Super Bowl Sunday: A Moral and Civic Duty

Image of Super Bowl Sunday oath of allegiance.

Once again, the holiest of American holidays is upon us. In honor of this hallowed occasion, we will offer forth a ritual sacrifice 1.2 billion chicken wings, 29.7 metric tons of nachos, and enough beverages of all types to fill our planet’s oceans 35 times over.

Already, we have been granted the grace of our football gods as CBS will televise the event, sparing us from the torturous four-hour neural assault from Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on Fox Sports. The game is also being hosted in New Orleans — a city that embodies the festive atmosphere of Super Bowl Sunday better than any other location in the U.S., and does so during the other 364 calendar days each year. Moreover, my favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers, has earned the right and privilege to entertain billions of spectators on the largest of stages.

But above all else, Super Bowl Sunday has the power to unite our divided nation by providing tradition and common ground for us all to simultaneously eat, drink, and be merry with one another in front of TV sets throughout the country.

But is everybody on board?

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Happy Holiday: Super Bowl Sabbath is Finally Upon Us

Image of football's First Noel

Artist's depiction of football's first Super Bowl Sabbath, circa 1966.

Can you feel it in the air? Are you treating your fellow citizens just a little bit nicer than usual? Do you have visions of sugar plums, nachos, seven-layer dip, and atomic chicken wings dancing in your head? Rhetorical questions aside, America’s most popular holiday is finally upon us, folks. Super Bowl Sabbath hath come and shall fill the proverbial stockings of die-hard football fanatics and casual followers alike with copious amounts of delectable cuisine, libations, opportunities to gamble, and perhaps a few minutes’ worth of good ol’ fashioned football action spread over the course of six hours.

What makes this holiday so special? There are many reasons why Super Bowl Sabbath reigns supreme, many of which are ubiquitous and some of which will be unique to Super Bowl XLV.

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NFL Playoffs to Kick Off New Holiday Season on Wild Card Weekend

Christmas and New Year’s have come and gone, which can only mean one thing: those holidays intended for amateurs have given way to a festive season of incomparable magnitude — the NFL Playoffs. Each year, football’s second season eclipses the overrated winter holidays in raucous celebration of watching freakishly large speedy men in tight pants battle for the right to play on our nation’s most hallowed holiday, Super Bowl Sunday.

Image of Jim Mora

The Playoffs? Yes, Jim -- we want to talk about the Playoffs.

To the neophyte, it may seem odd that millions of crazed pigskin fanatics shun the traditions of days past, such as caroling, egg nog, and donning gay apparel in favor of masking beer bellies under oversized jerseys of their favorite player(s) (who are often years, if not decades, their junior), washing down fatty hydrogenated snacks with several gallons of watered-down light beer, and yelling obscenities at a flat inanimate object in their living rooms at the top of their lungs. In addition to sharing indifference and even disdain toward yuletide cheer, this growing legion of initiates has something else in common — an unbridled desire to cheer, eat, drink, and dream their team on to the Promised Land on the first Sunday of February.

For many, the NFL post-season has replaced the idea of embracing the American Dream which, having decades worth of soggy dust blown away in a swirling din over the past ten years, has been revealed as nothing but an eroded myth with no happy ending. For some, it is the sole beacon of enlightenment in an otherwise bleak, empty sea of foreclosure, divorce, and a vanload of a half-dozen crying children who are crushed by the banishment of McDonalds Happy Meals. But make no mistake — there is no better escape from the drudgery of the bitter cold winter than vicariously living through our agile muscular heroes of the gridiron. NFL Playoff football is indeed the drug of choice for nearly all American sports junkies.

But why is this so? Allow me to explain…

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The Return of Football—America’s Game

Football players in front of American Flag

Football season is well underway and it happens to coincide with the launch of this blog.  While I am hesitant to dedicate the first sports post to football—the so-called “America’s Game”—it provides a perfect opportunity to start this section off on the right foot.  Or the left foot, whichever you prefer.  The reason being that the phrase “America’s Game,” something I used to cringe at, is now a perfect metaphor in which both football and the United States of America share an alarming—and hilarious—number of parallels (at least until the neo-Confederate dream of NASCAR overtaking the dominance of football comes to pass).

Let me begin with a confession: I like to watch football*.  OK, I love to watch football.  Whether it is college or the NFL, you can usually find my anything-with-a-ball-obsessed ass planted firmly in front of the soft glow of a football broadcast emanating from a needlessly expensive, flat-screen television each and every Saturday and Sunday.  And when the opportunity presents itself, I am no stranger to witnessing a football game from the oft-frigid seats of an actual stadium.

* apologies to my international friends who may mistake this term for what we Americans dismissingly call “soccer”

Like any football fan, I can mindlessly go down the list and check off everything I like about not only the game itself, but about the general atmosphere and experience of “America’s Game.”  Many positives of the football experience transcend the excitement of watching oversized physical freaks violently moving (or preventing) an oval-shaped inflatable piece of pigskin across painted white lines.  More importantly, the game serves as a venue for (mostly) males to come together in celebration of the very principles we as modern Americans hold near and dear.
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