Sunday night NFL

Michele and I watched Sunday night football last night – the first non-title NFL game I have seen in years, probably twenty years – and it was a shock. By way of background, I used to love football. I was a huge Raider fan with season tickets on about the twenty yard line and watched them – starting when John Rauch was their coach and continuing through the John Madden years – become a dominant team. The Raiders personified – for me – the American dream of a group of outcasts coming together and being more than just the sum of their parts.

But that was a long time ago. Even before Superbowls were marked by Roman numeral. The first shock was how jingoistic football has become: it is now America’s game. The second shock is the irony of America’s game being the Hyundai Sunday night game with the Toyoda halftime show. Huh? America? Hyundai? Toyoda? I am not very comfortable with the hyper-nationalism that requires everybody to wear a flag pin, but, What the hell! I like Hyundai, I like Toyoda, and I love irony.

The game hasn’t changed much, sure there is more passing -as an aside, I once watched Kansas City beat the Raiders in a title game, when both their wide receivers were hurt, by passing only three times during the entire game, end aside – but the game still seems to be controlled at the line of scrimmage; everybody is bigger and faster and more skilled, but the cornerbacks are still covering the wide receivers and the linebackers are still getting burned if they commit to the run too early.

The coverage – TV coverage, not linebacker coverage – however is really different. The ability to isolated individual players and make everybody else disappear is great, seeing both the line of scrimmage and the first down line as lines on the field is very handy, and the video-photography is outstanding. And, the constant flow of huge amounts of information is much more helpful to somebody like me who doesn’t know any of the players.

However, the whole time I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was a like a roman circus. A distraction to keep our minds off of Afghanistan, off of house foreclosures, off of the country slowly changing from the American Dream to a new jingoistic America keeping us in line by keeping us scared. I hope I am wrong but I don’t think so.


2 thoughts on “Sunday night NFL

  1. Steve,

    Which definition of Jingoistic do you mean – a supporter of policy favoring war or a blustering patriot? In what way did you mean that it keeps us scared?

    I agree with you that sports are a distraction for everyone in the world from everyday life. No matter what sport we love to have something to be passionate about that is other then what we do everyday.

    Just finished, with Jim Kranz, an outdoor shower in Kenwood.

  2. Uh, both I guess, although more of the blustering patriot because I didn’t realize that one of the definitions was supporting a policy favoring war, per se. I am also bothered by the “exceptional country” bullshit and especially bothered by the inference – hell, the blatant – that we are exceptional because we are more Christian than other countries.

    I don’t mean to say that football keeps us scared but that our new blustering patriot attitude keeps us scared. I think that our new found Islamophobia keeps us scared. We are afraid of a mosque near ground zero, we are afraid of sharia law, now we seem to becoming afraid of halal meat ( ). The belief that “they” are out to get us because of our freedoms seems silly to me.

    I did get a little carried away with the Roman circus distraction bit, but football is just a game and it is presented as if it were really important. I doubt that either your or my life – or anybody we know lives – will be changed by who wins the Superbowl.

    Also, and this is hard to explain because I haven’t thought it out fully, I think the presentation of football is explained at a intellectual level much higher than the intellectual level that most people are allowed to operate on their jobs. It is a major distraction because most people – not all I realize – are underutilized and bored at their jobs where they spend most of their time.

    An outdoor shower sounds great, congrats.

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