On Friday, if you had asked me, “Who is playing in the Super Bowl this year?” I would have asked, “Huh?” This is the answer I give every year. Frankly, I never know the country’s most bedazzling sports event is imminent until I go to the grocery store and see the displays of potato chips and canned dips stacked around a blaring The Big Game sign. Of course, if you ask me what teams played in it last year, I couldn’t answer that either. That’s how far off my radar sports-related pageantry resides. Since I have no idea what this hoo-ha, big money, collective lunacy is all about, I decided to write about it from my own uninformed perspective, which is my right as an American.
Here’s what I know just from my many years of living with a television in my home. Football is played for a good chunk of the year…or so it seems. People talking about football is an endless tragedy. As soon as I see a bunch of men (and the occasional token woman) seated around a stage desk, wearing blazers and wooly caps emblazoned with team names, I go back to my crossword puzzle and give them no heed. Talking about football must pay equally as well as playing football. In fact, my number one impression, taken from many instances of two-second exposures, is that football is not so much America’s sport as it is America’s cash cow. I’d rather see a documentary about cows than watch people incessantly talk about this team or that player and learn what I already know—none of it is important to me.
Obviously, it is important to someone. Many someones. People earn or at least make money from the sport. For the NFL itself, its commissioner, owners, coaches, players on down through a long list of supporting cast members working for the team in hospitality, broadcasting, marketing and stadium maintenance, money is there to be had, like any business. Teams reap in cash from ticket sales, concessions, sponsorships (think of your company’s name on this player’s ass!), stadium naming rights. The NFL itself makes a shit-ton o’ bucks through TV deals. They trademarked the name Super Bowl so that no one could utter these words without paying a substantial amount of money to do so. But other than that dickish move, the sport of football provides many people with legitimate gainful employment and plenty of entertainment for the rest of us.
Some people enjoy watching football games. I have been to football games, the most memorable one being a University of Houston game played in the Astrodome (pre-$$$ for stadium-naming rights). My coworker treated me since he got free tickets and didn’t want to go alone. I sat in the stands and watched a game I had no interest in for about ten minutes. I was more attracted to the concession stands and the people-watching opportunities rather than the running and crushing of bodies every few seconds. I suddenly fixated on my previous visit to this venue. I told my coworker, “I was here for the rodeo. The floor was dirt then.” He stared at me quizzically, then turned his attention once again to the players on the field. “So now, it’s all grass! And then, it will be all dirt again. When did they plant the grass? How does it grow inside?” Knowing there would be no peace until the wonder of artificial turf was explained to me, my friend handed me the word “Astroturf.” My world expanded, which is always an annoying thing since it just leads to more questions such as “Does it hurt when they fall on it?”
I have attended many football games, so you’d think my knowledge would at least be fledgling (if 50 years of accumulation could be called fledgling). In high school I was the captain of the color guard and attended every football game. Likewise, when my son was in high school, he was in the marching band. Like any extraordinary mother, I went to watch the halftime show. Going to the games under these circumstances constituted more of a social event than a sporting endeavor. I usually knew which team won the game based on who was doing the whooping or moping, but never the actual actions which lead up to the winning score. I am what some might call a bit chatty. Why would I have watched all that body slamming when there were people with whom I could converse? I didn’t have to focus on the game until halftime. No doubt the players’ moms were diligently attending to the inherent danger to their offspring on the field. The only potential injuries my kid might have suffered would have been if he’d accidently marched into the path of an oncoming tuba player during the halftime show.
Speaking of halftime shows, I have seen the Super Bowl presentations on the Monday morning news. Big stars, big productions get noticed, even by me. After years of spectacular mid-game entertainment news, the Janet Jackson nip-slip/wardrobe malfunction is the only one I can remember because it caused such a kerfuffle among the righteous rabble. This is the kind of entertainment I can be drawn into. I think some people wanted to have Ms. Jackson arrested. Probably because they didn’t think of it first. Of all the famous entertainers who have graced the biggest stage during the most overblown theatrical showcase in sports history, the only one most people actually remember is the lady who dared to show an extra bit of skin. Without plunking the question down into a Google search: Who was the star of the Super Bowl halftime show in 2003? You don’t know.
