In a recent USA today Story it was suggested that catastrophic sports losses may be a cause of increased cardiac events, particularly during the Super Bowl. The example given was the spike in heartattacks and other cardiac issues in Los Angeles County after the 1980 Super Bowl between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams . The game was a close back and forth affair, as the Los Angeles Rams blew a half time lead to lose in its only appearance in the Super Bowl (at least as the Los Angeles Rams)
Now generally, watching football games live are better than watching Football games at home but one exception is the quintessential Super Bowl party. There are massive amounts of beer, massive quantities of processed foods like chips, hot dogs and Doritos that make even the skinniest person feel like crap. Combining that gluttony with the emotions of the Super Bowl, particularly if your favorite team is playing, can make you feel all of the emotions from happiness to heartache to indigestion. Don’t forget all of the gambling that takes place too. From the lines, to the friendly $20 squares game, everyone has something to win and lose while watching the big game. But to blame football games for lack of heart health and a spike in heartattacks goes a little overboard. It’s not these close games and the rabid fan bases that are causing a spike in health issues. It’s the overeating of these crappy foods, together with the consumption of that 12 pack of Budweiser that’s causing all of these cardiac issues. You have a bunch of overexcited fat guys pounding down meat sandwiches like they’re peanuts. If you had them run a 100 yard dash, instead of watching a Super Bowl, the same spike would occur, I’m sure. I know that that has happened to me, after that third sausage, I probably couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs, much less watch an emotionally charged game.
All in all, I think we should place the blame where it really should lie – not on a team’s performance (like the Rams in this case) – but rather on the those great American traditions, gambling and gluttony.