Why I Love the Patriots But Hate the Super Bowl

Tom Brady was saying early in the week of probably a billion interviews that, “we just gotta win one more football game.”

I found that a quant idea as I listened and watched to the non-stop hype particularly here in Boston. Don’t get me wrong I am a sports junkie. I love the fact that we have two 24 hour sports radio stations now, that Sports Center is an around the clock affair, and that my team is in the big game. But as I listened to Boomer and Phil and Gronk and Matt Light over and over again I began to get sick to my stomach.  Kind of like when you eat too much rich food.

What I love about sports is the way it allows men–and women–to test the boundaries of what is possible. “This is but a canvas upon which we paint our souls,” my college coach told me one time. I’m a sucker for truly amateur sports like rowing and wrestling and even swimming before the big sponsors got involved. And I like sports where you have to win to get paid, like golf and tennis.

Football is no doubt the best packaged of the big four.  The NBA, MLB and NHL really can’t hold a candle to the NFL product in terms of it’s universal appeal, now reinforced by fantasy nuts like my son who have a reason to watch every single game to the bitter end. There is no comparison in terms of the  world-wide impact of the Super Bowl compared to the Stanley Cup or the World Series or NBA finals.

So why the gag reflex on my part? My boys are in the game.  Belicheck went to my alma mater for goodness sake. I’ve palled around with Matt Light and Wes Welker once or twice (you could fit about 10 of Wes into Matt’s body).

I’m not sure why I want to puke but it has something to do with how Madison Avenue has built this game into the crowning achievement of manhood on the planet. I just resent that. Yes, I love sports. I even love football. I definitely watch every single Patriots game.

But in all the endless blather about just another football game the game itself gets lost and we are presented with these fictitious story lines about manhood. Not just whether or not Gronk’s ankle will be healed or whether Brady will shake off his sub-par post season performances of late. But really what it means to be a man in America in the 21st century.

I yearn for Jonny Unitis and Joe Namath, not endless Bud Light commercials and Donica Patrick with no clothes on. It’s a football game.  Like a rowing race or a marathon or a father trying to raise his kids by himself.  There are heroes and courage and bravery.  But in all the hype that gets lost.  We get assaulted with so much crap that the game itself, the actual snaps and passes and tackles, moves so far into the background it’s barely visible.

So I love my Patriots–I really hope they win–but I am beginning to loath the Super Bowl.  Can someone just deliver to my house the direct feed of the game when it starts, with no commercials and no commentary?

That would be something I could get jacked up about seeing.

 

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About Tom Matlack

Tom Matlack is the co-founder of The Good Men Project. He has a 18-year-old daughter and 16- and 7-year-old sons. His wife, Elena, is the love of his life. Follow him on Twitter @TMatlack.

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