The Super Bowl is only days away, yet if you open the sports pages, there's not much real football being written about. The rancor surrounding the game sounds more like a scripted build-up to a WWE WrestleMania than the biggest game in legitimate American sports.
It's not surprising that at this time of year, even if it's just during the pre-game interviews, I like to take a few minutes to celebrate what may be America's greatest socialist institution, and the active system of redistribution that helps make it so great.
I was deeply troubled to discover that the NFL's approach to children is now the same as mega-corporations like Disney and McDonald's. The NFL not only wants children to "consume" its products (licensed merchandise and televised football), it wants to immerse kids in its brand 24/7.
Sportsmanship in its most pure form -- defined as "fair play, respect for opponents and polite behaviors by someone who is competing in a sport or other competition" -- can still be found.
On Sunday, Feb. 1, an actual football game will be played. With teams that have identical 14-4 records. A game that Las Vegas has declared about as even a match up as we've had in years, with a one-point spread.
Without fail, twice a year, I have a fond thought for a man I never had the pleasure of meeting. Those times: National Football League opening day and during the frenzy leading up to an American holiday called the Super Bowl.
This week we fans will stroll the streets, swap our favorite Seahawks superstitions, and snap "Twelfies." We'll nod and slap high-fives with neighbors; we'll chat stats as if we actually understand the cool language of numbers.
Seems a little odd, no?
Forty percent of the public says football is their favorite sport to watch, making it roughly four times more popular than any other sport. Even so, the dominance of football in American culture should not be taken for granted.
The course of ardent love needs to involve pain, and sometimes even agony or tragedy, doesn't it? That's the formula in theater, if not always in life.
One topic is the main ethical debate around professional football's "Deflategate" and whether quarterback Tom Brady and/or other New England Patriots are cheating and lying. The second topic is a constant: the morality of supporting football.
The best part of any sports movie is the inspirational speech right before The Big Game. Whether it's the Super Bowl or Little League, there's nothing a good, old-fashioned motivational speech can't fix!
Marijuana is now the nation's fastest-growing industry. The legal marijuana industry brought in $2.4 billion last year, so it's certainly no longer any sort of laughing matter. That figure represents an increase of a whopping 74 percent in one year's time, and it is estimated that the total legal market could be worth $11 billion as soon as 2019.
Even though fans cry foul and sponsors chastise the league, people keep watching and corporate dollars still flow into the NFL coffers. So why should the NFL change? After all, even the unwilling have to watch the Super Bowl.
They say that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. That certainly appears to be true with the NFL. Over the past year it has been rocked by a series of brand-damaging events that have been magnified by media coverage.
It started long before "Deflate-gate", but that episode of alleged cheating by the New England Patriots -- reportedly playing with under-inflated footballs during the AFC Championship game to give the quarterback better grip -- only magnifies the hate.