Monday, February 06, 2006

Was there a football game yesterday or something?

Martin Rayner, the Red Tory, without whose blog I would know zip about Canadian politics, was asking if I'm not a football fan.

He was wondering because last night, right here, on this stage, I was touting the Masterpiece Theatre production of Bleak House, instead of doing any pregame, midgame, or postgame blogging about the Super Bowl.

As it happens, I've been taping Bleak House, saving it up to watch all at once---well, to watch on a succession of nights leading up to the final episode; I'm not planning an 8 hour marathon viewing. I've been checking out scenes from the first three episodes along the way, and it looks very good. Wasn't all that happy with the way they handled Krook's spontaneous combustion last night, but the acting I've seen is first-rate, particularly Hugo Speer as Mr George and Charles Dance as Tulkinghorn, and especially Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock.

I didn't watch the Super Bowl from kick-off to final gun. I mostly worked in the next room and listened in on the 9 year old watching the game. He was rooting for the Seahawks and was pretty well disgusted throughout. He claims the refs were against Seattle. He went to bed with something like 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter and as it turns out he didn't miss anything more. Any Super Bowl that's over at the end of the 3rd quarter is a bad Super Bowl. But out of the 40 played, how many have been any good?

It's not that I'm not a football fan. I'm not a Super Bowl fan. I watch the playoffs, but that two week layover is just long enough for me to realize I don't really care, even when there's a team I like playing, and that is a rarity.

I don't have a team. I probaly should be a Giants fan. I used to watch them every Sunday when I was a kid, but for some reason fandom didn't bloom in my heart. Maybe because they were terrible. When I got to Boston the Patriots were so bad that you just didn't talk about them in polite society. Out in Iowa and in Indiana the team we were all supposed to root for was the Bears. I hated the Bears and rooted against them.

I thought I was a 49ers fan for a while, but it turned out I was a Joe Montana goes deep to Jerry Rice fan.

I could manage, and some years do manage, to find a team to root for, usually about half way through the season, after the World Series. I'm enough of a baseball fan to follow the game no matter where the Mets and the Red Sox finish in the standings. The NBA's playoff season is so long that I'm usually able to find a couple of teams to like and get to know well enough to care how they do. Football season's just too short. And I just don't want to give up all my Sunday afternoons to football anyway.

I was kind of rooting for the Steelers. I've always liked their uniform and Ben Roethlisberger's a fellow blogger. But that wasn't enough to draw me in, because when I get right down to it, it's not that I'm not a football fan, and not that I'm not a Super Bowl fan.

It's that I am not a watching football on television fan.

I can't stand the way it's covered---or overcovered.

I can't stand the urgency of the announcing. I can't stand the chest-beating trumpeting of the players' brute physical strength. I can't stand the endless replays of routine plays. I can't stand all those X's and arrows and O's all over the screen. I can't stand the cacophony of voices---how many people do they cram into the broadcast booths these days, eight? Nine? Plus all the "reporters" in the stands and on the sidelines. Let me watch the damn game for myself, willya?

I can't stand the commercials.

I can't stand the hyping of the commercials.

I can't stand the halftime shows. Mick looked pretty good though, didn't he?

I can't stand the shots of the stupidest and most rabid fans.

I even can't stand the shots of the cheerleaders. Because they're too short. The shots, not the girls. It's like catching glimpses inside a strip club as the door opens, just before the bouncer folds his arms and moves to stand in your way.

But what I really can't stand about football on television is John Madden.

Neddie Jingo can't stand Al Michaels, but he watched the game anyway and lived to live blog it all the way through.

Nancy Nall, who lives near enough to Detroit to feel the pride, reports that the Motor City did all right by itself, hosting Super Bowl. She also says that Jenna Jameson's party was well-attended. And you were worried.


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