Look, I love football. And I, like so many of my compatriots, will be sharing buttspace with family, friends and random people I don't know to pledge fealty to the marketing behemoth and semi-national observance that is the Super Bowl.
I recognize that I'm as guilty of perpetuating the current status of the biggest single exhibition of entertainment on the American television calendar. But I'm still capable of calling you out, Super Bowl.
And it's not even the game, it's the event. It's the buildup. It's the coverage. It's everything.
Much about the Super Bowl has plunged to the bottom of American culture in the search for as many lurid and ephemeral avenues to our most lowbrow instincts. Those things do that well. The things that don't stick to to those that do, a "Slim Pickens riding the nuke"-esque dive into our collective stupid.
Allow me, if you will, some observations of all the things I find (or know that I will) stupid about Super Bowl XLVII.
Ray Lewis/Ray Lewis the Stabbing Stabber/The Holy Rev. Preacher Upon High Ray Lewis/Deer Antlers Ray Ray
Ray Lewis requires complexity in analysis. On one hand, he's one of the best players in the history of the NFL. On the other, he was undoubtedly involved in a double murder the night after the Rams beat the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV (though, and I know as much as people like a famous scapegoat some of y'all won't like this, he almost certainly didn't personally kill anyone).
What's been insufferable, however, has been the transformation of Ray Lewis from an intimidating football Cthulu to the weeping pastor who credits God for making his farts smell like berries and thinks traffic is the Devil's handiwork. And above all, Ray Lewis wants you to know that God cares about Ray Lewis. And so does Ray Lewis.
I'm not trying to turn the comment section into some theological argument. People ruffled when Tebow brought religion into football. Ray Lewis brings it in, slathers some on top, puts your holy football world on the altar, cries, and then offers his tears to the Lord making damn sure you're watching as the cameras zoom in. It's bubblebath religious hucksterism, and to see it from one of the most impressive football players ever is stupid. Really stupid.
Plus he probably sprayed deer antler fuzz on his tongue. I have no other comment than to observe how insanely stupid that is.
Colin Kaepernick aka Johnny 5
"Have you heard about the pistol offense? It's the future of football, I tells ya! Everybody's gonna be runnin and gunnin it just like Colin Kaepernick. He's really something special to watch when he gets going. He's fast, and he can really throw. I can't wait for my team to get a Colin Kaepernick and turn up the jets."
For about 75% of you, someone at the Super Bowl party you're attending is going to paraphrase that. For the other 25%, they'll recite that verbatim.
I don't deny that the pistol wrinkle offers a layer of offensive versatility. And I recognize that Colin Kaepernick has found success in implementing an option read scheme that takes advantage of his plus skills both in running the ball and in the passing game. This isn't going from parchment to smartphones. It's still football. If anything, it's implementing things like trap and wham running games...which isn't anything new.
But people are easily confused, especially as the bandwagon grows throughout the fall into winter. So in the end, instead of focusing on Chris Ault and Greg Roman and football, we'll be talking about how Colin Kaepernick is some kind of footballing Johnny 5 forged by scientists. Stupid.
Because of the success of the 1990s (mostly) in crafting seminal marketing works that shaped our view of pop commercialism in the last 10 years without actually advancing any brand identity, we've found a way to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a couple hours of commercials that, largely, really really suck.
Three frogs saying the syllables of a beer. Dogs. Boobs. Kids. They write themselves at this point. If we found out that the last decade of Super Bowl commercials were created by a big computer at DARPA, none of us should be surprised.
Every commercial now relies on a sight gag or a one-liner to wrap up your joke in a nice little package. Mosquito eat Tobasco-blood go boom! Peekaboo!
The Pre-Game and Halftime Entertainment
Bleach and fire by the metric tonne, if you please.
THE TWO HEAD COACHES IN THE SUPER BOWL ARE BROTHERS?! HOLY FRIJOLE THAT'S SO UNLIKELY. HEY DO YOU THINK THEY HAS GOOD HEAD COACHING FOOTBALL GENES IN THEIR BLOOD? DO THEY HAVE A THIRD BROTHER WHO CAN COME COACH MY FAVORITE TEAM? CAN WE RUN THE PISTOL TOO? BUT I ONLY WANT THEM IF THEY ARE PASSIONATE AND SCREAM AND JUMP AROUND A BUNCH. IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE THAT THEY HAVE HUMAN EMOTIONS?
I love football. And I love NFL football. And after this, it's all over. That's pretty stupid too, if you ask me.
So let's just admit that this whole shatshow is going to be really stupid, but at least there will be football. Even the stupidest thing on Earth deserves our focus if there will be football.
But then it needs to stop.
Because when it's all over, someone has to rub Ray Lewis while he hugs you on camera.
And it's not going to be me.