The Superbowl was played last night. To those foreigners ignorant by default or choice, this game is the finals of the professional American football. Most foreigners probably did not even want to see the game as all they would notice would be 22 rather large people jumping on each other, with the rules guiding this mayhem clearly incidental. I have to confess that I did not see the game either for two reasons. First, due to time zone issues, the game was played in the middle of night. Secondly, since my favorite team was , yet again, not in the Superbowl, I had no justification for ruining a good night’s sleep. Still, based on what I read and saw this morning, I can say without any doubt that, as they say in France, it was a good year for Superbowls. To wit, here are some features that made this game relatively good, to be noted for next year if you consider ruining your night’s sleep to see that game.
1 The score was close both during and at the end of the game, 28-24, with New England winning. While this game is supposed to represent the best two teams in the NFL, the results are often letdowns to all the leadup to the game, as in last year's dilly, 43-8. No knowledge of American football scoring is required to see what a rout that was.
The referees did not decide the game. Given the incredible number of rules, the number of people playing and the speed of the game, it is impossible to see everything accurately at all times. The NFL uses video review for certain plays to reduce the human error factor. Yet, many games are “decided” by a controversial referee call, in complete disregard to any play or event that may have occurred beforehand. Thus, the fans of the losing team blame the referees and claim that their team was robbed of a victory, thus permanently spoiling the taste of the victory for the winning team. Fortunately, the referees did their job, apparently.
Katy Perry gave a half-time show that was entertaining without insulting anybody. Somehow, unlike Janet Jackson, no article of clothing came off, an act that tends to upset the more conservative members of the audience. I imagine many of the males watching the show were a bit disappointed. Not only that, she did not use any of those explicit terms that a person cannot use on American television (See George Carlin for the whole list). As best I could tell, she did not feel any need to express herself in any other manner than singing and dancing. All in all, it beats having the NFL apologize for these errors of etiquette.
They showed a Pete Rose in a sports shoe commercial. For those unfamiliar with that name, he is a former outstanding baseball player banned from anything connected with baseball for life as a result of the cardinal sin of betting on baseball games when he was still a player. By the way, reports are that some professional tennis players do the same thing, but that is another sport. It took chutzpah to use him to sell sports shoes, albeit not for baseball. On a day of avoiding anything controversial, it is nice to add some cayenne pepper to the mix.
So, it is my hope that next year those unfamiliar with this famous American tradition will choose to ignore their complete ignorance of the rules of the game, the absurd local hour of its broadcast and the awful commentary and watch the Superbowl, paying attention to the important aspects.