It’s getting near impossible for the average red blooded American football fan to stomach watching the Super Bowl. The NFL was once among the last bastions of no-nonsence, smashmouth competition, along with hockey and divorce court. A place where three yards and a cloud of dust thrilled, and the natural laws as layed down by the almighty Vince Lombardi declared that winning wasn’t everything, it was the only thing.
But does anyone really care who wins the Super Bowl anymore?
‘Sure, only 500 million fans watched the game last year. Ain’t that enough Mr. malcontent ?’ You may say.
Correction, 500 million people watched some portion of the Super Bowl broadcast. The vast majority paid no attention to the game. They watched the pregame, they watched the half time show, and most of all they watched the commercials. And let’s get something straight, most of these people are not football fans either. They are sycophants searching for the latest trendy event to be a part of, hangers on to the grubby halo of hype that’s now all but obscured the contest.
Of course, it’s the fault of the game itself. In the ’80’s and ’90’s, the NFC so thoroughly dominated the hapless AFC that the fat lady could usually be heard warming up during the coin toss. It was an era that saw the birth of a new NFL dynasty in San Francisco, the rebirth of an old one in Chicago, and the coining of the title, ‘Greatest choker in sports,’ with its trophy informally known as the ‘Kelly’, inspired by the futility of the Buffalo Bills.
If football is war, the Superbowl then was WWII, September 1939, the Germans overunning the Poles. It was basically a slaughter, a turkey shoot and a turkey shoot is not generally an interesting spectator sport. There’s just no mystery concerning the outcome. Everyone loves an underdog-very few find watching a cow getting brained between the eyes with a mallet prior to the hamburgering process entertainment.
So the NFL brass were in a big bind with their TV masters. How to keep the Nielsen’s up on a foregone conclusion? Neither were the fat cat advertisers willing to sit on their fat rears and place their fate solely in the hands of the League that had clearly demonstrated its inability to consistently stage a sure fire, down to the wire production. So we were given seeming endless pregame hype, garish, lipsynced halftime performances that would make the most shallow MTV adolescent snort in indolent disgust, and unbelievablely lowbrow commercials so utterly tasteless that frat boys where known to squeemishly belch up stale Superbowl Sunday eve party beer upon witnessing them.
How far things have de-evolved since 1984 and Apple’s Macintosh introduction commercial, widely regarded as the best TV ad ever made. A parody of George Orwell’s masterpiece that never even showed the product. A great slice of pop culture that initiated the awful events that brought us to where we are today.
No one can argue that last year didn’t hit a new abysmal nadir with Janet’s wardrobe malfunction and Budweiser’s flatulent horse, Seinfeld ripoff. The hard sell of erectile dysfunction products evey thirty seconds caused uneasy embarrassment to most normal fans. Your average porn star probably appreciates the professional advantages of 36 hour Cialis. Hawking the stuff at supper time to an audience, a large percentage of which is families, only served to prompt countless redfaced, hamhanded ‘birds and the bees’ narratives around dinner tables.
Sadly, the Superbowl should now be rated TV-MA. And there’s no respite in going out on game day. True fans now sullenly find their favorite watering holes overrun by know-nothing faux football faithful who haven’t the foggiest idea how many games there are in the regular season (there are sixteen), who girlishly giggle over game terms like tight end and spread formation, and who all invariably speculate loudly several times during the minute portion of the game they actually pay attention to, that the quarterback and center must be very close friends. I wonder what Lombardi would think of today’s sissyfied gone Hollywood spectacle?
In my season kickoff commentary I picked the Eagles to win the Superbowl. You may not believe this as there is no actual physical evidence of this commentary’s existence since it was never printed. It was lost in the chaos of Hurricane Ivan’s approach and was never made it to the page, although the sports editor can verify my pick. At any rate, so far so good-I’ll stick with my preseason prediction.