There was a time when I watched a good bit of professional football, on TV, of course. I watch very little now simply because interests change over the years, but, for another reason, also, to wit, too much time is lost in the process. Because of the inordinate commercialization of the sport, as well as time-consuming rules changes, the games are much too long. I pick games that involve certain quarterbacks and usually make it to the first commercial time-out, or maybe one during each team's first offensive run, then leave it for two or three hours, with maybe a check once in a while, and then catch maybe the final five minutes or so. The best plays will be re-broadcast even while the games are in progress, and I can catch the best action or not, with the attitude that it's no big deal anyway. When three or four minutes are used for commercials while the ball is being placed after a punt, an action requiring perhaps 15 seconds, I'm not sticking around.
The tawdriness connected to the games is a put-off, too. The scantily-clad cheerleaders, the non-singers who butcher the National Anthem, the trash-talking and/or strutting players making fools of themselves, the broadcasters who explain exactly what each coach/player is thinking and/or describing why the wrong plays are called and who made all the mistakes, the constant un-sportsmanlike conduct of the players - one could go on and on - create a mental and emotional atmosphere seemingly more directed to a hormone-driven sophomore boy than the average folks, though I may have the average folks figured wrong in this case. Smut is big in the country right now, and was nowhere better portrayed than in the halftime show at the Super Bowl of last year. I haven't been in the practice of watching the halftime shows and didn't see that one, but there's been plenty of information and demonstration regarding the huge magnitude of garishness and coarseness provided by the writhers and dis-robing "entertainers" who performed it. How much talent is needed to strip? Nudity is a feature of the local zoo, and the mentality of those who feature it elsewhere is roughly comparable to that of the inhabitants of said zoo.
This brings one to considering how things went this year. As usual, I didn't watch most of the game, and certainly not the festivities leading to it. However, I tuned in just in time for the opening ceremony, which honored the generation who fought World War II in this the 60th anniversary of the year of the end of that awful bloodletting. I also watched the halftime show because it featured Paul McCartney, and I'm a fan of his. The parade of survivors of that conflict, men in their late 70s and 80s and in some cases giving evidence of their years but with heads held high, was awe-inspiring. The National Anthem, instead of being flayed by some writhing non-singer flashing her belly button (and whatever else she could get away with) at the audience or some cat with greasy hair stringing down below his shoulders and screaming like a demon from hell, was delivered by the combined choirs of the service academies of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, accompanied by the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, thus receiving the dignity which it deserves. The flyover of the military jets completed an opening worthy of any undertaking.
The halftime show was McCartney at his best, with none of the screeching members of his ensemble jumping around like monkeys in a zoo, twanging their guitars and doing a writhing bump and grind or making obscene gestures of one kind or another with either their bodies or musical instruments. The lighting display was fantastic as was the use of pyrotechnics. Observing McCartney at the piano encouraging everyone to sing along with him on "Hey Jude" was a vast improvement over the sleaze presented last year. Perhaps the overwhelming outrage exhibited by not only the public, but the FCC itself, emanating from that exercise in moronic behavior has sent the message that folks want the event to be family-oriented, not designed for voyeurs at peep shows.
So…kudos to Super Bowl XXXIX.