By Paul Moomjean 01/30/2014
Super Bowl Sunday. Three words every red-blooded male in America loves to hear, read, speak and watch. The excitement of the game. The roar of the crowd. And those commercials. Even grandma loves watching those wild, funny, over-produced extravaganzas. Super Bowl Sunday is a time for fathers and sons, and for some families, a second Christmas. A secular second Christmas. Good food. Good drinks. Good TV. So what’s the problem? The problem is that the glorification of a game reveals more about the decline of society than the celebration of it.
Football is a classic American pastime. Most other nations ignore it and embrace rugby and soccer instead. Football is America’s sport. We dedicate two days of the week to the old pigskin game. Sunday and Monday nights own the rights to our sport-craving passions. Super Bowl promoters make a fortune off commercials and sponsorship. Everything looks like a win-win; we get entertainment and others get paid. But in reality, the embracement of a violent sport that glorifies trash talking, drinking, gambling and inactivity is more harmful than beneficial.
I know that conservatives are supposed to love football, but this conservative just can’t. I refuse to be a Sean Hannity clone (he throws a football toward the camera often on his show) who thinks that the football culture has produced a better America.
First off, the embracement of drinking and gambling that stems from a football culture only degrades American values, as opposed to embracing them. Kitchen Daily did a study in 2010 to find that Super Bowl Sunday is the eighth-largest beer buying day of the year. People don’t need a reason to drink, and then when given one it can produce harsh consequences. On top of the drinking there is an onslaught of legal and illegal gambling. Forget Las Vegas odds for a second, and look at the office football pools and exchange of cash in hopes of winning. On a “good” day your team wins, you get a good buzz and make a few hundred bucks. On a “bad day,” your team loses, you can’t drive home, and you have to explain to your wife why February needs to be a more frugal month in the spending department.
While the physical and financial strains aren’t healthy, the over-commercialization of the day is a black eye around the world in my opinion. Numerous companies spend millions to produce commercials that have become cruder, more crass and sexual. Some exploit child actors while others exploit the beauty of young women. For about three hours a year I become a minifeminist and wonder if the bikini-clad beer commercials and fast-food floozies are really the images parents want their little children to see as they watch. The NFL markets itself as a family-friendly experience. How does a beer commercial fit that mold?
On top of all that is the obnoxious behavior displayed by “professional” athletes. After the NFC championship game, Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman ran in front of a camera and charmingly degraded his opponents and glorified himself.
“I’m the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like [Michael] Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get. Don’t you ever talk about me,” Sherman barked into the camera. This is a far cry from the poetic “trash-talking” of Muhammad Ali. This is the sum of a narcissistic culture that embraces one’s self above all else.
Not only do we see the degrading of others, but to think that the Seattle Seahawks would hire coach Pete Carroll after he got out of Dodge (USC) right before the NCAA put a series of sanctions on that college football team for breaking numerous amateur athlete rules. Explain to me how a cheating son of a gun like Carroll gets to walk away from a messy scandal, only to be rewarded with a Super Bowl appearance? Oh, wait. It’s sports. Morality and ethics are tossed out. My bad.
I didn’t even dive into the concussion issues that had President Barack Obama proclaim that his imaginary son would never play football under his parental watch.
We are a super country. Sadly, we don’t show that on Super Bowl Sunday.