Tag Archives: superbowl

Conflicting Interests and the Big Game

Another Super Bowl is done and despite the herculean last minute efforts by both teams, the game came down exactly as the prognosticators (read Vegas bookies) predicted it would. Funny how that happens. I’m not a big sports fan—never have been—and I usually only watch the teams for which I root. Since I live in Houston, I root for the Texans. Any other teams, I really couldn’t care less how they play or who they play and I rarely watch the games. In fact, I rarely watch the Texans because I have noticed that they lose the games when I watch. Of course, they lose the games I don’t watch too, so I’m not sure my strategy of support is working. It’s a moot point now anyway, as the Texans didn’t even make the playoffs this year. While the game had its intrigue, there are other shows on TV with more interest for me.

When I was younger, I watched the Super Bowl because my friends all did and I wanted to be able to talk about it with them the next day at school. This was before it became acceptable to miss work or school the day after the Big Game. Then, I watched primarily for the commercials, because the creativity if the commercials airing during the game were far superior to the regular commercials we were subjected to.

I spend most weekends, to my wife’s eye-roll, clearing out the week’s worth of recording on the DVR. Shows I missed because we were out, or because they aired opposite something else we watched or because the show came on after we went to bed tend to pile up. So, we were binge watching Unforgettable Sunday up until about 7ish. Once we finished the episode, I flipped over to the Super bowl just in time for the Half Time show. I thought the game started at 7, so I was a little disappointed that I missed the first half, not because I wanted to see the plays, but rather because I was expecting to see the commercials.

I’m not the world’s biggest Katy Perry fan. I have some of her music in the library, but there are only 2 or 3 songs of hers that I like, because I am not a teeny-bopper and I am male. Michelle holds her in slightly less esteem than I, even though we both acknowledge that she has an amazing voice and, if she wanted to, she could successfully sing much more mature songs very well. That having been said, I was very impressed with her Half Time show. It was a very elaborate and visually stunning technical achievement that used mechanics, pyrotechnics and holographics to accentuate the musical performance. One of the best aspects of the show, however, was that Katy actually SANG the songs, rather than merely dancing around half-naked to a pre-recorded track like Beyonce’s show last year. Big kudos to the half time show.

After the show, the second half started and I watched a couple of plays from both offenses and was impressed with the way the Seahawks were handling the Patriots in those few minutes of gametime. They stopped the drive with an interception and drove down the field for a touchdown to take a ten-point lead. I liked the way the running back fought through the line to get the yardage rather than falling down like a lot of modern players do these days. Impressive. Then it was time to switch over to something more interesting: Downton Abbey.

While the game I did see was good, and from all reports, the rest of the game was just as good, I had no dog in this hunt. I couldn’t get behind either team in this contest. Since Michelle and I have both become mad Downton Abbey addicts, we would rather watch Robert and Cora try to manage their wayward daughters while Mr and Mrs. Bates avoid a prison term for murder and Carsen and Mrs. Hughes flirt with each other in a stiff, starchy British way. It is the one show that exists on TV Michelle will look forward to watching.

Now that the football season is over for the next two weeks or so (there are those for whom the season never ends) I can look forward to watching shows when the schedule says they are going to start, rather than waiting for the game delays that mess up my DVR recording schedule.

If someone can successfully convince me that the NFL has gone back to the pure love of the game playing and officiating that isn’t predetermined by bookies and league officials, I may start watching games again. Maybe. Then again, maybe not. Depends if Downton Abbey is on opposite.

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How Do You Get To The Super Bowl?

The elaborate sensation that is the superbowl is touted as the culmination of America’s dream, if you listen to the NFL-sponsored, celebrity-voiced spots that introduce the game. Only the best teams get to the championship (just ignore the season stats for those other teams with better records)and the NFL spends tons of money hyping the event. Cities spend millions trying to win the honor of hosting the game with the hopes of generating even more in tourist revenue from fans that come to watch it. The Networks spend millions on broadcasting rights and technology to bring it into everyone’s home and then charge millions in airtime for the commercials. Everyone invests huge amounts of time and energy—except, it seems, the artists who sing the national anthem. In case you didn’t hear it, Christina Aguilera messed up the anthem.

