Canadian Connections to Super Bowl

Canada is linked to Super Bowl XLIX in ways that go beyond Luke Willson and Jon Ryan:

The two teams competing in Super Bowl XLIX are also the two most popular NFL teams in Canada. The Patriots topped the NFL International Fan Engagement Tracker’s recent survey regarding the most popular teams in Canada. Tom Brady’s #12 is also the best selling NFL jersey in Canada. Buoyed by a Super Bowl victory and an avid fan base in Vancouver, the Seattle Seahawks became the most popular team in terms of Canadian merchandise sales for the first time ever.

Jon Ryan, the Seahawks punter, played football at Sheldon-Williams Collegiate in Regina Saskatchewan and then at the University of Regina. He made the jump from the CFL to the NFL in 2006 and has been with the Seattle since 2008.

Lasalle Ontario’s Luke Willson, a 6’5, 250-pound tight end with the Seahawks, was Seattle’s fifth round draft pick in 2013 (Rice University). Willson played both baseball and football at St. Thomas Villanova high school near Windsor. He even played on Canada’s national junior baseball team and was drafted by the Blue Jays, but chose to pursue football.

Luke Willson isn’t the only player at this year’s Super Bowl who was drafted by a Canadian Major League Baseball team. New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady’s ability as a catcher led to his being drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 18th round of the 1995 Major League Baseball draft.

The province of New Brunswick has a unique connection to the Patriots. In April, 2012 New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski visited Nelson Rural School in Miramichi, New Brunswick as part of the NFL’s Take a Player to School program. The following year Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder visited Centreville Community School, also in New Brunswick. Both visits were the results of a random draw.

Chicken wings play a starring role when Canadians host Super Bowl parties. Pinty’s, an Ontario based Canadian company that has been supplying and processing chicken wings since 1943, sells more than 250,000 pounds of wings across Canada during Super Bowl. This amounts to a total of more than 11 million wings which, if stacked end to end, would cover 7,575 NFL sized football fields.

Boston Pizza also sees a significant spike in chicken wing sales at its 350 Canadian restaurants during Super Bowl. The chain will sell over 16,000 pounds of wings on Super Bowl Sunday – the equivalent of approximately 50 offensive linemen. On Super Bowl Sunday the chain typically sells 50% more chicken wings than any other Sunday throughout the year.

Along with demand for chicken wings, the Super Bowl also causes a rise in NFL interest among Canadian females. NFL research shows that interest in the NFL among Canadian females increases close to 40 per cent during Super Bowl.

According to CTV and RDS, Super Bowl XLVIII was the most watched broadcast of the past two years, with more than half of all Canadians watching some or all of the broadcast.

Many Canadians are channelling this interest into unique Super Bowl promotions. This Fall The Doritos® Crash The Super Bowl program #crashthesuperbowl invited fans to submit a homemade, 30-second Doritos® brand commercial to potentially air during the broadcast for Super Bowl XLIX. Two of the ten finalists (selected by Doritos®) are Canadian. “Selfish Sneezers” was submitted by Vancouver’s Devon Ferguson . “When Pigs Fly” was submitted by another BC resident – Graham Talbot from Maple Ridge .

Leading up to Super Bowl, Duracell uses 159K batteries to power NFL games all season long. 195M batteries @ about 2 inches (50mm) each cell if lined them up they would create a 8,695 yard battery line or the length of 87 Football Fields back-to-back. It would take Canadian Seahawk Punter Jon Ryan almost 200 punts to go from one end to another (based on his 44.1 yard average).

Party City is offering more Super Bowl related items online and in its stores than ever before. In addition to staples like tablecloths and decorations, unique Homegating items include ‘brands’ for burning team logos onto hot dogs, wine bottle holders fashioned from face masks, and team or Super Bowl Logo candy molds.