There will be fumbles, interceptions, missed passes, short kicks, thrown flags, five-yard penalties and play-ending sacks. During each, you will feel the loss as if it were your own, screaming at the screen, lambasting the ref and cursing the offending players. You will jump from your seat with a beer in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other; you will be emotional, stressed, irate and, if you aren’t careful, on the verge of a heart attack.
An intense game for an intense fan can dramatically increase the risk of a cardiovascular event. When German researchers analyzed the number of heart-related emergencies that occurred during the 2006 World Cup Series (in which Germany placed third), they found that German men watching their team play had a risk three times higher than normal. German women experienced an 82-percent increase. The heightened risk was at its highest when the match was particularly dramatic, reaching its peak during a quarterfinal game in which Germany beat Argentina in a penalty shootout. The energy, anxiety and excitement of the game were such that the fans’ hearts couldn’t stand up to the pressure. The same will likely be true on Sunday, during the Patriots/Giants game.
If you are a diehard New England or New York fan and are already feeling the stress of the Super Bowl, you may want to keep your heart in mind come Sunday afternoon. By no means am I suggesting that you skip the game – that alone could kill you – but do try to remain calm, no matter what is happening on the field. Breathe through the idiotic calls and “anyone could have caught that” misses. And while you’re at it, ease up on the beer and artery-clogging foods. The three together could be a heartbreaking combination.