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Wednesday
Feb052014

Super Bowl: A superb low?

Now that the professional football season is over, it’s time to turn our attention to — 

I’m sorry, what? You say the football season is not over? You say the Super Bowl is this Sunday?

Like I said, the football season is over. The Super Bowl is not about football.

With the top two National Football League teams vying for the championship, you would think it would be a competitive, interesting game. But three-quarters of the Super Bowls have been blow-outs. The average point spread is nearly 17 points. I don’t have to tell you this because you’ve likely seen them. Super Bowls fill nearly half the slots among the 30 highest-rated television shows of all time.

So with the high likelihood the game will be disappointing, why do we keep coming back? Do we really care to watch a bad game to see who wins the Lombardi trophy?

No.

This is because the Super Bowl is not about football. 

The discussion around the water cooler the day after is less and less about the big play, and more and more about the big commercial, the embarrassingly awful and overblown halftime show, the overaccumulation of hype surrounding the event, the overaccumulation of bean dip in your stomach after a Super Bowl party and the overall empty feeling you have about the event afterwards (with the exception of the bean dip). 

Everything about the Super Bowl is “super” — the commercials, the hype, even the post-event depression — except for the game.

Sponsors were once willing to shell out huge money to buy time and produce innovative, extravagant ads to air during the Super Bowl because so many people looked forward to seeing the game. Now they advertise during the game because so many people look forward to seeing the commercials. The Super Bowl may be the only telecast during which viewers zap the volume for the actual show, but turn up the sound for ads. In fact, the game seems to be played not so much to determine the national champion, but to determine which player will receive huge money to star in future Super Bowl commercials. 

Federal laws apparently require Super Bowl organizers to sure the halftime shows are extravaganzas. They must feature an all-star cast barely lip-synching to canned music and the Happy, Uplifting, Yet Somehow Deeply Moving Children’s Choir from 1,000 Nations. The script and music for halftime shows must be, according to these statutes, barely tolerable at minimum. If at all possible, these codes state, performers on the field should try to spell out words.

This is why I’m looking forward to the Super Bowl Halftime Extravaganza Salute to Super Bowl Anagrams. The first anagram will be an easy one, “superb owl,” which would make a great NFL mascot, if you asked me — the St. Louis Superb Owls. Then performers would rearrange into “pus blower,” “brow pulse” and “plus we rob.” Then they would move into more relevant anagrams, such as one which describes the affliction from eating too much bean dip at a Super Bowl party, “blurp woes.” And then another one, describing the progression of the affliction a couple days later, “bowel spur.” And finally, in a finish full of fireworks and emotion, performers would spell out, “blows ’er up,” while moving the audience to tears, forcing each of them to pull out an NFL-authorized handkerchief from their handbag, or a “purse blow.”

Does this mean that I think this is not an event worth organizing parties around or to treat practically like a national holiday? 

No.

In these 500-channel-cable-television, information-superhighway days, America is growing farther apart. We have been given freedom of choice but are denied a common experience binding us all together. The Super Bowl, as the television ratings show, is one of the last things most of us share together as a nation.

And what could be more American or reflect us any better than the Super Bowl? With its commercialism, hype, gluttony, abject disappointment, false promises and depression, Super Bowl Sunday may be the most honest holiday we have.

So I’ll tune in, for I am full of another uniquely American quality — boneheadedness. No, I mean, hope. I hope it will be an interesting game. I hope the halftime entertainment will stink because I enjoy making fun of it. I hope I won’t eat so much I get the blurp woes.

For hope is the our only defense against a Super Bowl that won’t, anagramatically speaking, achieve a new “superb low.”

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