George Carlin put it best when contrasting the game of Football to Baseball:
In baseball, there's a very pastoral, almost serene feeling. During a football game, there are at least seventeen occasions when you feel inspired to take the life of a fellow human feeling. Preferably a complete stranger
This year I managed to have some friends over. New as well as becoming not so new. We had muchly food, good camaraderie and more interest in the actual game than planned. As I posted yesterday... a long shot bet actually paid off. An admission about that bet. I've been putting a side bet on the Steelers every year for about the past 5 years. Humourously, this was the worst odds I'd bet them at and the year that I actually had the most faith.
This time of year also bolsters interest in commercials. I appreciate that. One of my (many) majors (that I jumped between and never finished) in college was Radio/TV Production. I had several classes that dealt with advertising. The Superbowl over the years influenced the production of my two favourite commercials of all times. Apple's "1984" and Coke's "Mean Joe Green." The former is still considered to this day by experts in the industry to be the all-time best commercial. If you've never seen these commercials I strongly suggest you look at AOL Sports multimedia Poll for your all-time favourite commercial.
This leads directly to my comments about this year's commercials. I hate to say it... but apart from the condiment pile of burger girls... Nothing really stood out. Hell, even that one really didn't do a hell of a lot for me. The one that came closest I can only describe as "Sheep Streaker" and the problem I had with that one was that the campaign had a better commercial during the playoff season. (Horses playing football are waiting patiently. A kick is seen under a hoof. The commercial rewinds several times. We pull out to see a Black and white striped animal with its head in a replay booth. One cowboy says, "That ref is an ass"; the other replies, "Nope, I'd say that's a Zebra."
Yeah, there were some laughs. But nothing really actually endeared me to a product. Which advertisers really seem to have forgotten. Personally, I think the company that missed out on an absolute coup that would have won the superbowl commercial race was Bravia. Had they run their flat screen TV commerical the American audience would have gone nuts. If you haven't seen this gem. I HIGHLY reccomend you go to the Bravia-advert website. If you have the time, download the best quality version you can for watching. You will not be disappointed.
But bad didn't stop with the commercials. This was a down right crappy game. These were two high-quality teams and neither really played like there were Superbowl teams. They played like two teams that were going, "Holy F*&$! I'm in the Superbowl." Plays fell apart on both sides. Both teams turned the ball over far beyond their typical style. And of course there was the refereeing. Debatable calls made people feel like they'd walked away from the 2000 US Election. After one debatable touchdown I found myself hoping that the Steelers would win by "more than 7" so that I wouldn't have to hear about how they didn't actually win the game.
But then it got ugly. Football is a game. Pure and simple. But fans invest far too much of themselves into it. And since the Media has become more a dumping ground for stirring up the public for ratings than an actual source of 'news' this game has become fodder for bringing out the A**$^%e in people. Every team has had bad calls, debatable calls, and walked away doubting the honesty of the game. To those who walked away 'doubting the honesty' you're probably watching the wrong sport. Any game that has to create a 'salary cap' to keep the million dollar salaries in parity with the free agency for the ex College players who got bought out of High School; really isn't the most wholesome and innocent industry.
This being noted... I will now bring the ire of one city down on me by saying that I thought the calls were justifiable except for one. That being the low tackle against the steelers that afforded a 15 yard penalty against the 'hawks. I was under the impression that the call had been pulled back during the commercial but it wasn't clear. Oh.. sure.. it's easy for me to say this (Cries the Seattle Faithful) because my team won. Personally, I hate any bad call. I don't like walking away from a game thinking, "We shouldn't have won that." In my eyes there were 4 major debatable calls.
1) Pass interferance in the end zone voiding a Seahawks Touch down.
As far as I understand it, you don't push off another player to make a reception. It pushes them out of the way of the ball. You play the player or you play the ball.
2) Rothlisberger touchdown.
The line judge thought he saw the ball cross the plane of the white line. He called it. I watched the tape repeatedly, I honestly could not tell one way or the other. I'd say of the 6 replays I saw of it, I felt 4-2 for the ball actually touching the line. By the rules of the game; I couldn't irrefutably say that it hadn't. Personally, I was okay with the call. And had it been the Seahawks, their fans would have felt the same way.
3) Low chopping tackle.
Personally the tackle looked fine. I'd been given the impression it was called back... I really hope it was.
4) Steelers fumble recovery. Yes Virginia, debatable calls were made against the Steelers. Contact was made, player was down. Not a fumble.
So why is this in my ugly? I have watched games where there have been debatable calls. I have watched games where calls were downright wrong. Any Steeler fan will immediately recall the Thanksgiving Loss when the referee misheard the Overtime Coin-flip call and handed the game to the other team.
The ugly goes back to the quotation by Carlin. People take this far too seriously. There were debatable calls and the game sucked. In the end the Steelers had more points. The aftermath? Craigslist in Pittsburgh is now a dumping ground for the lowest common denominator of Seattle fans. This bugs me... On so many levels. One because I know that there are Pittsburgh fans who would have acted just as deplorably if the game had been swapped. It all but ruins any enjoyment I have. And truthfully, it shows badly on the good fans on both sides.
The truth is... the culture of America isn't about sport. The last two American elections had nothing to do with what was important; merely choosing sides. Football has evolved into that as well. Sport has always been portrayed as why "city X is better than city Y" but when it comes down to it... it's a city. Each one has it's plusses and minuses. Personally, I'd like to pick a team (Because following 30+ is just too much wasted time) and see them play the game. I don't care about contract negotiations, I don't care about free-agency... I like the game. Perhaps this is why I prefer "Baseketball"
Personally, I'd like to believe there are fans on Seattle's side who could believe that if Seattle had been in Pgh place on the debatable calls that they wouldn't feel like the call was "Given" to them. Personally, I'd like every Pgh fan to scrutinize the calls and decide for themselves if they were fair calls. Personally, I think the Steelers did in fact 'win' the game. Though I've seen many posts saying that people perceive the final score 21p-10s should have been 17s-14p. (One off for Rothlisberger and one on for about 5 different reasons). But alas... This game will go in the books as that unscratchable itch. Two good teams had an off day and the result will be: not enough people will be happy.
Did the better team win or lose? No. Personally, I don't think either of these teams were better nor did I think that we really got to see either team's "A Game."
Would I be writing all of this if the situation was reversed? Probably not. I would have been disheartened. Would I be posting to Seattle boards debating the sexuality of the coach and his love tryst with the head referee? Probably not. I'd like to think I am above such petty childness. I can walk away afterwards. But to be honest... I feel badly for both cities, both will feel very unsportsman-like about this game for years to follow.
And where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns.
Well, maybe next year. - "Send in the Clowns" - A Little Night Music.