Okay. I admit up front that this is a bitch-n-moan piece. If you want something nice to read, check out something by Emily E. She’s always got something interesting to say.
Me? I was in a perfectly good mood (or as good as I can be) when I realized on Sunday morning that over eight hours of TV time would be pledged, sworn and dedicated to the Super Bowl that day. Eight hours, folks. To a football game. A game that should last no longer than 60 minutes. Um, Houston, we have a problem.
So, needless to say, I despise football. Not only do I agree with 8-year-old Lisa Simpson, who says football takes much needed funds from the arts and education, but the game is downright dull. Yawn, yawn, yawn! There are just too many breaks in the action.
What makes it even more frustrating is that not many people seem to realize what a waste of time, money and energy it is. Super Bowl Sunday is a lonely day for me. I’m a man alone on an island. I’m the only guy at a Tupperware party full of women. I’m Michael Moore at the Republican National Convention.
If my co-worker “Chris” put as much effort and toil into her job and organization as she does to watching sporting events (particularly football) she could have widened the Montano Bridge 10 times over and finished the work at Coors and I-40 in her spare time (and taken funds away from the pigskin to keep both projects under budget!). She’s a huge, HUGE Steelers fan, so she’s on cloud nine now. I find it laughable that it means so much to her, that the rest of the year’s happiness relies on that one game, starring her favorite (and winning) team.
Okay. So I don’t like Super Bowl Sunday. But I try to accentuate the positive. First, you get to watch some damn funny and inventive TV advertisements. I find them much more entertaining than watching a man with an oblong ball run head long into a charge of pumped, sweaty dudes in colorful tights (isn’t the guy with the ball supposed to avoid being tackled?).
Also, it’s a good excuse to hangout with friends and family, dip some chips and down some brews. If nothing else, it’s fun just to hang out and pretend to enjoy the game. It’s actually nice this way because those that don’t enjoy the game for real can get in some good gossip and enjoy junk food without guilt. And every now and then, pump their fists in the air at a first down and let the testosterone flow (whether they know what a first down is or not).
On top of that, it’s a great day to get some grocery shopping done, go to the Laundromat, or catch up on your Oscar screenings by visiting the nearest movie theater.
In addition, there’s some super cool technology used during the Super Bowl. Some of the camera shots seem to come from directly above the players, as if a camera is floating right over the middle of the field. They have some pretty neat replay gizmos, too. You can just about see the exact moment when someone’s bones break or when a touchdown is faked a la the-football-was-in-the-end-zone-not-under-my-belly.
But with eight hours of TV for one football game, it begs the question: where does all the money go? There’s ticket money, there’s ad money, there’s sponsor money, there’s network money. There’s money, money, money. Where does it all go? I mean, Pepsi isn’t spending millions of dollars for a 30 second ad for giggles.
Does it all end up in the wallets of a few old white guys who already have more money than the gross national product of Latvia? I’ve always thought that the money produced by the Super Bowl alone would be enough to wipe out poverty in New Mexico, if not most of the country.
The other question: how can they be the world champions when the deciding game doesn’t include any teams outside of the United States? How popular would the Super Bowl be if it was a global competition and in 2007 it was the Tokyo Samurai vs. the Brazil Nuts? At least with the Olympics there’s patriotism at stake and the pride of the United States.
Some suggest that the Monday following should be made into a national holiday. It’s estimated that some 1.4 million people call in “sick” to work the day after the Super Bowl. If it comes to that, if the United Stated declares a national holiday based on a football game, it would be the beginning of the end. We might just as well rename our country France Deux or New Boston, where THE marathon has been declared a holiday.
Of course, in the end, it probably isn’t worth the hassle of complaining. I’ve never liked the game of football, but the Super Bowl somehow makes it work okay. It’s gotten to be so much about the show that the game no longer matters. Now that’s entertainment.