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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Super Bowl not so super

How did the Super Bowl get its name? \nApparently, calling it the Spectacle of Gluttony sounded unwieldy and calling it the NFL Championship Game would not allow for all the hype.\nThe Teflon Bowl would make sense. After all, no matter how many boring, lopsided Super Bowls are played, this game remains a national attraction and something of an unofficial national holiday. The holiday does not celebrate football; it celebrates a gross, classically American sense of excess. If it were any cheesier, they would have 'N Sync, Britney Spears and Aerosmith lip-sync the halftime show. \nUh, oops.\nSpeaking of halftime, while the game is on Fox, NBC plans on breaking from its regular programming during the game's intermission to broadcast a special edition of Fear Factor featuring Playboy playmates. \nThis may sound odd if you have not seen Fear Factor, but I think it is the game's perfect accompaniment. They're both big and fake, and the only difference is that the wading through raw sewage is merely symbolic in football.\nOr as former Dallas Cowboys running back Duane Thomas once said, "If this is the ultimate game, why will they be playing it again next year?"\nIf they ever do away with the Lombardi Trophy and the simple silver football on the base, they should put a picture of a fat guy eating a foot-long sub in one hand and calling his bookie with this cell phone in the other. \nCan a trophy exhibit that much detail?\nSome sources put the amount illegally bet on the Super Bowl at around $4.5 billion, and God bless you if you can guess which player grabs his cup on camera first. You probably really need that money.\nPart of the reason why the game stinks is due to a war of attrition inherent in a game with a grueling sixteen-game regular season and a fans'-wallets-soaking four-game "preseason" where the future plumbers and carpenters of America get to bash each other's brains in when the fourth quarter rolls around. \nThe quality of play in January is bad, and if the lopsided Super Bowls don't convince you, check out some of the scores in the AFC and NFC championship games since 1990: 51-3, 30-3, 41-0, 33-14, 29-10, 30-13 (twice), 38-21 and 41-10. One team stomps on the other's throat, and the stompee can't get up. \nWhen was the last time a huge comeback occurred in either a conference championship game or Super Bowl? Beats me.\nIn fact, as correctly pointed out in the Chicago Tribune last Tuesday, while 48 percent of this year's regular season NFL games were decided by a touchdown or less, only 34 percent of postseason games the last ten years have been decided by such a margin. Of the eight games played the first two playoff weekends, only one, New England's "Snow Bowl" win over Oakland, was decided by less than a touchdown.\nHaving said that, I must say that I have always wanted to attend the Super Bowl, if for only the following reason: To avoid the commercials. \nSure, one can say that the commercials have helped to keep interest in the game long after it stopped being interesting, but after seeing the same Britney Spears/Bob Dole soft drink commercial with the double entendres thirteen times at the movies last year, I think that the best way to offset paying money to see commercials would be to avoid the commercials I can see for free. Call it the Nader Way.\nOf course, the Super Bowl is only a small part of the problem. The entire NFL is a leaking ship. Mediocrity is so rampant that only one of the NFL's final four teams even made the playoffs last year.\nThat one team would be the St. Louis Rams. Guess how many current Rams were not with the team during their Super Bowl season two years ago. The answer is 27. Or put another way, more than half the team.\nWhen both the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars made their respective conference championship games in their second years of existence in 1996, it showed that it is better to start from scratch than to be burdened by history and bad contracts. \nThe scary thing after all is not that the Panthers were unbelievably pathetic on their way to a 1-15 record in 2001. The scary thing is that they are probably only two or three players away from the Super Bowl. \nWith things so volatile and a hard salary cap that forces teams to lose some of their better players via free agency, why give any coach more than a two-year contract? Are you listening, Chicago Bears?\nIf all this sours your mood, let me hearten you a bit. Rae Carruth probably won't be showing up to your Super Bowl party.

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