And so wily propsectors shall battle the Fightin’ Poes

I feel compelled to say something about the Super Bowl this Sunday. It is the most American of American holidays — billions spent and made on a sport that only Americans understand or enjoy (and, more recently, Canada … but, you know).

The San Francisco 49ers, a team named for gold prospectors from a city known for gay rights, play the Baltimore Ravens, the only U.S. sports team named for a literary reference: “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe, who died drunk in a Baltimore gutter.

The irony, of course, is the American football is the last bastion of swaggering masculinity, a sport still reconciling with the social progress of the 1970s. There is almost no way the sport survives unless it figures out how to stop the horrific violence and head trauma common to its players. But right now it’s the most popular thing in the world’s most powerful country.

I will drink Diet Coke, eat chips and salsa, and fight my wife and three sons for the remote as my household’s only football fan. I am parked just 46 tweets away from 4,000 — and I am to scorch my way over the threshold with Super Bowl snark.

Because this is America.


  1. Your political leanings are showing Aaron. We should be grateful America’s football does not follow politics, and politicians should stay out of it. Comparing their prevailing trends clearly explains their standing in the public’s opinion. It also explains why they are producing such different results.

    The dichotomy could not be greater between America’s favorite sporting event, the Super Bowl, and the growing prevalence of class warfare in politics. We find the celebration of excellence contrasted to the politics of envy.

    If professional football has “one-percenters,” the Super Bowl is where they live. Where is Occupy Wall Street? Where is the outrage? If our national politics were overlaid onto our national obsession, these teams, which so disproportionately benefitted from the current system, would be forced to give back a large share of their “excessive” wins to the Commissioner — and feel guilty about it in the process.

    Teams coming up short in the regular season would have their envy stoked by accusations that Super Bowl teams had benefitted unfairly from a rigged system.
    Would it not be better if all the teams were 8-8 and everyone made the playoffs…even the Vikings? That’d be silly of course. The very reason we watch is to see a system in which teams are striving to be the best, not entitled to be mediocre.

    Teams having wins stripped away would stop striving, since they were going to be taken from them. Teams having wins given to them would do likewise, since they would get wins anyway. Quickly, football itself would deteriorate.

    Nobel economist Friedrich Hayek made the same points over 50 years ago in The Constitution of Liberty. Writing about nations and the premise of wealth redistribution between them, he observed: “But most of the gains of the few do, in the course of time, become available to the rest. If we abandoned progress, we should also have to abandon all those social improvements that we now hope for… We have only to remember that to prevent progress at the top would soon prevent it all the way down, in order to see that this result is really the last thing we want.”

    But it’s the world we live in, the world you’re promoting. Go Ravens!!

  2. Awe Ranger. I feel as though you missed the point Aaron’s making here. Also, for the record, the NFL has a revenue sharing system.

  3. Just teasing him Trevor…he speaks of football being violent, horrifically violent no less, OMG!!
    We must do something, pass a law, put someone in jail, hold an “intervention” How silly…

    But regardless….where are the Occupiers damn it? These evil one percenters must pay their fair share!

  4. Yeah, I haven’t been around a machine where my comments have worked well in a while. Enjoy the game, Bob. I’m watching too. I think it was obvious to most readers that I was talking about American culture and the way it creates contradictions. It always has! Indeed, the most finacially successful pro sports enterprise (this one) is the most centralized and has the most parity. A relative term, of course. As much as I love talking class warfare with you, it will have to wait for another day.

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