by Ryan Meehan
Super Bowl week is here, and as NFL fans we are all looking forward to the biggest game of the year and all that goes along with it. This year seems like it’s a little bit different, and there’s no one reason why the Super Bowl seems less appealing than it has been in recent seasons. Instead, I believe that it is a set of assorted factors that I would like to discuss individually so we can take a look at why we don’t feel as excited as we usually do.
1. Bernard Pollard’s comments regarding the future of the NFL/Obama’s comments regarding the violence within the sport
Let’s start with Pollard: For those of you who missed it, Pollard said Monday that in 30 years he’s not sure that there will be an interest in football in this country because of the way the nature of the game has changed. Of course, since it’s Bernard Pollard we’re talking about – his view is by then the game will have become too soft so people will lose interest. He sure picked a weird time to say that, but as you’ll know by the end of this piece he won’t be the only one who will have said something stupid. However while we’re on the topic of Pollard, let’s break down those comments a little bit. Is he really suggesting that interest in the biggest sport in America will dip if the level of violence isn’t maintained? How much more violence can be removed from the NFL? They got rid of helmet to helmet, have gone to insane lengths to protect the quarterbacks, what else are they expected to do? They can’t get rid of tackling? This comment was also awful because it was misinterpreted by a lot of people as making it seem like the popularity of the NFL will decrease overall no matter what, which is a pretty shitty thing to say during Super Bowl week. Thankfully I have attempted to write it off as being Bernard Pollard so I’m not all that concerned, but he was still a dumbass for saying it.
Now let’s talk a little bit about our 44th president, Barack Hussein Obama. Earlier this week, Obama was asked how he would feel if he had a son who wanted to play football. He said that he would be a little reluctant to let his son play due to the level of violence in the sport. I’m not going to take this too seriously either, because 1) It’s Obama, I don’t listen to anything that he says anyway, and 2) although Obama is a sports fan, he’s also a basketball purist first so him going after football doesn’t really mean much. What bothers me here is that Team Barack is assuming that we should take his analysis as a presidential (or even a royal) opinion and that it means more than anybody else’s does. It doesn’t. He was asked about it, so it’s not like he just blurted it out midsentence but remember Goddell is a pretty staunch Republican so I’m sure Obama isn’t losing any sleep about whether or not the timing was poor.
2. Joe Flacco’s father’s comments about how he is “dull”
‘Joe is dull,’ Steve Flacco told the New York Times in a recent telephone interview. ‘As dull as he is portrayed in the media, he’s that dull. He is dull.’ Sounds like a ringing endorsement from Pops, doesn’t it? This is what I want to know: What would a guy have to gain from saying something like that about his son? I’d be willing to bet Goddell wasn’t thrilled about that, just like he probably wasn’t thrilled about anything else that’s happened over the past nine days including the Patriots losing. On Tuesday Flacco shook things up a little bit by saying that “playing Super Bowls in cold-weather climates is retarded”. Within seconds, this story was already buried on the back page behind all of the recent A-Rod steroid allegations.
And that right there ought to show you how lifeless this Super Bowl is. The least outspoken quarterback in the NFL used a word that is not supposed to be uttered due to its insensitivity towards the mentally challenged, and even with as sensational as the sports media is in this country (as well as the rest of the media in general) the story was almost over just as soon as it had started. It disappeared out of the Yahoo! top ten stories before dinner time, and it shows that maybe he’s so dull we’d rather forget the story as opposed to bringing his name up altogether. Where we currently sit with the media right now, that’s pretty rough.
3. Maybe it’s too soon to return to New Orleans for the Super Bowl
This may not have anything at all to do with sports, but let’s face it: Aesthetics play a huge part in how we select our entertainment in America. It surprises me that ESPN is shooting their day to day Super Bowl coverage outside as opposed to inside in a sound studio, because it looks terrible on television. Instead of a bunch of drunk college students standing behind College Gameday yelling a bunch of dumb shit, now it’s a bunch of drunk people in their mid-thirties that look like they could have their own half-episode of “Intervention” yelling behind Ron Jaworski’s cheeks and Herman Edwards’ angry stare.
