Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Start Spreading the News: NFL Bosses Will Find Worm in Big Apple Super Bowl Decision

The worst thing that ever happened to this country was 9/11. Not only because thousands died in the WTC terrorist attack and Bush subsequently fought a stupid war, but also because that event put New York City back on the map in a real obnoxious way.

Increasingly, in the last couple of decades leading up to 9/11, Americans were more and more discovering the values of Sun Belt, or more southerly or less congested, living, or living in general that, via increased telecommunications and computer devices, commensurately diminished focus on New York as the be-all, end-all metropolis it used to be. No longer did the average person have to pay obeisance to New York's superiority in areas of culture or political or economic influence, because larger numbers of Americans were realizing that they didn't need New York, and they basically didn't give a hoot about the people who lived there. Appropriately, we all started concerning ourselves more and more with the people who lived where WE lived, or, for that matter, anyplace else in regional America where you could readily find sophistication and culture and interesting urban-style living and major sports and progressive ideas of any kind. Somewhat signaling this change even in spite of 9/11, the Arizona Diamondbacks, symbol of new-style, warmer, enlightened American living, beat the Yankees in the World Series in 2001, just weeks after 9/11.

New York City almost officially joined the Rust Belt it would have seemed. And that would have been fine with those of us who are tired of the undue power and influence wielded in Gotham.

But 9/11 gave the media reason enough to re-state the case for New York as the centerpiece city in the U.S.—a power source for finance and culture, symbol of American might. Bah! We all know what New York's financial wizards were doing to us all that time. (Bend over, America.)

The post-9/11 fallback position was to feel sorry for NYC, and to marvel at the town's grit in coming back from the Bin Laden attacks. Fine and dandy. No city should have to be airplane-attacked. Sorry it happened, New York.

One thing that never changed, before or after the World Trade Center, was ESPN's unending promotion of New York teams whenever possible. This continues without let-up, and last weekend, both on Saturday and Sunday nights, the network broadcast consecutive Yankees-Mets games. Why we'd have to watch two games in a row between the same two second- and last-place teams is beyond fathoming. Doubtless there were other mediocrities facing off who we might've watched, for variety's sake. Heck, there might've even been a first-place team playing somewhere that we'd have enjoyed watching. But no, we get the New York teams, two nights in a row, the Mets in last place at the time, the Yankees reeling from injuries and not really playing their best.

The endless promotion of New York teams is basically puke-inducing, since probably 95% of the country couldn't care less—especially about the Mets. Doubtless, there is some kind of ratings rationale for this state of affairs, New York being a populous region and guaranteeing a certain ratings share that would eclipse that achieved with a game involving, say, the Giants and A's. Maybe. But what if Tim Lincecum is pitching? So maybe not.

Yet ESPN can always make that argument, and thus deprive viewers nationwide the opportunity to see other, equally interesting teams. How about the Twins-Rays game—two first-place teams squaring off? But they don't do that at ESPN, the all-New York all-the-time network.

And now comes the most galling example of New York's privileged sense of over-reach: The 2014 Super Bowl, following the 2013 football season, will be in New Jersey, IN AN OPEN-AIR STADIUM.

Okay, granted, most of us don't have the bucks or pull to get to a Super Bowl, so the fact that the crowd in early February 2014 will be freezing their gonads off doesn't affect those of us who will be sitting at home. But really, what kind of lame-ass reasoning has placed the most important football game of any season at risk of utter disaster?

Sure, you can argue that the weather might comply that day. Maybe it'll be invigorating football weather. But what if there's a blizzard on the East Coast? What if airports from Washington to Boston are shut down? What if there's a record cold snap, with temperatures plunging well below zero? What if ground transportation is slowed to a crawl due to cold and/or snow? What if people who paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for tickets are stranded at airports, unable to fly in to the New York area?

Last but not least, what if the game totally sucks because it's cold as hell, the ball and the turf are frozen and hard, the snow on the ground makes footing impossible, the players have to huddle around heaters on the sidelines hardly able to think much less figure out the next play, and fans sit there having the most miserable time of their lives?

And this decision was made...why? This huge risk was taken...why? Maybe New York/New Jersey should have put a dome on their new stadium. DOH! Instead, they go open-air, and now lobby for NFL execs to give them a Super Bowl in February, potentially one of the worst, most weatherly treacherous times of the year in the Northeast.

It's madness, is what it is. It's the ol' New York suck-up—or strong-arm tactic—and it's a huge disservice to football. But actually, you can even leave the New York part out of this argument. What if Boston was granted a Super Bowl in an open-air stadium? Or Chicago? Madness. Stupidity. And we the fans will suffer, one way or the other.

Mark my words. Because this decision was made, you can pretty much bet that the weather will somehow complicate the 2014 Super Bowl. Stupid men; stupid pointless decision.

I'll take Manhattan...not.

1 comment:

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