F*ck Your Super Bowl . . .
Well, my long nightmare is all but over. Another NFL season is almost behind us.
The Gladiators of the Gridiron are just 48-ish hours away from staging Super Bowl 49 (you can jam the roman numerals all the way out of the sun's light) and I, for one, could not be more thrilled at this brazen demonstration of our short, collective attention spans.
Remember wayyyyyyy back in August and September when people were "mad" at the NFL? When they were "outraged" at a league that told a player to sit down for just two weeks for knocking a woman unconscious in public? We called for the commissioner's head on a platter. We vowed to protest and not watch games. We swore that advertisers would need to pull their money if they still wanted us to buy their crap. We were soooooo upset. For about twelve seconds. By early-October the games were gathering record audiences, Congress had canceled any plans for reviews or hearings, the Commissioner was back to work, the ads and brands were renewing contracts, the Super Bowl spots were sold out, and the tickets were too.
What happened, America? You know what else has happened since mid-August when the NFL started its pre-season action? 22 active players have been arrested. That's almost one per team. 52 have been arrested since the Super Bowl last year. There have been over 20 documented on-field concussions and likely three or four times that many that have gone unreported. Seven players have failed drug tests. Fourteen have been on trial and/or in court.
Now I know, I know . . . there are 70 players per roster and 32 teams in the NFL (2,240 active players) so these numbers are drops in the bucket but if 1% of our teachers were arrested . . . would you still want them in a classroom? If 1% of our cops were abusing their power . . . would you still want them carrying badges? If 1% of your food had hair in it . . . would you still eat at that restaurant?
Nope. We would protest and call for firings and we would abstain and we would riot. All justifiably so, I might add. Yet here we are - as a nation who claims to love and value all people equally - watching a sport that is based on violence and aggression and we cheer for teams that we don't even really care for (even if you are a fan of a team - you have a 1:16 chance of YOUR team being involved in this game). And the worst part? We call these players "bums" and "cheats" and "losers" more than we call them anything positive. We feel entitled to their pain and suffering. We offer them nothing in exchange. The team owners don't really, either. Statistically the only thing players get is union coverage after retirement for insurance (and as we saw this season those coverages are weak at best) and perhaps a role doing some speaking or singing autographs for money. Mind you the average player leaves the league at age 27. Many with no other skills that are directly applicable to the work force.
I'm a downer, right?! You just want to enjoy this Sunday?! Let's talk about that . . .
Sure, sure, sure . . . you "must" see the ads. Ain't you got no Interwebs?! ALL the Super Bowl spots are already available online. Here is one (of many) dumping grounds for them. They are also getting increasingly disconnected from the products they sell and carry less and less value to the brands they push. You can hire someone at $40,000/year and pay them for 100 years (or hire 4 people at $40,000 for 25 years) for the cost of ONE spot at the Super Bowl. And that doesn't include the (perhaps) million or so more spent to write, produce, edit, etc. the spot. Enjoy your chuckle at the cute puppy dog doing human things.
You like the Americana of it all? Excited for Idina Menzel's take on the National Anthem? That's got you pumped for the Sunday fun? Sure, sure. We have not had a chance to see her sing that song on national television since JULY. More over - whatever lip syncing she does will be to something recorded weeks ago (you think she's going to risk getting hammered again like she did when she warbled on New Year's Eve? c'bawnnnnsuhn!). That being said - she does have a beautiful voice - hear it here (and/or buy the Super Bowl version on iTunes (it will be available by the time the game is over):
The other music performance got you interested? Yes! Katy Perry. The super talented Katy Perry. I'll bet that little pixie is planning fun, fun, fun. She said as much. See all the (zzzzzzz) hype here. She's got 12 minutes to share the stage with Lenny Kravitz and Red Hot Chili Peppers (because G-d forbid we don't bring some of the 90s back in to the mix) and to shake her juggs while claiming that sexuality is in no way her calling card. Look up to her, young girls. She's a role model for sure.
What's that? Oh. You enjoy the GAME!?! All five hours of it?! Really?! You do? I wish I could love ANYTHING enough to give five hours of my life to it while not being active in the process and getting literally nothing in return - and having that thing not matter at all anyway. It is a game. The world spins exactly the same after as before.
You're a die-hard Seattle Seahawks and/or New England Patriots fan? Sure. I'll buy that. Why not? But I'll bet that, statistically, you are more interested in the Patriots losing more than either team winning. Apparently the years and years of strength of the team despite their crunchy exterior (and the (alleged) murderer they had on the team and the cheating and video cameras and ball adjustments (giggle)) have lead to some hard feelings among fans of the game. Very mature of you. How is your grudge against VHS for what it did to beta holding up? You wanna talk about it? Want a hug?
Here's the truth - MOST Americans "love" the Super Bowl because we feel like we haven't had a good excuse to get together as a a group, get drunk, and eat too much since December 31st and 33 days is TOO long to not have such a reason for such an experience.
And I would agree. Seriously. We should all spend more time together and enjoy each other and have fun but know what we should NOT do? Do it in such a way that empowers a corrupt organization that makes billions off the efforts of men who are shortening the length and quality of their lives for your entertainment to point and say "See, the people LOVE us. We must offer them this product."
Don't watch the Super Bowl this year. Turn it off. Do ANYTHING else. If enough of us admit we don't actually care about the spectacle or the sport or the pops and buzzes that come along with it . . . if enough of us take back our five hours and put it toward any other pursuit. If ENOUGH of us do it - perhaps the league will feel a little pain and perhaps we can have a real conversation. I doubt it but . . . maybe.