Top Five Reasons I Won’t Be Watching the Super Bowl.

Via on Jan 31, 2011

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Time when people gather around a large television and watch brawny men run back and forth across a field for 4 to 5 hours in an attempt to cheer on the team that makes it over the final white line the most.

I am aware that most people really enjoy this and many people will probably argue with me on why I am wrong, and how sports create team spirit, team building, unity, excitement, conversation, and how it’s a national pastime (which is certainly where I’d rather it be, in the past).

It’s fine with me if other people want to waste this Sunday watching the “big game,” it’s a personal decision, but here are some reasons why I’m not going to and maybe this year, you’ll change your mind too.

1) Football is Simulated War

And the Super Bowl is the pinnacle, the last battle for all the glory, wealth and pride. It’s a form of ritual violence. Football is strategic in the same manner that a battlefield is.  And it’s perpetuated over and over again, season after season. It’s not a substitute for war; it makes us tolerate war a bit more because we grow to understand the ideas of hierarchies, teams, allegiances; we tolerate and often enjoy the underlying violence, the will to win under any circumstance, the hyper aggression. In my mind it’s all a direct correlation to accepting the wars off the field and I don’t support it.

2) Rapists, Dog Killers and A**holes, Oh My!

The NFL doesn’t seem to care what their players do or what happens to them when they’re done (hmm sounds very militaristic to me) as long as they make them plenty of money while they are there (and of course, win win win at whatever cost).

In a recent article on Jezebel, “Sexual Assault and the Super Bowl”, the author discusses the rape charges and sexual assault charges on plenty of NFL players as well as NFL players general misconduct.

The Super Bowl isn’t the only place to find player misconduct, though. According to a 1998 study entitled Pros And Cons: The Criminals Who Play In The NFL, more than one in five NFL players has been accused of at least one serious crime. The study’s more than twelve years old at this point, but has anything in the culture surrounding football shifted enough to change the epidemic it exposes? It shouldn’t come as a shock that a sport that gathers exceptionally large men together and encourages them to be aggressive has a complexion dotted with horrifying blemishes.

And what about Michael Vick, he can go to jail for 19 months because of a dog fighting scandal and then we can all just forgive, forget and give him endorsement deals?

These types of behaviors, rape, sexual misconduct, animal abuse, etc. should not be tolerated or shrugged away. It reinstates the whole, “boys will be boys” notion—the phrase of which doesn’t even make sense—boys will be however we expect them to be and we can’t accept or support people who purposely harm other life for their own personal gain.

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3) The Super Bowl reinforces Hegemonic Masculinity

Football players show men how to be “real men.” William Harryman talks about this in his article “In Defense of Jay Cutler: Rejecting the Bogus Man Code.” Men have to be so totally opposite of women so as to not come off being seen feminine in any way as that would be the death of their masculinity. And the death of them. Manly men couldn’t go on living in a world that didn’t respect them, that thought them weak, and oh my, emotional.

The dominant masculinity of our time is disgusting. Men and women both deserve the opportunity to explore all sides of themselves—the strong side, the emotional side, no one should be boxed in to behave a particular way, especially when “the way” is so limiting and so destructive.

Football teaches men that aggression, anger, and violence is what it takes to be successful. If one goes outside of those boundaries they are no longer manly, they are no longer masculine, they are no longer accepted. I cannot tolerate this type of shaming, guilt inducing, categorizing of people.

4) It’s the (Second Most) Ultimate Capitalist Holiday

The people who don’t really care about the game, care about the commercials. Really? Commercials? The parts of television we all try to avoid by getting tivo or Netflix? On the day of the big game we also celebrate advertising at it’s finest. If one wants to believe that advertising is fine. And I don’t.

I don’t want to buy a new car, Xtra Cheesy Doritos, Budweiser or whatever else companies are wasting millions of dollars trying to sell me. I wouldn’t mind if those companies would use their billions of dollars to actually do something good instead of wasting it on a 30 second commercial that they’ll only probably air one time.

