Let me state this upfront. I’m not a fan of American football. I find the game unbearably boring (and this from someone who enjoys both baseball and soccer). To me it’s usually five seconds of action followed by three minutes of commercials. I find it to be inexcusably violent, borderline misogynistic and so very, very dull. So I am not the target audience for the Super Bowl.
That said, even if I were a football fan, I’d probably really hate the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl is not now, and for a long time has not been, about football. It’s about a two-week buildup to a weeklong event that culminates in an hour-long game that somehow takes three hours to play, and is just generally a platform for selling ad time. The game itself is an afterthought, and the league goes out of their way each year to assure that it’s going to be played in a place where there isn’t any sort of rain or cold or snow; or to put it another way, football weather.
The whole nonsense this past couple of weeks about the New England Patriots underinflating their balls is a great example of how this is not about football. If it were, the team would face crippling fines and possible removal from the game. That sort of thing is necessary to reassure fans that the games actually matter and that cheating isn’t accepted.
But clearly that isn’t what’s going to happen. Now one can argue that the Patriots probably would have beaten the Colts anyhow, and that may be true. But we’ll never know, because the Patriots cheated. They cheated and got away with it, because once they were announced as the winners, there was no way in hell that the NFL would say, “Whoops, nope, actually they’re going to forfeit, and the Seahawks will be declared the winners.” Are you kidding? They’d never do that. Not with the amount of money they’d stand to lose. Hell, it would probably take some sort of really, really blatant rules violation or bribery scandal to prevent a team from being in the Super Bowl once they were announced as a player, and even then the league would probably wait until after the game and amend the record with an asterisk or two.
The Super Bowl is about money from start to finish. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with that, but I have to say that if I were actually a football fan, that would irritate me to no end, and as far as I’d be concerned, the game would be basically irrelevant and I wouldn’t watch it. I’m baffled that anyone who likes football actually does.
(all this said, I’ll be at a Super Bowl party tomorrow. Go, Seahawks!)