Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVeigh, who plays the final soccer game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, just said the most accurate sentences about the current state of American society. Usually the pre-Super Bowl hype is huge. But now there’s only been a short virtual press conference due to the pandemic, and McVeigh said of this unusual calm, “I’ll answer a few questions, and then I can focus on the game again.”
Super Bowl Sunday is one of only two dates that hopelessly divided Americans can agree on. On Thanksgiving it’s peace between turkey and family, and on Big Sunday they indulge in all the things that make this country great or disgusting, depending on how you look at it: They splurge on chicken and chips; Celebrate their consumer culture with lavish commercials, their army with resounding planes over the stadium, and their pop culture with a great halftime show. Football is the sporting addition to the lavish celebration of one’s greatness, played for approximately 17 minutes during the four-and-a-half hour broadcast.
A few years ago, long before Donald Trump’s trip into politics, the Super Bowl was politicized: then-President George W. Bush gave a hilarious interview in 2004 (“What do I know, I’m just the president”) and began the tradition of the president answering a few questions before the game, To reach more than 100 million citizens. The politicization of football itself, with fierce and relentless debates ensued: Can African-American Colin Kaepernick kneel during the American anthem to protest racism and police brutality? Are changes to regulations for more security evidence of football lubrication and thus a symbol of gender-like left-wing liberalism? Should athletes keep their mouths shut on political issues or use their platform?
There is something from the third camp developing: a camp that no longer wants to argue, but only hopes for chicken sauce
Sports and politics can no longer be separated. However, this is not a purely American problem, as a look at the Olympic Games in China shows; We wish you well in trying to reach consensus on any issue in a Western democracy at this time. But the Super Bowl in Los Angeles takes place at a packed stadium, and California’s indoor mask requirements have just been lifted; Hardly anyone discusses it. It will be about the three American Fs: football, television and food. All the rest: It does not matter, and this calm is in the interests of the Americans.
Yes, there are still relentless arguments in this country, but something like the third camp is developing far from left and right, tired of arguments. People who just want to discuss the heat of chicken wing sauce, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Zeus costume in the commercial, Eminem’s music during intermission, and of course, football on Sunday. Perhaps the most important sentence from President Joe Biden, after all: one that won’t be said. He skips the Super Bowl interview and does exactly what his countrymen need that day: He spares them politics.
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