FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Miserable Super Sunday

As an unreconstructed football fan, I believe the Super Bowl should be the most exciting game of the year. The entire production should enter your veins like uncut adrenaline. It should explode off your TV screen like the young Rolling Stones: searing, white-hot, and unbearably intense. Instead this year’s contest from the two hour pre-game show to the record number of commercials was more akin to the Rolling Stones today: bloated, bored, sagging, and in it for the buck.

With the Salem Witch Hunters at the FCC pressing pitchforks into their backs, the Super Bowl producers at Fox promised to a much more “family friendly” show than last year. America would be spared “four hour erection warnings,” flatulent horses, and the sight of Janet Jackson’s right breast. But I guess offensive is a question of taste as the opening commercial was for this viewer far worse than a gassy horse. The day sparked with a recruitment pitch aimed at Arabs and Muslims by the “equal opportunity employers” at the FBI. A man in a turban spoke about his great job as a decoder and translator in the “war on terror.” He was shown in an office working with friendly Anglos non-plussed by their brown-skinned co-worker. Clearly the FBI is suffering shortages of Arab speakers and experts in Islamic culture–amazing for an organization that has built a reputation over the last year of treating Arabs and Muslims with tremendous respect, always courteous with every home invasion and interrogation.

The game then kicked off with a tribute to Weapons of Mass Destruction–which surely did wonders for the FBI’s recruiting efforts. We were graced with the sight of an unnervingly sprightly George H.W. Bush and The Cadaver Formally Known at Bill Clinton marching to midfield as troops from Afghanistan and Iraq were shown at full attention on the Jumbotron. In Iraq they were watching from ‘Camp Victory’ because–we can only assume – ‘Camp Quagmire’ and ‘Camp FTA’ were seen as less inspiring locales. As warplanes flew overhead, I was never prouder to live in a country where remote controls feature mute buttons.

Then the kickoff, the main event, Patriots/Eagles, the reason we are all supposedly glued to the couch. Unfortunately, there was so much exhaust on the field from the military pomp and circumstance, the players seemed to be staggering around like they each had ingested a pack of unfiltered menthols. Everyone, both New England and Philadelphia, played with tightness, as if “The New FBI” was about to shut the game down at any moment. It was so slow going, I actually found myself looking forward to the halftime show. This event needed some spice and after last year’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction,” anything seemed possible, even with the billionaire Brit Paul McCartney heading up the festivities. Maybe Sir Paul would lose his codpiece on live TV.

But McCartney played it safe. He performed “Hey Jude,” which would have been very cool if only it was 1971. If Sir Paul had any nipple rings they were thankfully kept to himself.

The commercials were equally uninspired. The same sexism, cameos from stars of yesteryear, and cheap technology we have seen before produced little more than a collective yawn. Although I do wonder who would by a new car on the recommendation of “Doc” from the Love Boat.

When the second half began I held out hope against hope that maybe the game of all things would salvage this evening and not make me regret these hours on my deathbed. But the players seemed to feed on the boredom of the surroundings. Don’t let the 24-21 score fool you. This was over early in the fourth quarter, with the New England Patriots holding the game firmly in hand. The supremely talented Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb ran only once for zero yards. The MVP was someone named Deion Branch. Even the notorious Boston fans, were muted in their celebrations, utterly uninspired by a game that made McCartney’s exploits seem electrifying by comparison.

In the end the Super Bowl seemed to be in a kind of identity crisis. If its purpose is to show the best two football teams playing their best, then the two weeks of hype, extra long half time show, and field filthy with military exhaust would seem to not lend itself to goal. If the game is meant to be a sidelight to cheering on whatever military adventure the US is on that month, then broadcast it on the History Channel with the rest of the tributes to war and empire. If it is supposed to be a place where pop-culture mores are unearthed and turned upside down, then show it on pay-per-view in between ‘Girls Gone Wild: Vatican City, and ‘Howard Stern’s Butt Bongo Fiesta., I, for one, just want a great football game. I would bet my bottom dollar that most football fans would agree.

DAVE ZIRIN’s new book “What’s My Name Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States will be in stores in June 2005. You can receive his column Edge of Sports, every week by e-mailing edgeofsports-subscribe@zirin.com. Contact him at editor@pgpost.com.

More articles by:

DAVE ZIRIN is the author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States (The New Press) Contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com.

September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail