Over the years, we have had epic football games that have led to the greatest of nicknames. There was the Ice Bowl, the Blunder Bowl and the Miracle Bowl, just to name a few. We’ve had the Bears Super Bowl Shuffling, we’ve had the Titans coming up one yard short and we’ve had the Browns… well… uh… Hey, we will always have 1964, right?
As the length of time between the game and the end of the season has grown to a full two weeks of hype, we have seen more and more chances for the media to get excited about something stupid as hell. There was Broadway Joe’s guarantee and there was Hollywood Henderson explaining that Terry Bradshaw was so stupid, he couldn’t spell “cat” if you spotted him the C and the A.
Most of the time where we see everyone tripping over their dicks is when they have to deal with something controversial.
In the case of the most repeated and yet most likely apocryphal story ever, it was race that became the issue. Doug Williams won the MVP in Super Bowl XXII, but it was the fact he was the first black guy to start at QB in the big game that garnered the pre-game attention. Someone either asked or didn’t ask him in a news conference “So how long have you been a black quarterback?” to which Williams either did or didn’t respond, “I’ve been a quarterback since high school. I’ve been black all my life.”
This year is no exception, with Joe Flacco calling the idea of playing the Super Bowl in New Jersey next year “retarded.” This was both controversial and stupid because a) saying something is “retarded” is as socially acceptable as calling someone a “negro” and b) Flacco somehow managed to forget he plays a sport that happens in the winter and was actually played outside for generations (and in some cases, still is).
Not to be outdone, as Adrastos pointed out earlier, 49er cornerback Chris Culliver came out (pun intended) and explained that he “don’t do the gay guys” and that he “can’t be with that sweet stuff.” This immediately prompted outrage from people who have more than 15 percent of a working brain, many of those people demanding Culliver be suspended, fined or required to hang out at John Waters’ house for a few days. It also had people asking themselves a) will pro sports ever have a truly inclusive and tolerant society and b) who the fuck is Chris Culliver?
Compounding this issue, several 49er players who had done a “It Gets Better” video backpedaled faster than Culliver when asked about it. They denied being part of it, were then shown the video and came up with a “uh, isn’t that just an anti-bullying thing?” response. Right, because if you just come out against the ant-gay stuff, it’s clear you’re a nob-muncher and you’re likely to be doing gay porn films titled, “Wide Receivers and Tight Ends.”
Making this even worse, the most important thing about the game (the commercials) has become sullied by the claims of racism. If you haven’t seen the VW commercial featuring Minnesota Dave, the state’s official Rastafarian, well, you’re missing exactly nothing. Still, the idea that a white guy from Minnesota would be using the wrong stupid accent to sell cars has enraged the people who were looking for something to be enraged about.
(Volkswagen has been relatively quiet on this issue, relying on its long history of being founded by Nazi tradeworkers to speak for itself.)
Look, I get it. Unless you’re a fan of one of the teams, you probably don’t give a shit about the Super Bowl. Thus, if you’re going to be surrounded by Super Bowl bullshit, you need something to keep you entertained or outraged, or both in the case of people for whom there is no real distinction.
Still, can we let some of this shit go?
Column after column after column has tried to get me to be angry with Culliver for not being OK with gay people and then REALLY trying to get me to be angry about his apology. Even more people have been angry about the VW commercial, which is getting so much free media play right now, it’s likely to replace Faith Hill’s number as the intro to next year’s Sunday Night Football.
Maybe if you combined a couple of these things, I’d care more. If Joe Flacco called Culliver a “retard” while using a Jamaican accent, I could get a little more worked up, but as it stands, not so much.
Every now and again, I get behind a car that sports a “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention” bumper sticker. I guess there’s a good career in outrage, but it’s just so damned exhausting.
Even if we can’t all coexist or get along or whatever, could we at least learn to shrug more? Instead of worrying which football player might say something stupid or which media guy might ask the next “it” question, can we just kick back, relax, drink a beer and not give a fuck for a while?