Monday, February 01, 2010

The Whole Bowl Game

OK, my fellow Americans, everyone into the pool.

It’s time for a well-earned respite from our weary world. It’s time to forget, at least temporarily, about the economy, health care, terrorism, to look away from the grim faces of Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.

It’s time to put our brains in neutral. It’s time for the Super Bowl.

That’s right, folks. The event that defines American Excess like no other is just a week away. Starting this week, millions of our fellow countrymen will sit slack-jawed and gimlet eyed while a thousand hours of broadcast hype
rolls over them like a thick fog.

This year’s game promises to be a titanic, a game for the ages, a match so thrilling in its concept and execution that the mere act of watching it will provide an eyewitness to history. Of course, they say that every year but what the heck.

In one corner are the Indianapolis Colts, whose quarterback is the football equivalent of the Colossus of Rhodes. Peyton Manning, to hear tell, is seven feet tall, has an IQ of 200 and threw 400 touchdown passes this year.

The Colts will play the New Orleans Saints. Nobody much cares who plays for the Saints. The important thing is that they represent a city that invented jazz, the cover charge and massive public drunkenness. No real self-respecting saint would be caught dead in this town.

On the other hand, it was taxpayer dollars that put the city back together after Hurricane Katrina so I guess we all have a rooting interest here.

All Super Bowls are referred to by Roman numeral. This year’s game is Super Bowl XLIV which sounds like a personalized license plate. Personally, I think they ought to carry through the Roman numeral theme completely. First downs would be Ist and X. Game scores would be, for example, XXI to XIV. Players would wear Roman numerals on their jerseys (except the Romans forgot to include zero which is problematic).

The festivities usually start with a painfully long pre-game show in which a bunch of former players and coaches engage in verbal wet towel snapping while astounding the audience by saying nothing of substance for hours on end.

Members of the media will swarm over third string linemen, back-up long snappers and assistant trainers looking for that one that one quote, that one angle that will distinguish their story from a thousand others. And fail.

Players will say it’s “gut check time,” that they need “to give 110 per cent,” that they’re ready to “shock the world,” that they will “leave it all out on the field.” If they lose, “the other guys wanted it more.” If they win, they will insist God wrote their game plan.

Pre-game ceremonies include the entire 82nd Airborne Division parachuting into the stadium to re-create the Liberation of Paris. Halftime will feature U2 singing mournful songs about social injustice accompanied by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the massed musicians of the New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston and Wala
Wala Symphony Orchestras and the Bolshoi Ballet.

This will be followed by Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly reciting the Bill of Rights while lashed together with leather straps. As they do, a squadron of deadly Predator Drones will fly slowly over the stadium, daring anyone to leave.

The game which will be like watching paint dry because both teams will be playing not to lose rather than to win.

That’s why commercials are so popular during the Super Bowl. This year’s lineup includes beer ads aimed at 20-year-old guys, commercials for high-tech equipment or companies that nobody will understand or remember, and snack food and soft drinks ads wrapped around commercials for cholesterol lowering drugs.

But enjoy it while you can. The landscape is already changing. An anti-abortion spot and an ad for a gay dating site are already in the works. Next year, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court striking down limits on corporate spending on political advertising, guess what we’ll be watching? You’ll miss the Dorito ads.

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