Since Hurricane Katrina, there has been this resurgence of interest in returning the greater New Orleans area to glory. And since historically there have been many Super Bowls played at the Superdome, getting the big game back under the messiest tent in the shit bog has been priority for the NFL. But let’s face it, as a country we’ve really never had a whole lot of respect for New Orleans. We’ve always viewed them as victims of poor geographical design, especially when we consider the whole “city below sea level” thing. For a couple of years there were all sorts of people going down to New Orleans on work trips, fixing the city up and rebuilding what had fallen apart so fast. But then that eventually trailed off, and we went right back to using New Orleans for what we used it before the hurricane: A garbage can. I know this because when they show Bourbon Street on television, it’s still a wash of empty liquor cups and general party shrapnel.
So maybe we rushed the Super Bowl back to New Orleans too fast. I understand the gesture, but it just seems like something isn’t right with the city. Handling one of the biggest sporting events in the world is no small task, and that city could take decades to get back to where it once was. Especially when you consider how we treat it. It makes for a very depressing backdrop.
4. Both starting quarterbacks (although having great years) aren’t a whole lot of fun and aren’t larger than life NFL stars
When it comes to Kaepernick, there’s really nothing he can do about this. It’s his first year in the league, he doesn’t have the luxury of saying “I’ve been doing this for a while” and he certainly isn’t going to be strutting around like Namath guaranteeing a win. Flacco’s playoff numbers are off the charts, but he’s in a smaller market on a team known for their defensive prowess. And that team’s fan base can’t seem to get behind Flacco as a leader as long as Ray Lewis can put a uniform on, so we’re dealing with two soft-spoken individuals that are both team leaders but most definitely not showmen.
I have no problem with the players letting their work on the field do the talking, but that means you’re going to get some thoughtless interviews in the process. I’ve seen very little emotion out of either guy so far, so that’s another reason why the game isn’t garnering much interest amongst casual sports fans or those that might be on the fence.
5. Randy Moss just said he was the greatest wide receiver of all time and he didn’t get laughed right out of the press room
This came across the wire right when I was at this point, and it’s living, breathing proof that the media doesn’t hold any of these athletes responsible for some of the bullshit that comes out of their mouths. In case you’ve misplaced Moss’ whereabouts, he plays minimal downs as a wideout for the 49ers when they know they can get a heighth mismatch against their opponent. In my opinion, Jerry Rice will always be the greatest receiver of all time. And who did he play for? That’s right, the San Francisco 49ers. So not only is Randy Moss not the greatest receiver of all time, he’s not even the greatest receiver in the history of the franchise which he plays for.
Pretty crazy, huh? Now, combine that with what we mentioned earlier about Flacco using the word “retarded” and that gives us two unbelievably stupid things said during media day. And it still isn’t interesting. Flacco likely wasn’t thinking when he spoke, but Moss was so we have an example of each. Why didn’t somebody run right up to the microphone and say “No, no, no…just…NO!”? The sad thing about Moss is he probably DOES believe that he is the greatest receiver of all time, which probably doesn’t sit well with 49er fans. So that likely means he was the only person in that room who believed that, and nobody fell over with laughter. What a disappointment. I wonder if anybody was even paying attention…Perhaps since we have all of these recording devices by which to capture sound, none of the writers really took it in and it just went right over their head.
6. The odds of two brothers competing in the Super Bowl as head coaches is statistically minute, and that hasn’t even been able to generate a ton of interest
Think about that for a minute – three hundred and some odd million people living in the United States and two people from the same family are coaching against each other in the Super Bowl. Isn’t that incredible?
Do you care? I don’t.
Which is very bizarre, because when you think about it the Super Bowl is an event where you usually spend time with your family and friends. This should be a great opportunity for those of us who may not close to our siblings to let them know how much we care about them and appreciate their companionship.
It’s a nice thought, but we simply don’t think like that anymore. We’ll be so busy waiting for a fight to start or for somebody to get injured that there is no way that thought will creep into our heads. Plus if you do take a moment to let your brother know how much you appreciate him, you might miss somebody getting electrocuted during the halftime show.
Sometimes it’s not just one particular thing that can make a sporting event boring, and this is one of those cases. I could have probably gone even further with this, discussing how the Ravens have this sort of sad “last shot” at a Super Bowl, or perhaps any of the allegations that are taking place regarding what Ray Lewis is putting in his body. But the reality of it is that there are way too many things wrong with Super Bowl 47 for me to list here. I hope the game exceeds my expectations, which shouldn’t be a tall order because they aren’t very high to begin with.