I am football fan. A big fan. I love football. I love playing football. I love talking about football. I love watching football. I love analyzing football. I love writing about football.
There is one thing, above all others, that I do not like about football.
The Super Bowl.
I complain about the BCS (Why are there not playoffs?). I complain about bad coaching and poor management. I complain about the referees making bonehead calls. Mike Martz being called a genius is laughable. I even complain about having to hear the likes of Dennis Miller and Keith Olberman talk football (If that's what they call what they are doing.).
But you know what bothers me most in the world of football?
The Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl is the worst shame in football because of what it is supposed to be and what it really is. It is supposed to be about the two best teams, fighting for every inch, leaving it all on the field. A champion waiting to be crowned. The crowning jewel of football supremacy. The best of the best. The most football has to offer fans.
Somehow, it all gets lost. The struggle, the fight, the game, it's all lost.
The Super Bowl has become a media frenzy. A red carpet affair in many ways. If you Google the Super Bowl, click on the news tab. You know what you'll find? Five out of the first ten results are about something other than the game itself. Fried chicken, is that what the Super Bowl is about? Click the Images tab. You know what the first image is? Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.
As a sports fan, I expect more. I want to see a world champion that I can be proud of, whether it's my team or not ( I'm a Lions fan so I have to be happy for someone!). I want to see an epic clash of the best the NFL has to offer.
Instead, I get loads of poor pregame analysis. Phrases like, " Well they gotta play defense to win." Gee, thanks for the insight guys. I'm glad I have you to teach me the way of football greatness. This is intertwined with celebrity insight on the game. We all know how that goes. Jessica Simpson telling us the Cowboys are going to win until she realizes they aren't in the game.
After the experts give me their take, I get spoon fed some more commercials. Now I understand they are funny, but I can watch them whenever I want to. It's called the internet and it's a wonderful thing.
Now, it's time for kick-off! This is when the real fun begins. The big game. Then, turn over. Three and out. Three and out. Turn over. Penalty. Penalty. Penal....are you freaking kidding me! You get the picture. The worst first half of the whole season is playing right there on center stage. I expect this from my Lions against Kansas City, but this is supposed to be the best against the best, right? Anyone? Bueller?
After we suffer through an ugly display of football in the first half, we get another ugly display for the half time. Justin and Janet, enough said. What is it this year? Bruce Springsteen? I'm not knocking The Boss. I'm just saying that as a football fan. I don't like to see guys coming out to play after they've cooled down. The third quarter usually goes a bit sloppy too until players warm up.
Now it's the good part, the fourth quarter. Both teams seem to wake up from the fairy tale they've been in the last few weeks. They seem to get the camera flash out of their eyes and realize something real is at stake. The finale by New York last year was incredible to watch. Lots of excitement, guys playing hard. It was what the whole game should have been. Remember Tennessee coming up a yard short? That was great football.
The game ends. One team wins, the other loses. This is when I have to turn it off again. I have to avoid lame post-game interviews and analysis. I have to avoid the last few cheese dip commercials. I have to relish the 20 minutes of football pleasure I was able to get out of what was supposed to be the best football event of the year. I have to hold on to that memory. I have to keep the image of Eli throwing up a prayer and watching it get answered. That is all I get.
What a shame.
Sad that my dream would be to have the game played without pregame. Without analysis. Just fans and a field. Turn the cameras on, just don't interrupt them. Keep rolling. Watch. Listen. Enjoy the game, and have the carnival down the street.