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TIME-SHIFT

How to watch the Super Bowl later without learning the score

Jan 30, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; The Vince Lombardi Trophy and helmets for the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams are displayed before the Roger Goodell press conference in advance of Super Bowl LIII at Georgia World Congress Center.
REUTERS/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/File REUTERS/Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/File
Save the suspense.
By Steve Mollman
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

This weekend millions of NFL fans will enjoy the Super Bowl. But not everyone can watch the game live. Some are stuck with a late weekend shift. Others might work in a city where the Sunday kickoff time of 6:30pm ET is rather inconvenient—that’s already Monday morning in Tokyo (8:30am) and Sydney (10:30am).

For these fans, it’s still possible to watch the full game, or extended highlights, later—say, Monday after work in Hong Kong. But it’s far more enjoyable to do so without knowing the score. The challenge, then, is somehow getting through the day while avoiding news of the outcome.

That isn’t easy. Media outlets, understandably, consider the Super Bowl score news, and they report it as such. This practice wasn’t much of an issue in decades past. If you missed the game live, you missed the game period, and were probably eager to know who won. Now, of course, technology means fans can watch the contest anytime, whether it’s via a recorder like TiVo or an on-demand service like NFL Game Pass.

Movie reviews, by contrast, never give away an ending (or at least they shouldn’t). Imagine if a review of 1999’s The Sixth Sense starring Bruce Willis had given away that… oh wait, never mind, you might be looking forward to seeing that for the first time.

But if you’re planning to watch the Super Bowl for the first time on, say, Monday night in Asia, good luck getting through your work day without learning the score.

One solution, of course, is to lose interest in the sport. Then you won’t care either way. You could also turn away from the game for ethical reasons, as it’s becoming increasingly clear that, among other issues, NFL players do serious damage to their brains during their careers. You could also avoid every source of news and anyone who might be prone to discussing the game. Or skip work.

If none of those options is realistic, and you inadvertently learn about the outcome too early, you can still enjoy the game by shifting your expectations. The suspense won’t be about who won, but about how they won—not quite as exciting, but intriguing in its own way.

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