By Mike Gold, a retired entrepreneur living the dream in the Pacific Northwest.
Editor's note: You may notice that this article has been updated from a February 3, 2017, article that Mike wrote.
The alternate name of the football game next weekend comes from my wife. In many people’s viewpoint there is nothing so special about a bunch of 250 lb or more men running around trying to hit their opponent into submission and/or unconsciousness?
One might think that the significance of this game will determine the future of mankind! In fact, the game is more about advertising and marketing than an actual football game. One should admire the success with which the National Football League has built this game up into an event that should remind us of the ancient games in Rome. However, there are no chariots or gladiators. (Although many broadcasters of this game have referred to the players as “modern gladiators.”)
Let’s start with the buildup to the game. Next Monday evening, they will have a “players night” at which players from both teams were interviewed on a program on one of the major television networks. Worse than the actual interviews (more below) is the “shilling” of this event all day long on the same network.
“Be sure to tune in at 8:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time) to hear Tom Brady and Jared Goff expound on subjects all vital to the outcome of the game!” What I simply can’t believe is this is held in the Super Bowl Stadium in Atlanta. It is expected that ten thousand fans will show up!
There they will hear Brady and Goff answer questions such as, “What do you do in your time off?” and, “What do you think will be the keys to the game?” The only question we probably won’t hear is, “What is your favorite color?”
My favorite answers to these and other vapid questions comes from the classic movie "Bull Durham." In that film, Kevin Costner gives advice to an up and coming pitcher who will most likely make it into the major leagues. The pitcher, played by Tim Robbins, learns from a master.
Costner is the “master” at answering normal questions typically asked of any major league player. Answers that mean absolutely nothing and are a complete waste of time. Such as, “We’re going to play as best we can” and, “We gotta play them one day at a time.” Also, “I’m just happy to be here and hope I can help the ball club.”
A good question is who will actually tune into such a completely and utterly stupid program? If you are interested in such drivel, instead of watching this, why not go out and watch your grass grow? It is probably just as informative.
Worse than these wastes of time are the never-ending promotions for and during the game. It now costs about $5 million for a 30 second commercial. In fact, more good work goes into the commercials than the actual game.
They start airing the “best of” commercials this week. I do find these commercials very entertaining. They are usually funny, extremely well written and acted, and often have a secondary point other than selling the actual product. (For example, one of this year’s ads promotes the idea of immigration – a hot point in the current political environment.)
I’m hoping that Maroon 5 (I give up, who is this?) does not turn the half time show into a major political speech. After all, clearly she knows more about politics than any of our current or former politicians (NOT!).
Uh oh! too late. Those who passed on the opportunity to perform include Rihanna, Pink and Cardi B. Rihanna refused as a sign of support for Colin Kaepernick, whose protest of racial and social inequality has been a focal point of discussion in the NFL for more than three years.
Here is the heart of the matter, at least as I see it. Why would you allow an event, a football game, to become the center of your life, even for a few days? My answer is that I don’t. Here are some thoughts by some media people on why the Super Bowl is so important.
Now for those of you who don’t know, my wife and I spent over 30 years living in the greater Boston area. So naturally we are Patriot fans. On the day of the game, we’ll probably watch it.
But you know what? Other than seeing who wins the game, you can actually watch the highlight reel of the game and in, perhaps, a minute or so you can see every score, interception and important play of the game. That from a four-hour extravaganza.
Sheesh! I think I’ll head out to my lawn and watch it grow.