Now back to the action. Commercials also play a huge role in the quality of entertainment during the game. I saw at least five of them the day before the game aired, on the news. When a commercial makes the actual news, you know the value of having your company name associated with the championship game is worth the price. An ad that costs mega bucks will go viral both on the news and on social media, and people will be talking about it for at least a week after it airs (or in the case of beer frogs, fondly remembering it years later). That’s money well-spent. My favorites are not the same as other people’s favorites simply because I didn’t see every commercial. I found these with a quick Google search of Sunday night’s ads on Monday morning. Any commercial (movie, tv show, awards banquet) is made classier with Idris Elba in it, so Booking.com might very well get to plan my next vacation. I have no idea what FTX does, but including Larry David in a spoof about the historical rejection of good ideas had me holding my sides. Nobody says “Meh,” like that guy! My top prize (I know, who cares?) goes to Rocket Home with the agent selling Barbie her dream house. After depicting the sad reality of the current real estate market, you might need to consider using their services if it actually gives you and/or Barbie any kind of edge over those predatory home-buying villains.
By now, you are wondering if I watched the game. Yes, I did. The last one minute and twenty-five seconds of it that occurred after Masterpiece Theater was over. Here’s the play by play. The Tiger people had the ball and tried to throw it a couple times but there was either no one there to catch it or there were too many people there keeping someone from catching it. Then a Tiger tried to ram it through by running but was stopped by the Sheep people, who made a big pile of bodies on top of him. With 30 seconds left to the end of the game, the Sheep people simply stopped playing and started congratulating one another. I think the final score was in favor of the Sheep as they seemed to be so happy. Masterpiece Theater featured cows and dogs, in case you wanted to know that as well.
I feel so well-rounded,
Loved your take on the Big Game! For unknown reasons, sat through whole thing, although had no interest in game or halftime, & was multi-tasking by eating & doing crossword puzzles & sudoku, while “watching” for hours. Did feel sad for a minute, for Tigers unhappy ending, as you described so well. My favorite ad was for Lays Potato Chips, & would have consumed whole family size bag if they were allowed in my home!
So glad you “enjoyed” the game from your dining table! I will now have to go find that Lays ad. Crispy, salty snacks are my favorite too!
Thanks for reading Sherri!
Good for you the Atlanta Falcons do not go to the super bowl every year, because then you would be forces to at least hear the game from the other room.
Or take a vacation at the shore!
Ah, Masterpiece. We binge watched Creatures Great and Small on the PBS app. Where on Monday we caught up on Around the world in 80 days. Another good series!
I had the game on. Missed the commercials, but oh well… the team I was cheering on lost. I cheered them in because Begal is a cat, and I was born in Cincinnati. lol
Gotta love that recording ability. Go team!
My only interest in football anymore is if I can use a game outcome to inflict emotional pain onto a losing fan. Sick, I know, but some folks really live for this shit. With that said I spent the evening watching reruns of “Monk”. I found out about the game outcome the next day, but sadly I didn’t know anybody that had a dog in this fight 🙁
There will be plenty of opportunities to razz people when their favorite team looses! Basketball stuff is coming soon, I believe.
My interest in football mirrors your comments on the last minute and a half. Tiger and sheep people – hilarious! I’ve never understood the game, it just looks like a bunch of players falling down and I’m always wondering “where is the ball?”
I’ve even lost interest in the halftime show. My preference would be someone like James Taylor strumming a guitar but that probably wouldn’t go over too well.
The super duper game requires over-the-top flash for its mid-time entertainment! We’ll have to save the folk artists for SXSW!
Football action IS so confusing!
I’m not an avid viewer of men receiving traumatic brain injuries, though I do hear they pay them a lot of money for their future dementia. I did, however, on Monday, watch the half time hip-hop show because I love to dance to hip-hop. That ended up being a disappointment because the cameras were not on the dancers.
I think a lot of people I know tuned in just for the halftime show! I saw part of it the next day and was clapping for Mary J, a standout amid all those old hip hop dudes. Now we need our own game day and dance party!