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Super Bowl highlights curiosities—and injustices — in futbol americano

Excitement has been building among American football fans along the bumpy road to attain conference titles, especially in pockets such as Detroit, where euphoric Lions fans bit the cruel dust in their January 28 defeat by the San Francisco 49ers.

Now those victorious 49ers are set to contend against last season’s Super Bowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, in Super Bowl LVIII, Sunday, February 11, 5:30 p.m. Guadalajara time. 

pg6As the excitement has become generalized, and as a sign of the times, the U.S. football focus has shifted to a far-right conspiracy theory claiming Democrats will rig the Super Bowl for a Kansas victory and create the perfect stage for superstar Taylor Swift and her sweetie, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, to endorse President Joe Biden in the presidential election. 

But in Mexico, where fans of futbol americano distinguish themselves from the larger group of futbol/soccer enthusiasts, the focus has not shifted to Taylor Swift and Joe Biden. Still, football excitement in general here is pegged at heights that may surprise some—and is growing. After all, there are two leagues in Mexico, often highlighted by the playing of premier university, the “Tec” de Monterrey. And every year (except during the pandemic) an NFL International Series game has been played in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, where it enjoys excellent ratings. The NFL reports that there are more than 22 million NFL fans in Mexico (its total population is 127 million) and that the popularity of the league here is second only to Liga MX, the country’s top professional futbol/soccer league.

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