Culbreath: Is anybody else just a little tired of the hype?Written by Matt 'Shaggy' Culbreath | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Another Super Bowl Sunday is upon us! Seahawks! Broncos! Peyton Manning! Russell Wilson! Wes Welker! Richard Sherman! Don’t forget about the 4 hour pregame show, the commercials, Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers at halftime, Puppy Bowl X, the MVP, your office Super Squares, whatever poor TV show Fox is going to put on after the game (this year’s winner: Brooklyn Nine-Nine); it’s a dizzying kaleidoscope of graphics, confetti, chili cheese dip, clydesdale fur, and possible-but-not-likely snow as the country comes to a screeching halt for football.
And I gotta ask… is anybody else just a little tired of the hype?
I mentioned it in last year’s column: all of the topics that seem to surround the Super Bowl seem to have so very little to do with the actual game. This year, it’s Peyton Manning’s “legacy”, it’s Richard Sherman being very careful to choose his words, and it’s Marshawn Lynch now drawing the “tsk-tsk”s from the media for barely participating in the two Media Days. Two weeks of constant noise about this game has produced so many lowlights: why is a woman at Media Day asking players about their time in strip clubs, and how they can prevent girls from becoming strippers? Why are people still arguing about a cold weather Super Bowl, as if there’s still time to change it? Why is Skip Bayless still insisting that Tim Tebow could have led this Broncos team to the Super Bowl?
Someone posited years ago that the AFC and NFC Championship games are the last bit of real football for the season. Nobody’s talking Pro Bowl, there’s no week-long party for people who aren’t playing in the game, there’s no massive push for commercial time. There’s two great football games, played in someone’s home stadium, without the hype and fuss. Once the buzzer sounds on the final game, though, they hype machine immediately kicks into gear, and we’re left with two weeks of unending hooplah, and barely any of it about the actual game itself.
It’s gotten so ridiculous, that companies are releasing teasers to their advertisements. Teasers! And people watch them! According to a poll taken by Hanon McKendry, an advertising and branding agency, says that 55% of adults watching the game are looking forward to the ads either as much or more than the game itself! Do you hear yourself, world? More than half of you are excited to see ads! You know, the things you normally skip over on your DVR!
I suppose my point is that perhaps we’re in a football bubble, if I can borrow a term from the financial guys who write for this publication. For all of the complaining about the Pro Bowl (and this year was particularly brutal, thanks to a two-day fantasy draft that stole the idea from the NHL, but missed the good points), it still drew 11.4 million viewers. That’s more than Ohio State-Michigan this year. That’s more than Game 6 of the ALCS. That’s more than the final round of the US Open. That’s more than all but one game of the NBA conference finals. If everybody wants it to go away, maybe you stop watching it? The NFL could host a presidential debate and draw 15 mil.
But maybe, just maybe, it’s starting to come back down to earth. I mentioned Marshawn Lynch earlier: he arrived at Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday, at stayed for 6 and a half minutes. Talked to the NFL Network, and left. When asked why, he said “it’s not my thing.” Now, players are required to participate in Media Day, and he faced a fine if he didn’t. So he appeared, and then left. He did the same thing at the team media day the next day. Beast Mode isn’t interested in the hype (despite all of the Skittles jokes), he’s here to win a trophy. It’s almost refreshing.
I like football. College and pros. But much like the Olympic coverage that has too much backstory and too little action, I start to sour on it when it starts eating its own tail. The fever pitch will crest, and just maybe, the Super Bowl can become a football game again, and not a week-long assault on the brain from every which way but the turf.
Tags: AFC, Broncos, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Bruno Mars, DVR, football, Hanon McKendry advertising and branding agency, Marshawn Lynch, Media Day, NFC, NFL, NFL Network, NHL, Ohio-State Michigan game, Olympic coverage, Peyton Manning, Pro Bowl, Puppy Bowl X, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, Seahawks, Skittles, Super Bowl Sunday, Wes Welker