Baffoe: Defusing This Week’s Super Bowl Narratives
By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) Today is Media Day in Newark, New Jersey, which is close to East Rutherford where this year’s Super Bowl is being played. Don’t be fooled by those that would subtly try to push the illusion that the game is being played in New York City just because the host stadium is home of the Giants and Jets and East Rutherford is near the Big Apple. This isn’t a New York Super Bowl.
But that’s part of Media Day—creating stories where some don’t exactly exist or weren’t really interesting in the first place. Outside of being a sad circus of not-actual-media being allowed to get close to players and coaches and waste their time with irrelevant and stupid questions, it’s also a time when unfortunately-actual-media need to meet deadlines and get their own share of the gawker public that treats this all as more than a championship football game.
Your attention is precious, and the week leading up to the game is full of shiny things and freak show attractions designed to dazzle the soft mind and tug at the willing heartstrings. Step right up and ogle Player X who lost a loved one to (insert disease/murder/petting zoo accident) and his struggle to still be able to play football and not quit it all for a life of secluded monkhood. Or, ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes and ears on Player Y who has views on politics/religion/sex/Bieber that will make many people uncomfortable, some people angry, some people happy, and some people nauseous. Don’t you crave answers to questions about Player Z’s celebrity girlfriend/wife? I knew you did because you, sir or madam, strike me as a news consumer with a distinguished, refined taste.
Look at these people that this week are extra interesting because the newspaper piece or the TV feature with the soft piano says so. You must in order to gain a rooting game interest because you pity a player or find one especially funny or cute or undesirable because he doesn’t toe the same social line as you.
But, psssst, before you walk into that big tent of wonder and mystery, I offer you the choice of red or blue pill. If believing in the freak show is your desire, take this blue one and head on in to The Bearded Lady of narrative. But if you like to detect BS and think you have an eye and ear for relevant content vs. stories that play to the basest of our senses, take the red and continue reading.
Okay. Follow me, and let’s look at some of the garbage that will be popular today until the final whistle on Sunday.
What Is Richard Sherman?
This outspoken man with the dreadlocks is fascinating and frightening because he doesn’t talk the way a football player should, the way Peyton Manning does. Some say he has no class and doesn’t do it the right way. He may even be a thug. So let’s examine every aspect of his background and upbringing in an attempt to piece together the puzzle that is an athlete that dared to give an unconventional postgame interview. HIS DAD IS A GARBAGE MAN, AND SHERMAN IS FROM A CITY IMMORTALIZED IN RAP LYRICS—WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Or instead we can see Sherman as a unique individual who doesn’t give the standard clichéd interview that mush-minded people eat up. He’s different, and that usually means bad because different makes us uncomfortable, and if we don’t actually use rationality, we choose to immediately try to chase away different, to outcast Frankenstein’s monster (which is not that “I, Frankenstein” travesty in theaters that you should avoid).
Peyton Manning’s Legacy
Did you know that if Peyton Manning (with special guest the Broncos) loses on Sunday then one of the greatest statistical quarterbacks in the game’s history who has a Super Bowl ring already will rank between Rex Grossman and Drew Bledsoe on the list of best individuals that are credited with winning and losing a team game? It’s true. Because the smartest measurement of an athlete is his possession of championships. Airtight argument.
Actually the only thing that would be tarnished by a “Manning loss” is sales of terrible pizza, and that’s always a good thing.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THE FOOTBALL IF THE OUTSIDE AIR IS COLD AND POSSIBLY RIFE WITH FROZEN WATER FALLING LIKE HELLFIRE FROM THE SKY? I HEARD YOU SAW SNOW ONCE AS A CHILD TAKE US THROUGH WHAT THAT WAS LIKE.
What is the over/under on fans that perish at the game from the Arctic conditions? Will Bruno Mars’ ever be able to perform again after Sunday? (By the way, we need to write pieces on who Bruno Mars is for the die hard football fan with no time for current music, just like we need to write pieces on how football works for people that only listen to music.)
Look, playing a championship game outdoors in New Jersey or Chicago or Green Bay or Fargo in the winter is a really bad idea. The league thought it could capitalize on the large faction of idiots that think “the elements” make for a better football experience, and that backfired hard. That said, these professional athletes are more than experienced and prepared for playing a game in cold and maybe some snow. It’s happened in football before once or twice.
And now let’s ensure that possibility never happens again, Roger Goodell.
It’s a city in Nebraska and a beach stormed in Normandy by Allied troops on D-Day. It’s also a code word Manning yells often at the line of scrimmage to signal things to his teammates.
Now stop doing a community college linguistics course on it, everybody.
John Fox Had Heart Surgery Midseason And Isn’t Dead
That’s a good thing. He seems very healthy, and that’s awesome. It has zero effect on his coaching this week. He doesn’t want to talk about it (nor should he). There likely won’t be a recurrence of his heart issues during the game (even though the fact anyone would be interested in this story means that somewhere in the nasty subconscious of their minds there is a macabre desire to see punctuated the tension and death/war imagery of football with a coach dropping on the sidelines from his passion and intensity).
But never underestimate the power to attract flies of a story of a sports person almost dying or having a health scare or a doctor telling him/her that if their acid reflux isn’t taken care of it could have negative effects in the long run.
Pete Carroll Is So Cool
Carroll is different, but he’s not Richard Sherman different because Carroll smiles a lot and isn’t abrasive in his talking and doesn’t have dreadlocks. The Seahawks head coach is very good at his job but also just like a kid out there. He does good things for people. He likes The Grateful Dead, which means he’s probably sort of fun at parties but ultimately annoying. He’s boys with Macklemore, which is a good thing?
The league is considering allowing medical marijuana for treatment of concussions. So now let’s try to sneakily get players and coaches (like one that listens to The Grateful Dead) to say on the record that they already smoke pot and then make a big deal out of it. Or let’s ask the stupid question of whether medical marijuana is a gateway drug to stuff like alcohol and pain killers that players otherwise abuse to deal with pain and lingering physical issues.
Why exactly is Manning such a fan of two million pizzas, huh? Makes ya think, man.
Marshawn Lynch Doesn’t Want To Participate In This Crap
“If you’re forced to do something, it’s not as good as if you choose to do it,” Lynch said about not wanting to talk during Media Day. “So no, I won’t have a lot of interesting things to say. When you’re forced to do something and you know it, it kind of just takes away from the whole experience of what it could be if (it were) natural. So, I’ll probably give forced answers.”
STOP RUINING SUPERFICIAL SUPERFLUOUS NEWS CHRISTMAS, SKITTLES BOY.
I’m all for Lynch sitting out today and taking what could be $100,000 in fines from the league for not showing up to give forced answers. Because if there’s one thing the league hates it’s players not allowing for forced answers. That, and players actually speaking their minds.
Get Someone To Sound Bigoted
Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie already got the gay teammate question. His response was almost terrible, but not quite. Now let’s find someone else to ask about it that seems like a wild card. Getting a sports person to sound insensitive to homosexuals leading up to the pinnacle of his professional career is quite the media home run. Find me a hardly-educated player from the SEC, stat!
Those are just a few of the bad “news” pieces we’re going to be subjected to for the next few days. Certainly some absurd crap that I can’t even fathom will come about as well that will make me slap my forehead repeatedly. At least all circus tents eventually get taken down.