Super Bowl 2005

Note: As a run-up to the Super Bowl, click The Stem-Cell Quarterback> to read a short story about Coach Jubal Cornhusk and the university/pro gangs that roam the gridirons.

In a few days the annual orgy known as the Super Bowl will take place in Jacksonville, with the respective millionaires of the Patriots and Eagles attempting to knock the stuffing out of each other for big bucks, though that football-manufactured action will just be part of the observance, maybe not even the most important part. There was a time when the football game was the primary - practically the only - thing of interest, but now, especially as television has more and more taken center stage, the game is fitted into the slots between commercials and a halftime show designed primarily to satisfy prurient interests, the most notable being that of last year, when the accidental baring of a woman's breast was slipped into the muscular melee, probably to insure that anyone with the hormonal instincts of a high school sophomore would stay tuned.

There was a time when play continued after a team punted or scored, but now great gobs of time are necessary in positioning the ball (something requiring roughly 15 seconds) while, apparently, the refs await the go-ahead from the commercial-mongers that the last razor advertisement has been aired, or maybe the latest lingerie-cheesecake- creation has sizzled the boob tube in good order. Coaches never have to worry about players becoming tired, since the big-ad guys make it possible for them to rest after three or four plays. Official timeouts can be saved for the end of the half or the game, so that a half-hour can be used up in playing the last five minutes, making it possible for multi-mega-commercials to be aired at maybe a cool half-mil per sordid shot. Before long, a normal timeframe for a game will be some four hours or so. When the dust has settled, the spectators (whether sober or not) can fight the traffic for a couple hours while the home viewers rate the beer commercials, settle their bets, and engage in explosive burps caused by a 4-hour (or half-day if all festivities are included) inordinate intake of booze, beverage, and junk food of all descriptions. Whole neighborhoods have been known to vibrate with the sounds, and not a few erupting in flames from the gas.

Taunting and teasing, as well as celebrating, are more entertaining than the game. Trash-talk is considered on a par with Shakespeare in terms of art, and the players have developed the mostly illiterate vulgar-speak into very fine art. A player making a tackle can still be seen doing the crotch-hop through the opposing team's backfield, pointing to himself and then to God and then to the spectators (as if to say "I'm the real man, y'see."), and telling the fallen quarterback in no uncertain terms what a low-life he is and how unworthy he is to be on the same field with a genuine he-man. After making a touchdown, a player's teammate will treat him to a chest-banger, causing each to fall backwards, or give him a straight-arm to the helmet, rattling his teeth, but making it plain to the crowd that a veritable god has just descended from Mt. Olympus. The lucky scorer will jump into the crowd for some back-slapping worship or whip out his cell phone and call his girl-friend or groupie from the end-zone and tell her what a package from heaven he actually is (and maybe make a shack-up date while he's at it). For their part, the ever-present scantily-clad cheerleaders will flash their navels (and anything else that wiggles, nearly all of it bare) at the crowd and writhe their pom-poms with a skill that bespeaks bumping and grinding carried to a fine extreme, sort of addressing the spectators as a woman of the night might do on a downtown street corner.

Coaches will "prowl the sidelines," as the reporters would have it, and talk into their headphone microphones to their partners in crime (known as coordinators or whatever) up in the press box (or maybe to some gal in Kalamazoo - who knows?), said partners ostensibly devising ways to outdo the opposing team, but more likely just eating free hot dogs and getting in out of the weather. Sportscasters, always lucky enough to get in out of the weather, will tell viewers exactly what the viewers are watching and explain why it was the wrong thing to do, or reminisce about the days when they played and it was a man's game. For their part, the referees, field judges, linesmen, umpires, timekeepers, etc., ad infinitum, have increased their number to an extent that one wonders if they will eventually outnumber the players. They still must be extremely careful, lest a coach call for a replay that will prove them wrong before all those in the stands and the supposed millions watching the tube, not to mention the sportscasters who will instantly pronounce them either insane, lucky, or roughly equivalent to the Oracle at Delphi. After a penalty flag is thrown, there will be a conference, perhaps like one in the Congress or a jury room, and the various positions of the refs will be examined/argued/withdrawn, etc., until consensus is reached and the verdict announced to the crowd - while the commercials go on and on.

Yeah, it's Super Bowl time, and insignificant things such as war, poverty, terrorism (except that of the players), decorum, civility, and unselfishness will be pushed to the background while the millionaires strut and do their thing of actual value, the most important of which will be a swift concussion delivered to either quarterback…or maybe a broken leg to a wide receiver - anything to promote a good cause.