Q: Is there too much hype proceeding the Super Bowl?
A: It is threatening to turn the Super Bowl into TV Wrestling.
This year's Super Bowl was an exciting game. This comes as no surprise because football is a great game, and like all games there will be one-sided contests, mediocre ones, and some really super.
What started out some years back was the big game to decide the NFL Championship. Now the Super Bowl has been promoted to a combination of gladiatorial combat, a Hollywood extravaganza, and a Madison Avenue bonanza.
The advanced promotion makes Barnum & Bailey's 3-ring circus look like a church picnic puppet show.
Starting immediately after the regular NFL season, and lasting for two weeks, the Super Bowl is given an overt staging that would pale plans made at Portsmouth, England prior to the Allies Invasion at Normandy.
Sports announcers go into a Super Bowl hypnotic euphoria. They invoke a pregame biopsy that would embarrass the brain surgeons at the Mayo Clinic.
Coaches from all over the nation are called in for their clinical X's & O's
seminars. No-nothing celebrities appear with their vapid opinions. Any Super Bowl game ever played is reviewed, and given more scrutiny than The Battle of the Bulge, or Noah's Flood.
Virtually every player is interviewed resulting in more platitudes than a decade of political conventions; and a litany of "you know's " that would stretch from coast to coast.
Running out of superlatives, last week "American Profile" wrote a stirring story about the Super Bowl Groundskeepers. What next, the inside scoop on the Super Bowl restroom attendants?
Intermingled in all of this hoop-la is blatant commercialism. How many $millions will be spent on Super Bowl ads? Which ad will attract the most attention, or be the funniest, or the most ridiculous, or the most vulgar? The suspense builds as the game approaches, and then hyperventilates at game time with the endless time-out interruptions.
Given the same attention is the impending half-time show. Before, and after, Janet Jackson kept us "abreast" of things, the Super Bowl half-time has become more an explosion rather than entertainment.
This years show was a mixture of pyrotechnics, strobe-lighting, mirrors, smoke, streaks, and flashes. The so-called choreography for the dance numbers were instead burlesque bumps and grinds, with indecipherable song lyrics, and backed by an equally incoherent rap.
It makes you long for the old marching bands, talented singers who don't screech, jugglers, acrobats, clowns, Mickey Mouse, anything , anything, but this barrage of hip squiggling and fireworks.
Finally, finally, the monumental day arrives. Even the Weather Channel starts a countdown: Ten hours til Super Bowl!! Then five hours!! Then one hour!! The suspense in unbearable.
The players come forth through smoke and a cannonade from ominous looking tunnels looking like tattooed Visigoths emerging from the bowels of hell - this time not to attack the Roman Empire - but to play a GAME.
Football is a great game, but the super-hype of the Super Bowl edges it closer and closer to the phoniness of TV wrestling: A classic example of sensationalism over substance.
Speaking this time of class over sensationalism: There
is always Stan Musial. Thanks to Brian Mitchell for
printing the great tribute to Stan that was written by
the St. Louis Post Dispatch's Dan O'Neill. Brian himself
referred to Musial as the Cardinal Nation's "Five-Star
General." How appropriate. Former baseball commissioner,
Ford Frick, said it best when he looked at the statue of Musial
that stands outside Bush Stadium. "Here stands baseball's
perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight."
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