One Great Season
Life is a constant struggle for the eternal contrarian: In a matter of days, much of the world will gather in its bars, living rooms and thatched huts to consume the Sport of Kings' pinnacle event. Despite the pageantry, the gambling, the gluttonous food and alcohol consumption and each of the 30-second commercials (Talking babies + talking animals = ABSOLUTE GENIUS) that cost far more than you’ll ever be worth, there's so much to hate about the Super Bowl.
You're surrounded by people in your life who live for the Super Bowl. Contrarians like us who despise it must stick together, because while football is the lifeblood of the American way, the Super Bowl absolutely sucks.
Visionary heroes like you, me, E. Gordon Gee, Bill Hancock, Dan Beebe and Jim Delany see the Super Bowl for what it really is: An overhyped, missed opportunity to siphon off millions in revenue while diluting enthusiasm for the sport under the cheesy auspices of "methodically determining a true champion on the field." If it weren't absolutely true it would be ridiculous.
Here's a short list of why you should hate the Super Bowl:
- It determines a true champion on the field. The Steelers and the Packers had to navigate their ways through the regular season and playoffs to get to Dallas. In doing so, they were insulated from mysterious variables like the Harris poll, fuzzy math and Kirk Herbstreit. Their progression to the apex was painstakingly methodical. You know what else is methodical? Accounting ledgers. Actuarial tables. Sunday morning bowel movements. There is nothing inexplicable or absurd about arriving at the title game, which in and of itself is a recipe for boredom. The hype is only necessary to keep you awake through it all.
- Still no title sponsor. How important could a game really be if it isn't played for all the Tostitos? R+L Carriers, Ticket City, GoDaddy.com and AdvoCare V100 all have recently put their gratuitous marks on other bowls, serving as convenient historical benchmarks: I know exactly where I was during the inaugural Beef O'Brady's Bowl in December. Do you know where you were for "Super Bowl XXXVII?" You couldn't possibly know without looking it up, and even then you probably still don't remember. You have fallen victim to the NFL's mind-erasing trap.
- The Steelers and the Packers will make money. The Steelers played two home playoff games and the Packers played none. Regardless, neither team will find itself in the red following Super Bowl Sunday for all the effort. Part of what makes college bowl games so special are the sacrifices made by schools to participate. Everything means more when you’re poorer for it. The dollar menu tastes much better when you only had 75 cents than it does when you’re breaking hundreds. You can't spell gratitude without attitude, and you can even keep the extra 't' as a souvenir.
- Not enough time off. There are only two weeks between the conference title games and the Super Bowl. Outside of giving notice that you're quitting your job, there isn't much good that can be done with only two weeks to plan.
If the Super Bowl was instead played six or seven weeks later, the NFL could not only derail the momentum of its season, it could artificially extend it well into Spring Training. Sure, this delay would inarguably alter the complexion of what the matchup might have been like had it been played sort of near the end of the season, but that's a good thing. Methodical order is the evil tool of the self-proclaimed sanity cult and must be avoided at all costs.
Imagine if the Super Bowl would just borrow a page from college football and create a 37-day lag once its participants were established. We'd have the biggest football game of the year on March 1. Now that's March Madness. The BCS National Championship Game keeps it real; the New Mexico Bowl, which was played a mere 13 days after the season ended, keeps it real dumb. /Chris Rock'd
- Suspensions without convenient delays. Adrian Awasom got a DUI two days before Super Bowl XLII. Stanley Wilson was all coked up in his hotel bathroom the night before Super Bowl XXIII when his position coach walked in and found him with a face full of powder. Both were shockingly kept out of their respective games, when they could have easily been kept on their active rosters with commuted sentences to, let's say, the first five games of the following season. "The United States is a nation of laws, badly written and randomly enforced." - Frank Zappa. Please, NFL, think of the Zappas.
- Spreading the wealth. ESPN basically owns college football, which means if you like college football, you cannot avoid ESPN. Unless you buy into the vicious myth that ESPN sucks hard, then you understand and appreciate how convenient this is.
This is not the case with the pros, where ESPN only has a few of its talons dug into the NFL pie. As a result of this content sharing, there are robust and extensive reporting teams dedicated to analyzing and covering the sport at Viacom and Fox, not to mention the NFL's own network and vast broadcasting resources.
Sadly, this makes it very easy to ignore Chris Berman's fresh shtick and phlegmy sound effects and Tom Jackson's misunderstood genius, and nearly impossible to capture and absorb all of the captivating FAVRE FAVRE FAVRE that's out there being analyzed and discussed through other entities. It all adds up to a missed opportunity to consolidate and create a delicious conflict of interest.
- Too much winning. The Jets took down two division winners in the Colts and the Patriots prior to falling to the Steelers. The Seahawks beat the Saints before losing to the Bears. For those that didn't make the cut for a playoff (let's call them something arbitrary, like "December bowl teams") eight of them ended their seasons with victories in week 17.
In the NFL postseason, even the teams that lose are capable of winning something. It's all too reminiscent of the rampant pussification that has produced an America where everyone is a winner even if they're not. No wonder the Super Bowl winner is called "the World Champion." It's because everyone else who won a game in January gets to claim their own continent.
So go ahead and enjoy your precious Super Bowl. Just because your baby is butt-ugly doesn't mean you can't still love it. Those of us who know better can't help but feel incredibly superior.