PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Americans are used to all this hype about the Super Bowl.
But what about athletes in central Illinois who are not from the United State? Actually, it seems they are into this Super Sunday hype too.
Ville Tahvanainen/BU player from Finland: “As soon as I got here, all my teammates were watching football so I got into it,” said Bradley basketball player Ville Tahvanainen, “I’m very excited about football. I’ve watched a lot over the past couple years.”
Tahvanainen is from Finland. His teammate Rienk Mast is from The Newtherlands, where soccer is king.
Even he is hooked on the National Football League.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve been a big fan,” Mast said. “Before I got here, I didn’t know any of the rules (of football) but over the four years, I would say I’m not an quite an expert but I know quite bit about the game.”
While the European players at Bradley seem to be clued into football and the Super Bowl, that’s not the case with all the international athletes in central Illinois.
“To be honest I’m not really a big fan of football,” said ISU basketball player Alex Kotov, who’s from Moscow.
He’s been in the U.S. about six years.
“I know the rules so I understand what’s going on. But we don’ have football in Russia, we play rugby,” Kotov explained. “So coming form Russia, I’m not very interested.”
The players at both Bradley and ISU say they’ll be watching Sunday’s game with varying degrees of interest.
And then there’s the plight of someone like Ed Hammond, the radio announcer for the Bradley women’s basketball. He’s a huge Kansas City Chiefs fan and has to work a game on Sunday.
“That’s the first thing I look at when the conference schedule comes out. Are we playing at home on the Super Bowl?” Hammond said.
Sure enough, the Bradley women host Missouri State on Sunday.
“It’s a 2:00 game, should be over by around 4:00,” said Hammond. “By the time we do postgame (interviews) and pack-up, I should be home in time for the game.”
Finger crossed for Hammond. He’s hosting a family watch party and says he can’t be late.