Well, it’s that time of the year again. The most watched television event of the year, Super Bowl XLVI. Or 46, for non-Romans. Anyway, it’s a rematch from 2007, the New England Patriots face off against the New York Giants, and seemingly no one outside New York or Boston really cares. We saw this game before, with horrifying results, and no one was impressed then. The real trouble begins when the three best teams, the teams people wanted to see in this game, all lost horrible games in the playoffs. I’m talking about the New Orleans Saints, the Green Bay Packers, and the San Francisco 49ers, three ultimately better teams that just couldn’t hack it against the New York Giants, whom, if you’ll remember, barely won as many games as they lost in the regular season.
But I suppose that’s the nature, and point, of the post-season. You have to win big in big games, or go the fuck home. The 49ers, Saints, and Packers failed horribly to do this, so they indeed went home. But what did it mean to the rest of us? It meant we got a Super Bowl rematch that no one really wanted, and few outside of New York or Boston really cared about.
On to the NFL itself. With their smart-ass “We do this for you” ads, who the fuck do they think they’re joking? Not one of the people that paid $50 for nose bleed seats in the regular season to an Indianapolis Colts game would agree. If they do this for us, then why was there a lock out this past off-season?
Unfortunately, the truth is, because football is a business, just like everything else in our country. There is no such thing as simple entertainment anymore. Our country simply won’t allow it. The Super Bowl itself, the most watched program of all TV programs, has become less a sign of the championship game of the NFL, and more a sign of what multi-hundred million dollar film is opening in theaters sometime in the vague future, which fast food and soft drink companies are struggling for market share, and which popular music artist can be tricked into performing a show that seemingly no one will enjoy, yet everyone will watch.
Many in our society see professional football as a signal that the economy should be imploding. We were able to save our biggest, most wasteful companies like GM and bring them back to the top, only to spend millions advertising them on the biggest spectacle in the world, like there aren’t people starving in the United States. Yet, here are thousands upon thousands of people, paying millions of dollars to watch a football game, one that the nation has seen in the past 5 years, featuring the same players, and eventually, the same result.
Ultimately, the game ended up being pointless, but I suppose the fun is supposed to be watching it. Yet, the 3 hour game takes place in a 5 hour time slot for maximum commercial tie-in, for maximum total profit for all involved. Anyone that thinks they are watching a game and not one of the biggest business transactions of the year is mis-educated about American sports. And when the game turns out exactly as it did a few years ago, people are surprised to the point that UMass students rioted when the same result happened.
Yet, the NFL would argue that this was the best result of the past season. Any team from the NFC would have beat any team that would have qualified for the Super Bowl, so it’s no surprise that the Giants won. If this game was indeed played for us, we would be treated to yearly divisional realignments, rotating television schedules, no TV black outs, and the NFL would be run as a non-profit organization.
Instead, infinitely better games were played in the playoffs, where only the die-hards among football fans and the team’s fans are the ones that really care. Of course, general audiences want to see who will come out as champion of the league, but the passion is gone, and salary caps, trade deadlines, and owner initiated lock outs have come to replace good football with the fans’ entertainment as the ultimate goal. So while the Super Bowl might have been disappointing, that’s just another reason to not watch it, to vote with your dollar by not going to games. Nothing makes me laugh more than seeing a fan on the local news complaining about ticket prices after attending a game. Know who made it that expensive? You, the person that paid the price it’s not worth. If you’re like me, and you feel like the Super Bowl was a waste of time, you only have yourself to blame. I won’t be watching next season, not without some divisional realignments, or some major rule changes. And no, I don’t mean the process of adding more reviews, which has added an average of 20 minutes to each game, I mean rule changes that speed the game up and take away the influence of sponsors and commercial properties. Since I know that won’t happen, I guess I’m done with football. At least with this terrible performance, Tom Brady might be obliged to retire to save the people of Boston from further heartache. On the downside, Eli Manning is encouraged to continue breathing only through his mouth.