Monday, February 2, 2015

Morning After Super Bowl Hangover: Just Run the F*cking Ball!!

When it comes to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory Mitt Romney has nothing on Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. With a Super Bowl win a virtual lock and the Seahawks having the ball on the one yard line with one time out and the best short yardage back in football, Carroll dialed up a play that will forever live in infamy. Rather than run the surly “Beast Mode” wrecking ball Marshawn Lynch for the winning score, Carroll ordered a pass play right into the teeth of the Patriots defense. It was intercepted
intercepted by a nameless rookie from a backwater Alabama college. Game over, the Patriots win it all and “Deflategate” gets flushed down the memory hole. Fans in Seattle were so stunned that they didn’t even bother to riot after the game.

Granted that the Super Bowl is just an overhyped football game where the biggest winners are the corporations able to produce the most effective sales pitch with their commercials. It is the bread and circuses of the modern era in an America on the downtrend but for sheer entertainment value it will be tough to beat what went down in Glendale, AZ last night. While it is my personal opinion that pro sporting events and sports team/athlete worship are given a disproportionate amount of importance in an America where celebrity is the coin of the realm, I admit that I am a longtime pro football fan. Super Bowl XLIX more than made up for the dismal 43-8 flogging administered by Seattle to the hapless Peyton Manning led Denver Broncos last year. It was truly a game for the ages and the botched call that delivered the championship to the fast and loose duo of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will be talked about for decades. It had to be the worst call in Super Bowl, if not NFL history. Suicide hotlines must have been overwhelmed in the Pacific Northwest last night.

The day after has the inevitable dissections of the game by the pundits and so-called “experts” but also the scoring of the commercials. This year’s ad spot costs clocked in at an average of $4.5 million for 30 seconds.  It has been a triumph of enormous proportions to not only get millions of Americans to so accept subtle brainwashing – the very purpose of advertising – but to tune into the Super Bowl just to watch the ads. I know many folks who do this and then babble about the inanities for days after the game is over. Most of the spots are perfectly crafted for a dumbed down public and feature silly, sexed-up Idiocracy style ads that hawk everything from soft drinks to high end automobiles.

Super Bowl advertising may have reached a nadir in terms of sheer tastelessness with the Budweiser farting horse spot years ago but 2015 will be remembered for a spot featuring the death of a child. That’s right, Nationwide Insurance actually ran an ad exploiting the emotions of Americans in order to sell their crappy insurance, not that tact can really be expected from an industry that engages in legal extortion. There was also manufactured celebrity Kim Kardashian in typically self-indulgent fashion hawking T-Mobile while taking “selfies” of her body. Toss in multiple commercials with shit blowing up and more celebrity swill and Monday water cooler conversations should have plenty of fodder.

What is rarely mentioned - especially not by the NFL - are the costs associated with the event, particularly the price of providing security. The Department of Homeland Security has classified the Super Bowl as a Level 1 security event and was pushing the "If you see something, say something" government snitch program in the Phoenix area. According to the computer security website "Naked Security":
Military assets will be used to patrol the airspace above the stadium, and the Federal Aviation Administration announced that the Super Bowl is strictly a "no drone zone."

On the ground, fans will see public awareness messages on billboards, in hotels, on buses, and within the stadium telling them: "If you see something, say something."

Naturally there will be screenings to gain entry to the stadium - spectators will go through metal detectors and patdowns by security guards - but fans will be monitored in other ways, too.

Phoenix-based Climatec announced that it had deployed high-definition cameras to provide "complete situational awareness" throughout the stadium.

The Secret Service will also be monitoring social media sites such as Facebook and Al Jazeera Blog, searching for keywords such as "black out," according to Nextgov.
Nuclear device-sniffing and BioWatch monitoring systems will be on hand to detect radiological or biological attacks.

And 4,000 private security personnel will supplement the 3,000 member local police force, who have all been trained in behavioral analysis to identify suspicious activity.
It's difficult to put a price tag on all this security, especially considering that the NFL and the federal government don't disclose how much it's costing.
While the costs are kept from the taxpayers the New York/New Jersey area in which last year's Super Bowl game was played reportedly spent upwards of $100 million for security and other associated outlays. But despite all of the security at Metlife Stadium, a 9/11 "truther" was still able to get into the post game press conference and hijack the microphone from MVP Malcolm Smith. As with the rest of the cash cow Global War on Terror (GWOT) all of the pricey "security" that taxpayers are socked for may not be as good as advertised.  The host city does indeed experience a temporary economic lift from the game but it may not be such a good deal when the final bill is tallied up long after the tourists have departed.

Once the clock struck zero, MVP Tom Brady pranced around with the Lombardi trophy wearing the smug look of a man who knows that Deflategate will now just fade away and that his legacy has been secured. The NFL’s crackerjack public relations wizards have been spinning all week to downplay what was very likely cheating by the Patriots organization. Influential New England owner Robert Kraft essentially threatened NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with the loss of his $44 million salary if he didn’t publicly apologize or in layman’s terms, kiss the asses of Kraft, Brady and Belichick. The latest on the scandal that should result in an asterisk being added to the Patriots' world champion title is that the league now claims that only one football was seriously deflated. They also have apparently settled on going with the “lone gunman” explanation by placing the blame on a doddering ball handler. But of course cheating pays in America, especially when combined with dumb-assery like Pete Carroll’s ill-fated passing play.

As loathsome as the Patriots may be for pushing the envelope on the rules, many likely enjoyed seeing the smack-talking Seahawks get their comeuppance. The team is a mouthy, undisciplined bunch that is always guaranteed to draw stupid penalties for their on field antics and cheap shots. Before Pete Carroll blew it with his decision to not run the damn ball, infractions greatly assisted the Patriots' fourth quarter comeback including a costly 15 yard personal foul penalty by Earl Thomas. Usually the defense is good enough to overcome the idiotic flags that they regularly draw but injuries and a big time performance by Brady cost them Sunday. And they still should have won the game if only they had run the damned ball.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin exemplified the classless attitude of the Seahawks with his end zone celebration where he took a pretend dump using the ball as his turd in the third quarter. This sort of thing used be funny back in junior high school but shows a disrespect for both the game and decent society. 

Then there is Lynch's crotch grabbing, Richard Sherman's antics and a myriad of other acts that are unprofessional and insulting. Who knows, maybe Lynch would have fumbled the ball trying to grab his balls before crossing the goal line anyway rendering Carroll's call moot. The post game fighting doesn't exactly portray the Seahawks as good sportsmen either.

Football season is now officially over.