Opinion » The Rant

The Rant (January 29, 2015)

Romney, ISIS, Netanyahu, Sarah Palin, blizzards, and the $uper Bowl.


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The president just signed historic accords with India on climate legislation and nuclear trade, before making a pit stop to pay respects to the leaders of America's gas station, Saudi Arabia.

Mitt Romney is considering a third run for president so the American people can finally get it right.

ISIS is on the move in Syria, and the government of Yemen just collapsed.

Bibi Netanyahu, also known as George W. Bush in wingtips, is campaigning for reelection as Israeli Prime Minister, only in front of the U.S. Congress — without prior knowledge or approval by the White House — as the guest of John Boehner.

In Iowa, Sarah Palin made an incomprehensible speech at Representative Steve King's "Freedom Summit," then told The Washington Post that she was "seriously interested," in running for president.

And a crippling blizzard is headed for the east coast that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio warned may be "one of the largest snowstorms in the history of this city." Memphis freaks out over three inches of snow. Try an expected three feet, which would set records from Philadelphia to Boston and affect nearly 30 million people. Take that Al Gore.

Tom Brady New England Patriots - JERRY COLI | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • Jerry Coli | Dreamstime.com
  • Tom Brady New England Patriots

But screw all that: The NFL discovered that during their conference championship game, the New England Patriots used under-inflated footballs. I could write four paragraphs of balls jokes, but that's far too easy. And since this has been the lead news story on every network for a week, I've heard every smarmy, double-entendre testicle reference in the history of broadcast news, from Rachel Maddow to Jimmy Fallon. I now know more about Bill Belichick than I ever intended.

I guess I'm as big a football fan as the next jerk, only I'm not emotionally invested in the outcome. I enjoy watching pro football because it's a brutish and violent game played by mutants. If you asked me my favorite team, I guess it would be the Packers, because the citizen/stockholders of Green Bay actually own the team. If you ask me my least favorite team, it would be those with the loud-mouth owners who give high-fives in their luxury boxes while actually believing that what they say has any bearing on the game. Also, those owners that mix their personal, partisan politics with sport.

The NFL is just a billionaire's playground where team owners play their own, exclusive version of fantasy football. It's become an industry that has grown like kudzu around what was once a game. Since pro football is the American substitute for gladiatorial war, it has become the perfect vessel for carpet-bombing advertisements, and nothing does it better than the Super Bowl. Can I use that word without sending somebody a check?

Billions of dollars will be spent in and around the Super Bowl on product placement, branding, Hollywood-produced ads, entertainment galas, including the world's biggest halftime show, and particularly sports betting. Only the outcome is pertinent. The game is secondary to the commerce. With record amounts of cash spent on commercials, the Super Bowl serves as the quasi-Black Friday for awards season.

The game will be played in Glendale, Arizona, at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Of course, the University of Phoenix is a for-profit, online, kollege of knowledge with no actual campus, and thus has no football team to play in its stadium. Like good corporate citizens, they merely bought the naming rights and changed it from what was Cardinals Stadium. So, the Super Bowl played in the University of Phoenix Stadium is like a scam within a scam. Everybody gets paid. Except for the entertainers. The Wall Street Journal reported that the NFL approached Rihanna, Coldplay, and Katy Perry to play the halftime show, but asked the musicians to "contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league," or alternately, "make some other financial contribution," in exchange for the halftime gig. Perry is this year's special attraction. I sure hope she's not paying those greedy bastards to play.

In summary, the Patriots are cheaters owned by Robert Kraft of Kraft Foods, whose net worth is around $4 billion, and who has a son who worked for Bain Capital in the '80s. They have a coach with a shady reputation and a quarterback who's married to a Brazilian supermodel, makes $40 million a year in salary and endorsements, is said to have a near-genius IQ, and "did not alter the ball in any way," even though he admitted he preferred them slightly deflated in a previous interview. When asked if he was a cheater, Brady said, "I don't believe so."

They play the Seattle Seahawks, owned by low-key Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, who also owns the NBA Trailblazers. According to SeatGeek, the average ticket price is going for $3,262. Wouldn't it be ironic if the monster snowstorm headed for Boston caused widespread power outages on Super Sunday? I hope by then they will have finally stopped talking about "Deflategate." The only thing I have to add to that conversation is that Tom Brady's balls aren't as big as he thought. The Santa Ana winds are doing biblical-like, wildfire damage in California, and there's a measles outbreak in Disneyland. And I'll take the Seahawks and the points.

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