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Viewers of the Super Bowl expect commercials now as a form of comedy entertainment between acts of violence. The commercials break up the seriousness of the simulated war and they make viewers feel better by knowing that when it’s all over they can still go out and buy things. The commercial entertainment unites citizens no matter if their team wins or not.  They can all laugh over that one great ad on Monday. Now that’s something we can all cheer about.

5) And it Glorifies Over-consumption

Isn’t it quite contradictory how on New Years day many people make resolutions to eat better, exercise more, become better people, and by the time the Super Bowl comes around many if not most of these people are scarfing down nachos and guzzling cheap beer?

It’s okay to over indulge on the Super Bowl—it’s a holiday for goodness sake.

A holiday of being lazy, fat, and gross. The American Dream. Watching other people workout on a field while eating large amounts of food. Go ahead, have your 87 different types of processed cheese nachos, smothered in lard-based chili and walloped with sour cream; go ahead take a drink of beer every time they say “yard-line,” but don’t forget to follow it by shoving down all of the different fried concoctions available, fried potatoes, fried okra, fried bacon, fried snickers, fried butter. Fried food is not just for the county fair anymore.

No thanks, I’d rather read a book, listen to good music, or go for a walk. Which is what I’ll probably be doing next Sunday, while the rest of America works on its collective heart attack and its love for perpetual violence.

About Krystal Baugher

Krystal Baugher lives in Denver. She earned her MA in Writing and Publishing and her MA in Women and Gender Studies from DePaul University/Chicago. She is the creator of Mile High Mating, a website dedicated to helping people "do it" in Denver and beyond. You can find her on facebook and twitter (as long as you aren’t a stalker).

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26 Responses to “Top Five Reasons I Won’t Be Watching the Super Bowl.”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jack Daw, Red Fox. Red Fox said: Top Five Reasons I Won’t Be Watching the Super Bowl. http://bit.ly/eSx3pq [...]

  2. Lindsey Block Lindsey B. says:

    Love this, Krystal! I'm right there with you…not watching the superbowl.

  3. anon says:

    poorly written, myopic, and sexist. this article is full wild generalizations about athletes and men. this article might have been worth a read if the ideas and language didn't sound like the intro to an undergrad gender studies textbook…

  4. jdk says:

    Thanks for this fresh perspective. Some things to think about. I do love the game, but I won't be able to see it this year as I will be in yoga teacher training courses all day. And the commercials are pretty wild. A company can spend up to a million dollars for a 30 second spot to be aired at half time. That was the going rate for a small boutique I worked for back in 2000. Who knows what they pay now days! Imagine one 30 second spot devoted to some charitable cause like preventing child abuse or alcohol addiction or obesity rather than soda or beer or a vehicle. I agree with you on many points. The violence, the turning a blind eye to conduct of manly men, etc.

    Here's a thoughtful TED talk given by Tony Porter you might find intersting: http://www.ted.com/talks/tony_porter_a_call_to_me

    • steig says:

      Thank you so much for posting the link to that TED talk. I just finished watching it, it is so powerful and so appropriate to watch and think about during this Super Bowl time.

    • yogiclarebear says:

      Yes, awesome vid, thanks for posting!

  5. michele says:

    Excellent TED talk, thank you for sharing.

  6. SriDTMc says:

    Michael Vick deserves to be forgiven. Yes, dog-fighting is a cruel endeavor, but the man forfeited millions of dollars, spent 19 months in prison (not jail, prison) and has done everything that could possibly be asked of him in terms of showing genuine remorse and rectifying the situation. PETA (for whom Vick is now a national spokesman) says that the Vick case might have been the best thing to ever happen in terms of exposing dog-fighting rings around the country. Try to remember that Vick is a human person, deserving of compassion like anyone else. What he did was wrong, but it is also wrong to forever vilify him for something for which he has shown sincere regret, both in word and deed. For me, his story is one of the most inspiring, uplifting stories to come out of the NFL in years. All reports are that he is truly a changed man. His work and study ethic are above and beyond what they once were, and he is now poised to potentially become one of the all-time great players the league has ever seen. So please, relax on the Vick issue. Have some forgiveness in your heart instead of taking the easy path of projected vilification.

  7. [...] The Superbowl, the world’s greatest holiday, is bearing down on us. As a countdown, I will be supplying you, America, with a daily blasts about the NFL, Parties, and the SB. ~ Joe Yeoman [...]

  8. Don says:

    I agree about Michael Vick, he seems to be genuinely remorseful and regrets that painful episode in his life. However, I do agree with every other point you make in the article, particularly with the Roethlisberger being able to play after his abominable, under-punished behavior.

  9. SriDTMc says:

    Have you ever played sports? If so, how did it make you feel?
    I ask because the many athletic teams of which I have been a part have all provided powerful occasions for learning lessons about my self and about how to interact more harmoniously with the physical world and the people around me.
    When I watch sports, I see a complex dynamic of personalities in a pressurized situation that has the potential, in a flash, to reveal the true nature of any individual or team participant. This true nature is exposed to the mindful spectator, yes, but also, and more importantly, to the athlete(s) his/her/them-self.
    Who was it who said, "you learn more about a person in an hour of play than you do in a year of work."
    This, in my experience, is very true.

  10. Funny post. I'm in the mood for fried chicken.

  11. Funny post! I definitely agree with the over-consumption…man, I can only imagine the pizza and burger profit! Ha!

  12. Blissful Girl says:

    Game time is a great time to go grocery shopping, you practically have the store all to yourself! You could probably do yoga in the aisles and no one would care!

  13. justnotintoit says:

    Here are my five reasons: 1) don't own a tv, 2) sold programs to the Superbowl at Stanford when i was 15, done my duty, 3) still have flashbacks to the years spent trying to drown out the couch-burning fanatics outside my windows in Boulder 4) still have flashbacks to having to wait my lottery turn (and losing) for biology classes i sorely needed after the football players got 1st pick, and to taking a Jewish Lit class in a former locker room of the football stadium in Boulder, and 5) i think the testosterone train will go on quite happily without me….

    • Scott Robinson YesuDas says:

      You know, I grow weary of hearing the word "testosterone" used as a put-down, a dirty word, a way of dismissing men out of hand. That sort of thing, to paraphrase Edwin Newman, passes for thought while actually camouflaging its absence. It's lazy and sloppy, to say nothing of unjust.

  14. [...] I agree with everything Krystal Baugher mentions in her article “Top Five Reasons I Won’t Be Watching the Super Bowl.” This article is a rebuttal to her argument against the Super [...]

  15. Joe Yeoman says:

    Krystal, I just posted a rebuttal: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/02/top-five-r

    Also, I want to comment about the fact that I agree with the over-consumption section.

    If you want to see some weird stuff, in the off season, watch the clips from teams pro-days: like the University of Miami. Then watch the videos during the rookie Combine (http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-draft/09000d5d816cde0e/2010-Combine-workout-Joe-McKnight).

    The closet thing it resembles is from the old slavery days when buyers would survey "the product". It is actually really, really weird to watch these old, white owners and managers gush over the muscles on some running back.

    Joe Yeoman

  16. Jax says:

    Never did understand the watching of so called sports on TV… Happy to say I will be flying across the Atlantic that day. Maybe my flight will be empty!

  17. samgeppi says:

    Well.. I for one am shocked that a modern woman pursuing higher values and self-identity does not watch the Super Bowl or like football.

    Wow.

    I am floored by this!
    :)

  18. Jenya dd says:

    Thanks for the article. I think the most relevant point is the lack of character accountability for modern athletes, and people in general. What happened to sportsmanship?

    • Joe Sparks says:

      We need to transform organized sports from a greed and profit based activity centered around the false goal of "winning" against another human being, into an activity based on cooperation, overall human unity, mutual respect, and fun.

  19. smh says:

    so your contention is that athletes are rapists and scoundrels and that voluntary competitive sport is synonymous with warfare. ever heard of cassius clay? know what why even waste the time, you're far more ignorant and close minded than most of the people you're judging in this self righteous, annoying article. i forget how out of touch and smarmy boulder is sometimes.

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