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Monday, May 29, 2023


Hot Take Friday: The Champions League Final is better than the Super Bowl

The Champions League Final provides an experience like nothing America can produce. | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/user:Wdwdbot

This Sunday, most Americans will gather around a television and watch the most American event — the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl has become the pinnacle of American innovation and entertainment where the country puts its best foot forward in sports, culture and music.

We pride ourselves on a good game with good friends and good times. But, in sad fashion, Europe has beaten us at our own game. In reality, the Champions League Final is a head-over-heels better product than the Super Bowl has ever been.

The differences between gridiron football and association football are quite apparent. The American system focuses much more on solid grit and unbridled determination to physically humiliate an opponent by any means necessary, like America’s attitude toward the housing market.

Association football focuses more on teamwork and, in the modern game, counterattacks where the fullbacks relentlessly push their way forward. But that also creates some beautiful moments of defensive prowess.

Best of the best

For those wondering what in the world the Champions League is, imagine if all the best teams from the NFL, Canadian Football League and all other countries in North America came together to play a tournament. The best of the best. No losers allowed. The Browns would never be allowed in, and thankfully so.

The Champions League Final is usually the best soccer game in a year, except when the World Cup comes every four years. It is also the most-watched television event in non-World Cup years. It’s a big deal.

The Champions League Final has many advantages over the Super Bowl and not just when it comes to audience viewership.

The Champions

First off, the music for the Champions League is far better than anything Carrie Underwood has ever produced. It is sad that the same country that has produced such musical geniuses as Josh Groban, John Mayer and Taylor Swift cannot produce as beautiful a piece of music to open our most hallowed game.

It is integral to use music to market an event well. There is a regality to the Champions League song that inspires pride in the game. Many are moved to tears, just like listening to a Sam Hunt song but for different reasons.

Faster and better

Secondly, the game is usually more exciting as a whole. In football there can be quarters that are exciting, but it’s difficult to find a whole game where all the viewers feel fully engaged. This may just be a problem with football in general.

Objectively, soccer is a faster game. More happens at a quicker pace. While football has exciting moments, like UH’s own Case Keenum’s “Miracle in Minneapolis,” there will never be a Gareth Bale worldie with great buildup play.

$5M for 30 seconds

Third, the commercials. Let’s be honest, the commercials during the Super Bowl are not at all what they are hyped up to be. Truly take a second to think about the last Super Bowl commercial you really remember. I can pick out two from the past 10 years: the David Harbour meta ad and the Ram truck one.

Both of these are great commercials. But honestly, if I can only name two, then the commercials have failed miserably. Also, who buys products based on a commercial during the Super Bowl? And if you’re one of those people who talk during the game but shush everyone during the commercials, you are a trash human being.

At least during the Champions League Final you are aware you’re going to get Heineken and Turkish Airlines commercials.

Halftime slow

The real crime is that the only music that America gets happens during the halftime show. Gone are the days of Michael Jackson, of Prince, of U2’s beautiful tribute to the victims of 9/11. Now we have Maroon 5. If they were only playing from their album “Songs About Jane,” I would be fine. But we’re going to get about five renditions of “Girls Like You.”

Now, for those of you internally calling me a godless commie who should go back to Venezuela, and possibly a threat to national security, I should point out that I like football. A lot. The Texans let me down every year.

I played football, even if I was a terrible right tackle. But, objectively, I am more than able to realize the failings of the Super Bowl.

In the end it doesn’t matter

I’m still going to watch the Super Bowl, even if the evil empire wins again. The Champions League has its own evil empire, but Real Madrid lost Cristiano Ronaldo, so we can laugh at them like we will when Tom Brady leaves.

I’m going to enjoy the Super Bowl. It’s still a fun game. There’s just room for improvement.

The Super Bowl does have one thing the Champions League Final does not — better commentators. To be fair this is only true this year, but I am incredibly excited to hear Tony “Nostradamus” Romo predict every play before it happens. Bless you CBS and Jerry Jones.

Despite these differences, remember all the referees are still terrible. Even across the world, refs ruin everything.

Opinion Editor Jorden Smith is a political science and creative writing senior and can be reached at [email protected].

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