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Eliyahu Federman

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Why I Won't Watch The Super Bowl

Posted: 02/03/2013 7:22 pm

I have been invited to countless Super Bowl parties all of which I have declined on principle. The Super Bowl craze typifies the herd mentality, primitive tribalism and consumerism.

The herd mentality, or mob mentality, describes succumbing to blinding peer pressure to adopt certain behaviors, beliefs and mindsets. This type of groupthink is characterized by rooting for a particular team irrespective of any other considerations but the fact that all your friends are rooting for that team. This mindless obedience and blind faith seems common to sports enthusiasts and religious fanatics.

Virtually all sports fans exclusively support the team they grew up with and often despise rival teams. Why? Simply because they were born in a particular city and thereby identify with their home team. My tribe is better than your tribe mindset. This squarely meets a tribalistic mentality of harboring a "very strong loyalty that someone feels for the group they belong to, usually combined with the feeling of disliking all other groups."

Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts. According to Time, "[w]hen totaled up, spending on Super Bowl parties and related merchandise -- jerseys, beverages, pigs-in-blankets, and so on -- is expected to reach a whopping $11 billion. That's a lot of pigs in a blanket." While people have a right to spend money as they choose I'm sure we can all think of allot more productive uses for $11 billion dollars.

Playing sports certainly has significant physical and mental health benefits. It also fosters teamsmanship and camaraderie. While physical activity and sportsmanship should be encouraged, don't compare that to painting your face, drinking beer, eating fries, and jeering at rival team members.

Everyone has a right to watch sports; I watch the Olympics. There is value in using the Super Bowl as an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. But as a society we should be mindful of the cult-like traits of groupthink, tribalism and consumerism -- which blind obedience to sports can cultivate.

 

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