First we have a story which is of absolutely zero true significance to practically anyone. It is the most purely pointless sports story to thunder across the media landscape since Janet Jackson's titty tumbled out at the Super Bowl a decade ago. The utter unimportance of all of it only makes the broad and deep fascination with the story more entertaining to watch as news agencies glom onto the story as they would something which actually mattered (Nigeria anyone?), showing starkly how little discretion is used in modern media to decide what constitutes "news". Like small puppies and tiny kittens we watch what is in front of us with no regard to its relative value.
And further, the way in which football has infused itself into the broader culture is crass and boorish. Once upon a time it was merely a seasonal sport like baseball, basketball, and hockey, but now it's something else, a cultural touchstone which in the past only baseball came close to matching. (And frankly baseball's a more elegant game and fit for that role.) Football has washed over the dykes of sports coverage and now occupies air space once reserved for significant decisions of domestic and foreign policy at both the state and federal levels. It's been an absolute hoot watching as "news" anchors rush to ditch the details of President's State of the Union address and rush to cover the latest tick in the "Deflategate" saga. Enough of Barrack Hussein Obama's divisive and shadowy visage and on with Tom Brady's guileless homespun grin. (They both have great teeth I will stipulate.)
And frankly I prefer this pointless conversation to the sundry ones which inevitably burble during this interminable time before the "Super" Bowl, the endless spree of experts delving into every molecule of the competition as if any of it mattered beyond the momentary distraction such entertainment properly is.Most news these days is about nothing, most sports is elevated to a status which pretends to be significant, so the witting marriage of these two makes both additionally absurd.
But while this kerfluffle is singularly unimportant it is oddly simultaneously crucial to an aspect of our culture which has lost its way. Sports stars are not nor have they ever been nor will they ever be "heroes". That word is bandied about much too much for my tastes, attached to all sorts of events and applied even to non-humans from time to time. But what sports stars are for sure are role models (despite what the often refreshingly frank Charles Barkley claims) and as such should be quite careful in how they conduct themselves in public. That Tom Brady has pretty much lied and been seen to have done so about this shenanigan is regrettable. The angst it has caused many a commentator who is alas forced to call it out is at once palpable and entertaining in a perverse way.
All quarterbacks, get too much glory and too much shame, but since they mostly often get giant checks, that's not something I worry too much about. But for kids it might not be so sanguine, and to see your favorite sports star telling a fib before the whole country might be a seminal moment. It actually might be important, if not so much for what it is in and of itself but for the way it has forced those with money on the line to equivocate on his behalf so as to either dismiss the matter as trivial (which to my mind makes the lie even worse) or to suggest that the problem is actually elsewhere. As a teacher I run into this kind of addled logic all the time and these sports talk variations of "the dog ate my homework" and "this class is stupid anyway" really don't help us in the long run.
At least we haven't spent the week dissecting obscure defenses and speculating on hamstrings, the usual blather that passes for conversation during this week. Thanks goodness "Deflategate" (I like that the name rhymes too) gave us something novel if fundamentally inane to focus on. After the game we can all go back to worrying overmuch about ISIS. Until then...play ball.
On that note here are some comic book covers (entertaining trash of another time) which showcases the game which is currently a plague on the land. To quote the late great Andy Griffith --"What it was, was football."