On the occasion of the Super Bowl—which begins in a couple of hours—here is my “Reflections on American football,” that I posted the day of last year’s game. As I explicated in some detail, American football is a perverse sport in several respects, very much an American exception, and with zero export potential. And I point out that the notion that much of anyone outside the US—and who has never lived in the US—may have any interest in the Super Bowl is a laughable American illusion.
On the subject, here is a pertinent essay I just read by Andrew O’Hehir in Salon, who argues that US football is in a “death spiral” and “may eventually collapse.” He makes a number of good points, one being this
it’s such an unforgivable time-suck — a few minutes of action surrounded by oceans of advertising, high-end graphics and idiotic banter
I felt the same thing while watching an NFL playoff game in the US in December. There were so many commercial interruptions—literally every five minutes—that I stopped watching and did something else. I don’t see how even the most diehard fans can put up with the constant breaks in the action and advertising assaults. The game is unwatchable.
Another article worth reading is by sports writer Will Leitch in NYMag from last August, “Is Football Wrong? Even to a devoted fan, it’s getting harder to watch the NFL.”
As for tonight’s game, I know nothing about the 49ers or Ravens and couldn’t care less who wins, but, like last year, I’ll try to watch the whole thing (which for me means staying up to at least 4 AM). What the hell…
UPDATE: Joshua Keating has a piece on the FP website on “America’s Game: Why don’t other countries like football?” (and in which I weigh in in the comments thread).