This weekend in the heart of Texas, we get to witness once more, the incredible entertainment machine that is the National Football League. Even by Donald Trump’s strange system of counting eyeballs, the audience will be enormous, numbering in the billions around the world.
Tom Brady and the AFC champion New England Patriots are there once again, surviving the feeble excuse for a scandal called Deflategate. The underdogs from the NFC are the Atlanta Falcons, and the main event at halftime will be Lady Gaga.
It’s Superbowl LI, and advertisers are paying half a million dollars for a 30 second commercial on the broadcast. Back in 1967 when it all began, that same spot could be purchased for $42,000. See what I mean about a machine.
For a variety of strange reasons, Canadians don’t get to see most of the commercials during the game. We have to hunt them up on YouTube. It’s one more reason to not watch the spectacle in real time.
The NFL ‘machine’ was creaking a little bit this season. Not unlike what’s happening in the Canadian Football League, there were thousands of empty seats in NFL stadiums, and television ratings were way down. The billionaires who own the 32 teams probably won’t worry about it too much, unless the trend continues and gets worse next season.
More and more on both sides of the border, game day seems to be about tailgating in a parking lot with lots of alcohol, rather than watching quality football. Some are continuing to predict that the gridiron game will change dramatically when everyone finally admits that it’s not a good idea for grown men to scramble each other’s brains every Sunday, even if they are paid millions of dollars for what is normally a very brief career.
I can’t help thinking that it was a lot more fun back in the 1920’s when eager young guys like Andy Currie strapped on a leather helmet for coach Al Ritchie in Regina.
I’m Roger Currie