By Steve Woodward
I was one month removed from a 12th birthday in January 1973 when the undefeated Miami Dolphins opposed my beloved Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII.
Here we are, a half century later. I’m no longer 12, at least physically. The team’s name is, sadly, no longer the Redskins. And with Super Bowls at 57 and counting, the use of Roman numerals has become impossibly tedious.
The game was the focus 50 years ago. Runs, passes, blocking, tackling. I’m almost certain it was played in broad daylight, not in prime time. The Dolphins won, 14-7, to become the only undefeated Super Bowl champions, a distinction that remains intact, incredibly. The Redskins’ offense produced nothing. (The team earned its lone touchdown after a blocked field goal attempt found its way into the tiny hands of Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian. He tried vainly to throw a pass that he then volleyed above his head, only to watch helplessly as a Redskins defensive back intercepted it and ran untouched into the end zone).
That was all folks could talk about after the game. Now they talk about TV commercials and halftime shows. Which is why the Super Bowl has evolved, or devolved, into the nation’s cultural mega-party. But that begs a question: Why are we partying? What is it we are celebrating?
For many, the Super Bowl is not really watched so much as monitored. A salivating media army scrutinizes every word, every image, tracking cultural data points rather than extra points. For all its commercial success, the National Football League is not universally admired. In fact, the Left sees the NFL as a high-stakes plantation ruled by white (Republican) team owners and sustained by oppressed multimillionaires (players). (Rush Limbaugh warned for years that the Left hated football and would seek its demise).
USA Today’s coverage team for the Kansas City-Philadelphia Super Bowl included one Mike Freeman, its diversity and inclusion sports “columnist”. He gleefully wrote that it was a defiantly black-centric affair. Apparently, the black meter was so far into the red that Freeman tolerated the National Anthem being sung by a God-loving, white country pop star (who rolled up in a Ram pickup).
Freeman gushed, “The Blackest, most woke Super Bowl ever — can’t believe I wrote that since this is the Republican NFL, (emphasis added) but here we are — started by again featuring the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. …
“ … We had the Black national anthem, Rihanna performing and two Black starting quarterbacks for the first time ever. During Black History Month. This wasn’t the Super Bowl. This was Wakanda. But wait, it gets woker.
“The traditional flyover before the game was performed by an all-women pilot team, the first time ever. Wokity wokity woke.” (Were the male pilots busy tracking spy balloons? Asking for a friend). Wakanda was a cartoon, so I can’t disagree with the comparison, Mr. Freeman.
He then concludes the Super Bowl has become “a mirror for us all”. That’s a clumsy way of saying the television show reflects our upside-down society. It’s a stretch to call that entertainment. That’s also why it is hard to watch for anyone with an IQ higher than an avocado, and there are a few of us albeit a dwindling few.
Prime-time Super Bowl 57 was a reflection of a diminished nation populated by idol worshippers, by Godless hedonists who derive pleasure from watching morality being crushed under the iron boot of relativism and transhumanism. What else explains a media largely indifferent to a Super Bowl in which both starting quarterbacks were black? Progress? Nope. There was an underlying reason: Patrick Mahomes (KC) and Jalen Hurts (Philly) are devout Christians. Media: “Why’d they have to go and spoil a perfectly good woke storyline by trotting out a couple of black Tim Tebow’s?”
Notice, too, that Freeman’s analysis took no exception – as expected – to Rihanna’s vulgar gestures (stroking herself with two fingers), and that the NFL’s brass and/or Fox Sports made no effort to conceal the repeatedly grotesque display. Halftime shows are pre-screened.
The commercials, many of them so very inane, are no respite any longer. (The one featuring a loyal dog was certainly an exception). They once were funny and, in some years, more entertaining than the football game. Lately, they are weighed down by narratives. The McDonald’s ad excluded all images of burgers and fries, emphasizing gay and mixed-race couples talking about relationships underpinned by fast food. I’m not giving these relationships much chance of being intact for Super Bowl 58.
Considering that our fraying culture teeters on the edge of becoming unrecognizable, at least the NFL still permits a giant on-field American flag during the pre-game. And a bold and beautiful flyover by four U.S Navy fighter jets — piloted exclusively by women.
Of the seven comprising the crews for the jets, five pilots were white. Oops. Apparently, USA Today missed that glaring indiscretion.
For the record, I’m all for women piloting fighter jets. Last time I checked, there is no requirement to parallel park a jet.