It's almost time for Super Bowl XLV! OMG! I thought it was on last Sunday (the store I was in had a TV the size of a small wall and the gridiron 'warriors' were hugging each other) but turns out it was a different game, more like flag football than anything else. By the time the fourteen day pregame show finally expires over on Fox later and it's time for some football, how many of us will really care?
I've been on earth for ALL of XLV of these things and I still don't get the roman numerals part of the package. The first one was in the LA Coliseum and wasn't a sell-out (GASP!). Of course, it also didn't have the Rolling Stones playing at half-time, Beyonce as a sideline reporter, or a fly-over by Ty Pennington and the crew from Home Improvement (getting the crowd to scream 'move the bus!' would be really something). But from small acorns, such mighty oaks grow.
Professional sports in the USA at one time were, at least a little bit, about sports. Now, it's cue the bread and circuses but never forget it's high drama. That's why every announcer has an analyst and every analyst has a counterpart who's also her/his counter point. We may not be able to understand what motivates religious zealots of every stripe to wreak hate-filled havoc on the rest of us or how to pacify the restless masses, but if you need somebody to explain the weak side button-hook on a 3rd and short within the context of the Children's Crusade, Terry and Howie will have that for you, right after this Doritos commercial and a word from your local station.
Five to fifteen times MORE people will watch the Super Bowl today than watched the President of the United States' State of the Union message. And why not? Ben Roethlisberger, all in all, had a better year than Barack Obama. And please don't make me choose between Aaron Rodgers and Michelle Bachman. And we both know who won't channeling Phil Simms when someone, finally, sticks a fork in this game.
We'd already pegged the Stuck on Stupid meter earlier this week when someone aired live 'signing day' activities-that is, coverage of the first day seventeen and eighteen year old high-school boys could officially declare for whom they would play college football and all that such a decision could mean. Oh yeah, we had service people lose their lives, forever, in Afghanistan this same week, but we don't have any game day film of that.
Within five years, we'll have ESPN Ocho covering the Pop Warner declaration day and, within a decade, the Pee-Wees. What hath Roger wrought? And what happens if the millionaire players and the billionaire owners can't come up with a new collective bargaining agreement that the 'average' fan will pay for by taking out a third mortgage? Tell me a 'personal seat license' isn't the best Held Up without a Gun you have ever heard. I'm surprised more institutions don't use it as a fund-raiser.
Of course, when all the t's are crossed and i's dotted, about the only thing we'll be making in this country will be professional athletes and prime-time reality show hosts, but don't worry about it because we've got a stockpile of roman numerals to last us until at least MMCCLXXVIII, or 在我们中国，直至取消抵押品赎回权。