Welcome to a true American holiday.
People decry the commercialization of Christmas. The Super Bowl, meanwhile, is unapologetically commercial--in fact, it's a day in which we celebrate commercialism, in the form of the TV ad spots that will air up to 40 times during the main event.
People decry the rank competitiveness of shopping around the holiday season. This day celebrates competitiveness, invites trash talk, recognizes that sometimes wanting to absolutely kill the other guy is what makes us stronger. (Unless you're the Patriots, in which case, you should just apologize.)
I've always loved people who know who they are and don't try to be anything else; similarly, I enjoy TV shows and entertainment events the most that aren't trying to be anything they're not. The Super Bowl is a great example of an event that takes the American concepts of the free market to their symbolic extremes, proudly flexes its muscles, and double-dog dares you not to sit back with some sauce-drippin' wings in a La-Z-Boy recliner and just revel in it. Hoo-ah. When it comes to the couch-sittin', snack-snarfin', celebration of it all, I'm all about the Big Dance.
This is not to say, though, that the hype can't go too far.
For example, it appears that in New England, the time we've had on our hands before the main event over the last week has been more than we could handle. Or, at least, this is the only explanation I can think of for why not one, but two books celebrating 19-0 have already appeared on Amazon. com from our local papers; for why Mayor Tom Menino would declare a week in advance that the victory parade is scheduled in Boston for Tuesday. Have we lost our minds?
Then there was the story by John Tomase in the Herald yesterday that an anonymous source has revealed that a team employee filmed a Rams walk-through prior to the 2002 Super Bowl. This story hasn't been second-sourced, and here's the key paragraph:
It’s not known what the cameraman did with the tape from there. It’s also not known if he made the recording on his own initiative or if he was instructed to make the recording by someone with the Patriots or anyone else.
This is sort of like the "story" that emerged a few weeks ago in which an anonymous source suggested that "a member of the 2004 Red Sox" demonstrated to said anonymous source the proper technique for shooting up with steroids. This was in turn broadcast by a talk-radio host; nothing more has come of it. While most of us in New England have come up with ridiculous ways to get over-confident during this bye week, it seems some others have been coming up with new ways to cast aspersions on the Patriots' wins so far this decade.
The latest pseudo-scandals have even drawn the attention of the federal legislature, who apparently don't have enough to do most of the time. Sen. Arlen Specter has said he is summoning Commissioner Goodell before a freakin' Congressional panel to explain why he destroyed the SpyGate tapes. Uh, maybe so this whole stupid thing wouldn't drag on unnecessarily for months if not years?
By the way, Arlen, isn't there a steroids scandal in baseball to
stir up controversy over without actually solving investigate? To say nothing of a disastrous quagmire of a foreign war to sort out? An economy falling apart at the seams? What ever happened to that Specter-Leahy Bill? Still in committee?
No. Clearly, bringing down the Patriots' dynasty is a far more pressing matter for the country. And when FOX reports that more Americans vote for American Idol than in Presidential elections, we're supposed to be surprised?
Others with too much free time are putting it to use just working up the hate. The most recent ESPN: the Magazine has a handy info-graphic showing that among fans of the 30 teams in the league not playing in the Super Bowl today, greater than 50% want the Patriots to lose. Thank goodness they had time to put that in-depth investigation together. I would never have sensed this had they not.
Meanwhile, with six hours of pre-game hype-time to fill, FOX is showing us a warm, fuzzy, 20-minute segment on the Manning family during which we've been supplied with the key information that Eli Manning is a mama's boy.
Like I needed FOX to tell me that, either.
So I guess it's safe to say the only thing I don't like about the Super Bowl is the wait. Let's see some football already.
P.S. This just in--Eli Manning was friendly to Tom Brady on his way out for warmups, but Brady did not appear as friendly! He nodded at Eli, while Eli patted Brady on the shoulder. Will this be another Handshake-Gate? Like coach, like quarterback?!? Stay tuned to FOX for answers!