Super Bowl Sunday is now second only to Thanksgiving for the amount of food consumed by Americans. Photo: Mike Mozart, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
If you ask around, my colleagues would probably tell you I’m the de facto sports guy here at NCPR (sorry, Sommerstein) and, normally I am more than happy with that title, but it’s a challenge to feel proud of the “sports guy” role with one of the biggest sporting events of the year leaving so much to be desired.
Where shall I begin the list of problems? Okay, let’s start with the teams.
The Seahawks players are fine, but coach Pete Carroll is, well, sleazy. As a college coach at the University of Southern California, he paid his players, which is completely outside of the decades-old NCAA rules. I agree that players, not just the coaches and athletic directors (who often make millions) should make some money, but everyone has to play and recruit under the same guidelines, and those guidelines are clear: no paying college players. Then, just before USC was hit with the NCAA sanctions brought on by Carroll’s alleged practices, he left to take millions more coaching the Seahawks. Tacky, man, tacky.
So, can I root for their Super Bowl rival, the New England Patriots? Problems on this side of the continent, too.
- Coach Bill Belichick is annoyingly overrated by the major sports media outlets and as my theory from this October 2014 post will prove, coaches are in general overrated. Following up on that post, the Miami Heat, as of this writing, are currently 20-25, losing a key player (LeBron James) has had more impact on performance than the name of the coach. (By the way, last year the Heat only lost 28 games all season.)
- The Patriots are cheaters! “Spygate,” which is a lot of mumbo-jumbo and lots of teams did and/or do it, is still cheating, and they were caught doing it—for other teams it’s just supposition. Now, there is “Deflategate,” which yes, is as stupid as it sounds.
- Their star running back throws sucker punches.
Okay, full disclosure: I am a disgruntled New York Jets fan, arch-rival of the Pats. But I’m still right.
There are a few other things about this game that make it … stupid … silly … lame … annoying … pick an adjective.
Historically speaking, the game is also more boring than any major, money-sink sports contest can justify being. In 30 of the previous 48 games played, the winner has won by 10 or more points. In those 30 games, 23 have been decided by two touchdowns (14 points) or more. It is incredible to think that 62.5% of the games that have been played have resulted in double-digit spreads, and 76.7% of those have been bona fide blowouts. For non-football fans, the point here is that a close game makes for much more entertaining spectacle.
Here’s another crazy thing that you hear about each year: the cost of commercials. Apparently this year NBC is getting around $4.5 million per thirty second commercial spot, which is BONKERS! I’d love to see a study of how much revenue those bring back for the companies that make the investment. That money could be spent in a much more useful way … schools, infrastructure, medical research … funding NCPR (shameless plug).
Finally, there’s the nonsense of all those pesky criminals running up and down the NFL fields. Unless you have been without a connection to any media in the last year (and here you are at ncpr.org so that can’t be), then you know about former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking his wife unconscious in an elevator. You probably also know of star running back Adrian Peterson beating his kid with a switch. Besides those two idiots, there are a whole bunch of NFL stars that have done equally awful things. Like who? you ask.
Ben Roethlisberger (twice accused rapist, seen here posing all buddy-buddy with the first officer to arrive on scene of the second incident); Michael Vick (dog murderer); Ray McDonald (arrested before this season started for domestic abuse, but not charged until after the season ended); or ANYONE on this list which was put together by USA Today. Also, “alleged,” serial murderer and former Patriot (happy coincidence), Aaron Hernandez.
This year, I’m not watching. My wife and I invited friends over for dinner and plan on a delicious meal of Saag Paneer, Butter Chicken, Saffron Rice and other goodies. What are you doing Sunday night? Going to a super bowl party for the commercials? Spending the evening in? Seeing a movie? Let us know.
As the station’s sports hound, all I can say is, there’s always next year.
Here are some links that may be of interest to you, mostly substantiating the case I’ve made for abstaining from viewing.
List of Super Bowl results via espn.com (where I found the data on point spreads and other facts cited in this post):
Overrated coaches blog:
NBC ad request:
Lagarrette Blount punch: