February 1, 2011

Top Five Reasons Why I Will Be Watching the Super Bowl. ~Joe Yeoman

Photo by Avinash Kunnath

A Super Rebuttal.

Personally, 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 Bowl.

First, I would like to discuss the importance of football to me. When my mother was remarried, our step-family moved into our house. It was like two languages were being spoken at the dinner table; football became a means to communicate. From there, football transformed into a bonding experience. Now, I go home at the start of every season to “draft” in a family and friends fantasy football league (I know, nerd, right?).

To me, you can waste your day by skipping the Super Bowl if you like. It’s your decision, and I won’t lose any sleep over it. However, here are the reasons why I will be tuning into Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday:

1) Football is an Artistic Act.

While bodies fly around the field at super-human speeds, there is a chess match between the offense and defense. The quarterback and offense coordinator are in harmony. They look to create a balance between the run and the pass to get the defense on their heels. Hours and hours of practice and film watching goes into the preparation of each play. The quarterback and his receiver must become one, so that at the line of scrimmage Aaron Rodgers can nod to Greg Jennings and they’ll both know that a Post Route will beat the Bear’s Cover Two Defense (the safety sets back and the corner pushes the line—creating a bubble in the zone where Jennings can “sit” and catch pass after pass). It is a thing of beauty.

On defense, you will want to watch the battle between Dom Capers and Dick LeBeau and how they disrupt the other team’s offense. They will use zone schemes along with delayed blitz from their star players to force the quarterback into mistake. It isn’t about hitting Roethlisberger as hard as Clay Matthews can. Instead, it is about making Big Ben think that Mike Wallace has Man Coverage on the edge, when in fact, Nick Collins is getting ready to hawk a ball out of the air.

Photo by Steve Roman

Granted there is aggression—a literal battle between bodies. However, there is more to the preparation than the most viewers understand. The way the game is played—with complex zones, calculated blitzes, pass plays, and blocking schemes—favors studious players compared to the freaks of nature. Tom Brady, Payton Manning, and Drew Brees will always win the Super Bowl before a brute will.

2) Divas, Redemption, and Avoiding Jail Time, Oh My!

The NFL is the world’s greatest soap opera or reality television show. By handing 20-year-old boys multimillion dollar contracts, the league guarantees that they are giving adolescents the means to indulge their every desire. For the viewer, this means that we get weekly scandals because some player doesn’t understand that bringing a loaded gun into a nightclub, tucking it into an athletic short’s waistband, and leaving the safety off is a bad idea. Sometimes these adolescent behaviors are enjoyable to watch and create positive drama for the league: Brett Favre’s on again, off again retirement. Then there are actions that are absolutely despicable: Brett Favre sexting pictures of his penis to a reporter.

Take Michael Vick. What he did was awful. As a dog owner, I have a pit in my heart that aches for those dogs. But, as a pragmatic person, I want to ask if it is the league’s responsibility to do anything about it. The Falcons, his former team, dropped him; he went to jail; he served community service hours, etc. Is it the NLF’s fault for what he did? Or is it Vick’s upbringing, original socio-economic status, etc. that is to blame?

Players are citizens, and they should be punished as such. If a player does something illegal, like Vick, then they need to go to jail. But the NFL is a private entity and not a governing body. It’s task is to provide a product on the field; it’s the local law enforcement and prosecutors’ job to regulate what players do off the field.

You can be 100% opposed to the actions of an individual (as I am), but that doesn’t mean you can place larger blame on an institution. For every Roethlisberger, there are hundreds of players that are good men and shouldn’t be placed in the same category.

3) The Super Bowl Celebrates Community

For a town like Green Bay, football galvanizes the population into unity. Differences are put aside, and neighbors can rejoice together, because their Packers are headed to another Super Bowl. For Pittsburgh, it is the same thing. There is an immense amount of pride one can have for their city, state, or team.

When the Bears went to the 2007 SB, Chicago felt warm during a brutal winter. I was glad to be part of the city, and we all seemed happy. It was great, until we lost.

For me, the day offers an opportunity for my friends and I to go to a bar and hang out. While the game is going on, we try to have stimulating conversation, and it is joyous time. It isn’t about competition; instead, it is about togetherness.

4) It Stimulates the Economy

Photo by Glenn

The Dallas stadium will seat roughly 80,000 football fans on Sunday. That means that the Dallas area will experience a flood of tourist money. Each person will spend an estimated 3,000 to 12,000 dollars over the weekend. Dallas area businesses will see in influx of $240 to 960 million dollars from the ticket holders. (Just imagine how much the Steeler and Packer players will drop during their stays.)

For production sake, this means that hundreds of union laborers and local job seekers will be hired as teamsters, camera operators, ticket-takers, and extra-security (especially if the president is on site).

As for the commercials, their extreme cost helps drive business. For the film industry, cinematographers, actors, directors, and writers, this means that there actually might be jobs in places like Chicago and New York. With the Recession, the film industry has cut back; MGM even went through bankruptcy. For unknown, hardworking artists, jobs can come about with the rising production value and cost for each Super Bowl commercial.

As for the economy, the Federal Reserve Board uses the ads to help judge the state of the economy. This year, even though the price of each ad has dropped by half a million dollars, sales are up, and they are using this as an indicator that car, snack, and beer companies think that consumers will spend more money this year.

5) And it Allows Over-Consumption

It’s awesome to over indulge on the Super Bowl—it’s a holiday damn it.

It’s an American tradition.

All year, almost every hour of the day, I am bombarded with warnings of doom: Don’t eat eggs. Eggs are evil. Eat eggs four times a day. Eggs are godly. Such and such is bad for the environment. Don’t eat this. Don’t smoke that. Don’t use electricity. Don’t, just don’t, or the world will end.

Photo by Andrew Lin

While most of the year, I am conscious of what I put in my body and the impact I have on the earth; however, the Super Bowl is a judgment-free zone. If I want to wear an elastic waste band, eat grilled meats, and drink until I can’t see straight, then the Super Bowl is my day to relax and accomplish those goals.

Now, I am going to be responsible and not drive, and only eat farm-raised beef, and drink locally made beer. I just plan on consuming as much of a good thing as possible.

Bonus…What Else Are You Going to Do?

A few years ago, during the Ravens and Giants game, I did laundry because I was so bored.

What else is there really to do on a Sunday evening? Unless you live in a major city, most businesses will be closed. Other television programs dare not compete with the NFL. All of the bars will be filled with football fans.

It’s almost unavoidable. Instead of fighting it, my suggestion is to have a party to watch the game, and then you can control what you do when you aren’t watching the game. You can make it an “ironic drinking party”, much like I do with classic horror films. You can also control what you consume, etc.

I guess you could go for a walk or read a book, but I am warning you, that around the water cooler, people are going to be laughing about the new Bud commercial and that touchdown catch.

Joe Yeoman loves you. He is an MFA candidate at the Jack Kerouac School. As a displaced Chicago writer and editor, he hopes to see the Windy City soon.  You can contact him at Joeyeoman [at] gmail [dot] com.

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