Thoughts on the Super Bowl
I love watching the Super Bowl. In fact, one of the reasons I often hesitate to go to Super Bowl parties is that...I love watching the game itself. My wife and children are not into watching football, and I am somewhat saddened by their lack of interest.
Still, there are separately other things that occur during the Super Bowl Day that we who are fans should notice:
1. The glorification of drinking alcohol;
2. The promotion of tribalism;
3. A higher rate of motor vehicle accidents compared to any other Sunday in the year, and a possibly and slightly higher reported increase in women being punched or abused by often drunk men. See here;*
4. Materialist or commercial values hyped to a level of religious worship, as the commercials become as important as the game itself.
Not really very good, is it? If one wanted a sociological or anthropological theme for the Super Bowl, one would say it has taken on religious overtones without any religious spirit or love.
I also think Vince Lombardi would be upset at this spectacle, particularly the commercial hype. Lombardi didn't like the Super Bowl from the start, largely because he did not like the upstart American Football League (AFL), which he saw as treason to the older National Football League (NFL). His hostility to the AFL was amusing since the NFL was only about 25 years older than the AFL and at the time of the first Super Bowl, Lombardi was at best a general manager, I believe, not even a significant owner of the Green Bay Packers whom he coached. For Lombardi, apart from his eclectic feelings about the first Super Bowl, football was about individuals coming together as a team to do their best. Football was a game he adored for all of its human, not religious glory. He cared about his players, as Jerry Kramer, his offensive guard, wrote about in at least two books that are well worth the read (see here and here). Also, David Maraniss' biography of the man I love calling St. Vince (the religious imagery affects me, too) is one of the best biographies I've ever read.
So today let's not drink so much alcohol. Let's not exult the commercials, and maybe let's mentally skip past them the way we normally do when watching television. And let's be careful driving home after the party.
* Snopes.com says the claim about increased abuse is false, but as the above quoted link for the proposition says, not so fast. See also this defense of the original report from Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). The evidence of increased abuse is enough for thoughtful people to notice and consider, regardless of our political opinions.