In the midst of near record breaking winter storms across the nation and government changes in the middle east, America focuses its collective attention on something much more important and socially relevant: the superbowl (if you believe the hype). Now celebrating its 45th anniversary, the NFL championship game continues to garner more and more of the nation’s otherwise short attention span each year. Where once we just watched the game and it was over in just over two hours (this was before commercial timeouts), Sunday’s exhibition took the better part of the day with programming starting at noon and continuing until almost 9 pm from the pregame show through the game and the postgame festivities. There is also the halftime show which is another matter entirely, and the commercials which have become events all their own.

With all this attention, it seems that the artist given the honor of kick-starting the event by singing the National Anthem—our nation’s song, that song that represents all that our country can be—would want to turn in a performance worthy of the honor. Most people who are called upon to speak or sing or perform or whatever would do something to make certain their performance was as good as it could be like, oh I don’t know, perhaps practice? Or how about actually learning the lyrics of the song? The National Anthem has become something of a joke at sporting events it seems because of how often it is messed up by celebrity performers.

The tradition of singing the anthem is an old one and it happens at every professional and most semi-pro sporting events, where it is sung by local singers from high schools or churches or even locals artists. Even a three-year-old turned in a spectacular performance. These renditions are almost always done right, whereas the professional singers don’t seem to get it. Perhaps they think that, because they are celebrities, they don’t need to rehearse. Christina, perhaps you should have actually rehearsed. Maybe the instead of asking some big name celeb to sing the anthem, the NFL should actually hold auditions for the job. Artists should be lining up and vying for the chance to perform this significant song.

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Making the Right Choice

Superbowl Sunday has been about more than just the football game for several years as marketing companies use the event to debut the new clever ad campaigns. Many companies use the latest technology for special effects, others tell stories that span several commercials during the event, and some use the prime audience to put out a message. This year, one such message is drawing significant attention more than a week before the commercial is slated to air.

The spot was commissioned by Focus on the Family and features Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother relating the story of how his mother decided to carry Tim to term against her doctor’s medical recommendation. From reports on the commercial, it does not mention the word abortion or pro-life at any time during the spot. Yet the fact that CBS is airing the ad is polarizing the populous as it reopens an old argument that divides our country.

It is said that it takes two to argue. Many people try to take a peacemaker role by finding some common ground but find those efforts thwarted by rhetorical shifts in the message. In fact, in order to swing public opinion one way or the other, the two factions have given themselves positive names: Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. For this argument to truly meet head-on, the lines need to be drawn more clearly. If you are not Pro-Life, then you must be Pro-death. If you are not pro-choice, you must be anti-choice.

The argument of pro life vs. pro-choice is attacking the same issue from disparate platforms. The conflict of a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body versus the rights of the unborn can never meet on common ground because they are two different matters. Discussing the laudable premise of individual rights is one problem, and discussing the rights of the unborn is another.

Who shall tell a woman what she can do with her body? The body is considered by some the only true sovereign place left, a place where an individual has some degree of control. Or is it? Many people choose to smoke, yet legislation is in place in every state that limits smokers from indulging in their choice, and if the antismoking lobby gets its way, it will ban smoking for good. What about smoker’s right to choose? What about right to choose your diet? Foods fried in trans fats often taste better than other ways of cooking, but in several states, there are laws preventing people from buying them, since the restaurants can’t cook them. One phrase that pro-choice advocates repeat is “keep government out of my body,” but the government has been meddling in people’s bodies for years.

And is not the right to choose obviated in the choice to engage in unprotected sex? We make choices every day that may not be good for us. I love pie. A lot. I would eat pie at every meal if I could. If I choose to do that, however, I have to understand that there will be probable outcomes of getting fat or getting sick. Is it my right to be able to eat and not get fat? Is it a woman’s right to engage in unprotected sex and not have to deal with the consequences of that act?

That people will engage in sex is a given. We are human beings, driven by hormones and seeking pleasure, so sex is a common choice to satisfy those urges. Pro-choice advocates will say that teaching abstinence is unrealistic because of these urges. Kids will do what they will do and we have to have options to protect them from the consequences of unintended pregnancies. Perhaps they need better lessons in cause and effect. They need to learn that the choices they make may have life-altering consequences, and adults need to stop throwing their hands in the air and enabling kids to do whatever they want.

Free will and choice only goes so far before some level of responsibility has to come into play. If someone wants to engage in sex, one does so knowing that a possible outcome is a baby. Birth control devices abound that minimize the possibility of pregnancy. If the chance of failure is too great a risk, then abstinence is the only choice left.

Next blog: The other argument.

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