As someone who used to work at a sports bar, I understand the chaos that occurs during the Super Bowl. I had the pleasure of working at Buffalo Wild Wings as a waitress in Chicago in 2007 when the Bears made it all the way to that last game. This was the first time in 21 years that our team made it, and boy did I underestimate the amount of excitement that was in store for me when I walked through those doors.

I was being high-fived and hugged by complete strangers as I tried to deliver mozzarella sticks, our usually-quiet phone systems were ringing off the hook, the wings were taken out of my hands before I even set down the plate, and I was hit several times with blowup footballs that my managers so kindly gave away to one of my tables. Needless to say, the sport has a following in North America.

Literally. The sport has a huge following on Twitter. Not only do the majority of the players and announcers have their own personal Twitter accounts, but the National Football League (NFL) has its own account with roughly 2,799,121 followers. In other words, social media has a big impact when it comes to the reputation of the game. Twitter works like a domino effect: The NFL could tweet something, and then one of their followers tweets it to their followers, and so on and so forth.

Fan and player interaction

Defensive Justin Tuck of the New York Giants. Image via nfl.com

As with any other big TV event these days, social media gives fans an opportunity to interact with others watching the game. This makes it more fun. When I think about my uncle who lives in a house with four football-hating women (even the dog is a girl), I think about how much he enjoys being able to trash-talk on Twitter. It’s a way for fans to connect (and compete) with others who are watching the game in a different place.

The interaction between fan and player has also changed, as players now have the ability to talk directly with fans via their personal accounts. For example, New England Patriots’ superstar quarterback Tom Brady can explain to fans (after the game) that the reason he fell at a pivotal moment is that an opponent grabbed his facemask. So social media is also an opportunity for athletes to maintain their own personal brands.

Watching it for the ads

Finally, we have those advertisements to discuss. Brands have been leveraging the Super Bowl, America’s biggest TV event, for years with blockbuster commercials and special Super Bowl deals. But brands have also begun to increase their social media efforts before, during, and after the game.

A scene from one of the five competing Doritos Super Bowl ads

Budweiser ran a campaign on Facebook that asks fans to guess Super Bowl scores and answer Super Bowl trivia in order to win special deals.

Pizza Hut bought a “promoted tweet” for #ReadySetHut so that Twitter followers would consider buying their product for the big game. Meanwhile, both Doritos and Pepsi let fans vote via Facebook on which commercial would air during the game.

In other words, whether or not you’re a fan, there are plenty of good reasons to watch the Super Bowl.

Check out our roundup of this year’s best Super Bowl ad campaigns.