Enter the Harbowl – Social Media Gives Life to the Super Bowl’s Greatest Stories


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Image via @SportsNation

Throughout the football season this year I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how much better sports is with social media.

One of the greatest things about professional sports is the stories created from the intense competition on the field and off. Fans the world over have been clinging to last second field goals and game ending Hail Marys since the early twentieth century. This passion for the game has created insanely loyal fans and communities who dedicate time, money, and precious emotional bandwidth to identify with a team and their fellow fans. Now we can share it all online with each other.

The NFL understood the power of their league’s stories early on, and their NFL Films division has helped to curate and craft the mythology and legendary status of the greatest teams, players, and games since the Sixties. Even the programatic nature of the Super Bowl makes each year a new event of it’s own. It’s not just the Super Bowl, it’s Super Bowl 47.

Social puts these stories under a microscope and into a megaphone at the same time.

Imagine the conversations that might take place on Facebook after Bart Starr scored the game winning touchdown in the Ice Bowl, the trolling in comment threads that would take place throughout Miami’s 17-0 Undefeated season, or if Joe Namath drunk-tweeted his famous quote “We’re going to win Sunday. I guarantee it.”

Enter the #Harbowl

What an unbelievably amazing story. Two brothers from a football family made it against the odds to become the first pair of brothers hired as head coaches in the NFL. Now they’re facing each other in the Super Bowl.

While this is sure to be another riveting chapter in the NFL’s long history book, it adds a slew of stories for us, the fans, to talk about online.

Already I have watched people reminisce about the most competitive battles they’ve had with their siblings, as well as conversations around the common theme that “coaching against your brother in the Super Bowl is just plain cool.”

The Harbaugh family is in the spotlight this month, and  thanks to the web we’re all able to share in their excitement.

Fandom has entered a new era.

Run a quick search for “Harbowl” on Google and you get 140,000 results. Try “NFL Blogs” and you’ll return more than half a billion. No longer are diehard fans limited to their local sports radio show or newspaper, the guys at the local bar, or a few channels on TV. Teams now employ their own reporters who cover the team from every angle on nearly every social platform, and outside of official media sources, there are more fan-founded blogs and forums than ever before.

Social Media (be that Facebook, Twitter or the millions of comments on sports sites all over the world) offers that tool for fans to converse in real-time unlike ever before.

So sign on, start talking about #SB47 and #Harbowl, and go Niners.

PS: I write this post as a fan of football and a fan of social, so let’s be social and discuss in the comments below. What’s your favorite Super Bowl memory?

Image via @SportsNation


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