl books to celebrate the 50th anniversary

The drama of the National Football League’s “one game for all the marbles” championship game is a TV spectacle, but for in-depth retrospectives of what has occurred during its first 49 years, these recent releases are hard to beat.

1. ‘Sports Illustrated Super Bowl Gold: 50 Years of the Big Game,’ by the editors of Sports Illustrated

It only stands to reason that when Sports Illustrated puts all its journalistic resources to bear into producing a history of the Super Bowl, the result will be an all-star effort by writers, photographers, editors, and designers. This hefty coffee-table book certainly lives up to expectations. If contains reviews (excerpted from the magazine) of each Super Bowl. The value added comes in the form personal recollections of two players of on opposite sides of every Super Bowl along with a sidebar of fun facts, such as the cost of tickets and memorable quotes. 

While the game-by-game replays form the guts of the book, two highlights come at the edges: 1) the impressionistic memories Peter King, SI’s leading pro football expert, shares from the 31 Super Bowl’s he’s witnessed; and 2) a formulated ranking of the first 49 Super Bowls from best to worst based on how thrilling they were. Topping the list is Super Bowl XLII played in 2008 when the New York Giants ruined New England’s bid for a perfect season. At the bottom of the ratings is Super Bowl XXXV, in 2001, when the Giants dominated the Baltimore Ravens, 34-7.

Here’s an excerpt from Sports Illustrated Super Bowl Gold:

“The salute to patriotism and the military blends seamlessly with the homage paid to capitalism, embodied by the compound of corporate tents that spring up around every Super Bowl. The parties therein are sprinkled with celebrities, many delivered by private jet, in the days before the game. To behold the halftime show, and the keenly anticipated, in-game TV commercials – a de factor film festival unto itself – is to understand how fully this hypertrophied unofficial holiday has pulled the planets of the media and entertainment into its gravitational field.”

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