Monday, January 23, 2017

I'm not planning on watching the Super Bowl BECAUSE I'm a sports fan.

Another weekend has come and gone and with it two pretty horrible NFL playoff games.

And I'm done with it.

I'm done giving time and money to a sub-par product that's had all of the joy sucked out of it by corporate lawyers, Roger Goodell's leadership and a group of owners who care less about the product on the field and more about PSL's and jersey sales. The NFL has made it's product unwatchable and frequently about as entertaining as jock-itch. Then they've released a compliant sports media with facts and figures which supposedly tell us that this is the best the league has ever been. They tell us that, as sports fans, we HAVE to watch the game because it's an American institution or something.

I say no.

I'm not going to waste my Sunday watching Tom Brady and the Patriots try and put one over on the league for having the temerity to punish Tom Terrific. I'm not going to listen to how wise Bill Belicheck is for doing nothing more than having the good fortune of coaching during the era of Brady, or how gritty the Falcons are under Dan Quinn.

I'm also not buying into the hype and spectacle that the game has become. I live in Houston, which means that we're about to bear witness to a city getting down on its knees and servicing a league for two straight weeks. And yes, I intended that metaphor to be graphic.

Because all the Super Bowl really is for the host city is a week of increased drug crime, drunk driving and prostitution.  There are "Pimp and Ho" parties and a host of other revelries that both objectify women and encourage criminal behavior, are sponsored by active players (almost always from teams that didn't make the playoffs) and have nothing to do with the actual game.

As a matter of fact, the Super Bowl itself has little to do with the actual game being played on the field.  It's a four-hour orgy of "look what a show the NFL can put on" this time featuring Lady Gaga of all people. We're constantly told, usually by media types who make their living covering the NFL, how good this is for a city, about the economic impact that a city gets, which is often negated by the increased tax expenditures required to put on the two-week extravaganza.

Houston has gussied itself up in an attempt to make people from around the US like them, really, really like them. Any compliment will be broadcast on local media as if it's the best thing said about any city ever. We'll be inundated with poorly sourced rumors of NFL officials saying how "great" a job Houston is doing, and how Bob McNair should be proud.

But it's all bunk. Because in the same breath those same NFL officials will express "concern" that NRG stadium (less than 20 years old FWIW) is "out of date" and "not competitive" with other, newer stadiums in the league and that, in order to ensure the money train keeps rolling, Houston is going to need to 'get serious' (i.e. spend tons of taxpayer money) to either improve NRG or pony up and build a new, more extravagant, Billion dollar complex so that the city can, one day, possibly get another NFL event that attracts even more prostitutes and drug dealers to town.

Of all the major sporting events that have come to town I dislike the Super Bowl the most. In large part due to the economic damage that it inflicts on the area, and the fact that it's more about stroking the egos of the NFL executives and less and less about the game itself.

I get that this sounds like little more than the 'get off my lawn' ramblings of an old man, but I think it's something entirely different than that. I'm a fan of sports and I enjoy watching, and attending actual sporting events. The Super Bowl is no longer a sporting event, and more a cocktail party for owners, b-list stars, local politicians and league executives. Because of this I will not be spending any more time writing on, or paying attention to, the NFL's annual circle-jerk. The ability to change the channel is about the only leverage we have left against the league, I hope more and more people decide to use it.

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