I am a huge football fan, and a pioneer of playing Fantasy Football, which I've done for almost 25 years. But even I think the Super Bowl is a crude event that plays to the lowest denominator of our society. It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of people around the world think most Americans are like the beer-swilling women-ogling goons in the beer commercials. The mindless scantily clad bimbettes who so eagerly party hardy are also caricatures, players in a world that doesn't really exist.
As a real football fan the spectacle takes away from the real drama – the game. I don't need two weeks of building it up. I don't need eight hours of pre-game hype. And although I enjoy the television ads, often created by the best minds of Madison Avenue, the whole affair reeks of overkill.
Because we must create idols to sell this event as a mega-happening, a strange whitewash takes place. Though there are genuinely intelligent, kind football players, for the most part the stereotype is the norm: huge, 'roided up, meth-fueled maniacs that are trained to hit and break bones. The tougher they are, the better.
In this world they want the men rough and tumble, and the women well-endowed and agreeable.
Don't make the mistake of believing the National Football League blanches at inappropriate behavior: the league's "investigation" – or lack of -- of the charge Brett Favre was texting lewd pictures to a Jets' employee says a lot. Want more proof? Donte Stallworth mowed down a man while driving drunk. He was suspended by the NFL – for one season. He signed a multi-million contract with Baltimore the next year.
The brightest stars in the Super Bowl are the two quarterbacks, who are elevated to mythical status in the days preceding the game.
The Pittsburgh quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, fits the mold of beefy warrior -- he's six foot six-inches and weighs 250 pounds. Big Ben is a hard-playing, hard-drinking, hard-partying son of a gun. And, apparently he likes his women compliant – whether they really are or not.
Roethlisberger has been accused of sexual misconduct twice in the past two years. Last March he was out drinking with the boys – repeatedly downing shots. Soon, 10 PM turned to 1:30 AM, and the boys were at their third bar. One woman that Ben hit on hard said she rolled her eyes and walked away. But, she testified, she saw Ben "aggressively" approach another woman. That woman ended up in the hospital, and she charged Big Ben with forcing himself on her in the bathroom. She was 20 years old, and weighed all of 110 pounds or so. One eyewitness described her as "hysterical" after the incident.
Eventually, the district attorney declined to press charges, but he made it clear there was plenty of evidence, but just enough "reasonable doubt." The alleged victim, castigated by Steelers' faithful and some members of the press, also asked charges be dropped. We'll never know if some backroom deal involving a lot of cash was made.
But wait a minute. At the time of the second incident Big Ben was already being sued by a different woman who says he raped her in 2008 at a Lake Tahoe hotel and casino, an allegation he denied. Roethlisberger was not criminally charged in that case and has claimed counter damages in the lawsuit.
All in all, it was enough to suspend Ben for six games, though the suspension was later reduced to four. When he was back in uniform, Ben went on television and calmly said the allegations were made up and his good name sullied.
Ray Lewis, the star of the 2000 Super Bowl, was arrested after two guys were stabbed to death during a "melee" in the wee hours. Lewis, according to testimony, was spotted buying a knife a couple days before. When the smoke cleared Lewis pleaded down to obstruction of justice. Now he pitches Old Spice and numerous other products.
One trend about all these events that was interesting was how many people blamed the victims for what occurred. The two dead guys picked the fights, they said. The women were asking for it. In other words, these are our heroes, they can do as they please with impunity.
It used to be fun to drink beer and act like an ass in college. We were immature. We didn't know better. Anyhow, that's what all the other guys were doing. Eventually, though, it dawns on us real women, the ones with smarts and brains, want more from a guy than someone who smashes beer cans on his forehead. Most of all, though, they want to be treated like a lady.
Remember that Sunday when you see that Big Goon swaggering around the field like he owns the place. If you're a Steelers' fan, though, be careful what you wish for, because after the game Big Ben will be in a partyin' mood, and when he's partyin' he's drinkin' and after he drinks his fill he'll want a woman – and he doesn't take no for an answer.