It’s that time of the year again when you gather with friends and family to eat too much, drink too much and be merry in celebration of the years first holiday (well not officially), the Super Bowl. This year the big game travels to the Big Apple for it’s 48th incarnation where the Denver Broncos will be pitted against the Seattle Seahawks. Like every year we are promised a fun night for everyone from fans of the game, to fans of mediocre live music, to fans of extreme consumerism. Everyone has their favorite part of the Super Bowl and it seems with each passing year it becomes less about the actual game being played and more about the event/circus surrounding the game.
The first Super Bowl was played at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1967 where the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. The game was invented to find the best team between the countries biggest leagues, the NFL and AFL. Later after the two leagues merged into the NFL, the game was to find the best team of the NFL’s two leagues, the NFC and AFC. The concept of that first game was simple, have the two best teams play each other where the victor is crowned champion and play the game in a city with a warm/tropical climate...and that’s it.
This year we are being promised a game for the ages. We will see the top ranked offense versus the top ranked defense. One team is being lead by a future Hall of Famer and arguably the best quarterback to play the game while the other team is being lead by the quarterback of the future along with a maniac, who when he does his job likes to yell and do pose off like Van Damme after connecting with a perfectly placed round house kick to the face. The Broncos have a long tradition of success, being to five SuperBowls and winning two, while the Seahawks are trying to win their first Super Bowl so they can say they are more than just the loudest team in the league. This all sounds like a perfect lead up to the big game, the only problem is that unless you are a regular fan of the game, you wouldn’t know any of this.
For the past two weeks we have been bombarded by Super Bowl coverage but little to non of it has had to do with the actual game that will be played. The biggest story so far hasn’t been about how the two teams match up but rather what the weather will be. This is usually a side note but since this is the first Super Bowl being played outside in a colder climate, all we have been hearing is how during the game, there could be a storm of Biblical proportions, with Buick sized balls of ice falling from the sky and a wind chill that would make the heartiest of ice road truckers shutter. It turns out it’s going to a balmy 40 degrees and cloudy...but I’m sure they’ll still have the National Guard on stand-by just in case.
Once it was realized that weather probably won’t be an issue, attention turned to the next big story and that is...the halftime musical guests. Supposedly this year there will be two, Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Obviously the NFL has chosen not to reach for the stars like in the past with acts such as U2, the Rolling Stones or Bruce Springsteen and have instead chosen to mash two current day middle of the road acts together into a musical barf bag of excitement, a-la Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake or Aerosmith, ‘N Sync and Britney Spears. We don’t have to be reminded how those turned out.
I have nothing against and actually quite like the aforementioned Mr. Mars and The Chili Peppers that happen to be Red Hot, even though the Chili Peppers haven’t been at the top of their game in ten years and up until a month a go I thought Bruno Mars was MIchael in a Jackson 5 tribute band. The problem I have is that their performance should be a secondary to the game itself, not the second biggest story leading into the game.
During the few breaks we have had of all of these non-stories we have been hit with proof positive reasons that the Super Bowl has long lost it’s way and that it’s time to scale it back a bit. These reasons come in the form of commercials...that are for commercials. And many of us wonder why so much of the world can’t stand us? We have it so good and we have taken things so far that now we are running commercials for a commercial that will be aired during the Super Bowl. The whole purpose of a commercial is to give you a preview of some piece of crap that some company wants you to buy. Now, we are being force fed a preview for a preview for a piece of crap some company wants you to buy!!! If a company can’t doll up their product enough in a commercial to get people to buy it that they then decide to doll up the commercial with another commercial, then you know their product is a piece of crap and doesn’t deserve your time or attention.
Now because of this brilliant lead-in non-game coverage, on the night of the big game we will find ourselves at a divided Super Bowl party. The division won’t be Seahawks fans versus Broncos fans but rather between people that have been waiting all season for the game and that is all they care about versus people that want to watch the commercials and the halftime show and comment on whether or not they think there will be a snow storm during the game. One side will be patiently dissecting and enjoying the game play by play with quiet anticipation of a touchdown while the other will be constantly yapping about how funny that last commercial was and how they can’t wait to see if Flea will be playing in a diaper. Like when they mix musical guests for the halftime show, there is a strong chance this could go pear shaped in a hurry.
The NFL were geniuses in that they took their biggest game and they made it into an event that everyone could enjoy, even if you knew little or could care less about football. It become understood that once a year you would gather with friends and family and celebrate the gift of the Super Bowl. The only problem is at some point the league went too far and lost the plot. What was once a joyous event that brought people together has now become a parody of itself and is dividing friends and families. In a way, the leagues blatant disregard for it’s fans has become comical because this year they decided to ban the one thing that is holy and right with football and that is they banned tailgating from the stadium parking lot! Sounds to me like the work of Communists.
So this year, if you are on the side of just wanting to watch the game and are invited to do to one of those inevitably divided parties, don’t. Instead do what the great Bill Burr does, stay home with like minded people and when the game starts, tape it, turn the TV off and start the grill. After about an hour and a half start watching the game and fast forward through all of the commercials and half-time show and then by the time you catch up in real time the game will be in the fourth quarter. You’ll find this much more enjoyable and relaxing, a lot like watching the game back in the 60’s but without the St. Mary of the Holy Cross High School marching band playing at halftime.