The Super Bowl America Needed
I’ll start by saying I’m extremely excited to see the Atlanta Falcons take on the Patriots in Super Bowl-whatever on January/February-something. Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense is a joy to watch, and seeing them hang 44 points on the Packers this past weekend was the highlight of the playoffs, in my opinion. And in the AFC, the Patriots handled the Steelers fairly easily and capped off a boring and injury-laden AFC playoff picture. Not that the NFC playoffs were much of a joy to watch, either. Honestly, the only memorable game was the modern classic that was Green Bay at Dallas. But in the end, it appears as if the two best teams — New England and Atlanta — will meet in the Super Bowl in Houston.
But this isn’t the game our country needs.
I’ll preface this by saying I hate the Green Bay Packers. Absolutely fucking hate them. I grew up an hour south of Green Bay, and have endured the drunken stupidity of Packers fans. This sort of “we’re better than everyone else” arrogance has been growing in recent years — you get spoiled when you haven’t had to worry about a quarterback for almost 25 years. I can’t ignore, either, the fact that most fans are shareholders, and thus, “owners.” This meaningless sense of entitlement keeps the hot takes coming — like this one: Green Bay could have beat Atlanta had they not cut local hero, Danny Abbrederis. (A real person said this to me.)
Despite all of this, I have to praise that cocky motherfucker, Aaron Rodgers. It takes an unimaginable amount of physical talent to somehow take all of the luck and fun out of Hail Mary passing. And if it wasn’t for an idiotic organization and a head coach not able to do anything but get in the way of an elite quarterback, Rodgers would probably have more than just statistics to back up his claim as one of the best quarterbacks to play the game. (Only one Super Bowl?)
Rodgers is a unique persona off the field, however. Despite being one of the most talented football players in the league, he doesn’t seem like a “football guy.” He speaks with confidence, using humor and sarcasm. He speaks eloquently and intelligently, avoiding football and sports cliches and foolish takes. Famously, he’s told teammates and fans to “R-E-L-A-X,” and before the winning streak that ended with the loss to Atlanta, he spoke confidently of “running the table,” which displayed some pretty amazing wins against foes like the Matt Barkley-led Chicago Bears and Sam Bradford’s Minnesota Vikings.
Obviously Wisconsin has been won over by Rodgers, and so has the rest of the country. He’s attached at the hip to Olivia Munn, his brother was on “The Bachelor” (though we won’t get into his relationship with his family), and he appears on your television on some sort of commercial ten-to-twenty times daily.
On November 15, 2015, following the tragic Paris terrorist attacks, there was a moment of silence before the Packers’ home game at Lambeau Field. During that moment of silence, some idiot fan cheered “Muslims suck,” (wow, how astute), and in the press conference following the game, Rodgers put his endorsement-money on line criticizing the fan.
“It’s that kind of prejudicial ideology that puts us in the position that we’re in today as a world”
Finally. Proof that all football players aren’t necessarily dumb jocks. Proof that some athletes are intelligent and care about the world outside of their home stadium. And also proof that a progressive voice can come out of the NFL, a league and fanbase that has recently shown how much they appreciate diverse opinions.
Of course, every progressive hero needs a traditional villain…
Here’s how I see it: Tom Brady has been an East Coast-staple for the past 15 years or so. Donald Trump has been an East Coast-staple for, oh, 30 years or so. In that time, Trump has spent countless hours hosting and schmoozing elites from all walks of life — politics, pop culture, sports, you name it. Is it crazy these two have crossed paths? Not at all. And I genuinely believe on that fateful day when that infamous“Make America Great Again” hat was found in Tom Brady’s locker, it was displayed solely as a gift from a “friend” — a friend that at this time (September of 2015), wasn’t necessarily seen as the “next president.” As time moved on and Donald Trump became committed to being the worst person on the face of the planet, Tom (with some advice from Gisele) decided mentioning “he who shall not be named” was a bad, bad idea. But we all still remember. And it makes us “defenders” uncomfortable.
But here’s the thing: Deflategate is a conspiracy and a myth. The Tuck Rule was the right call. And everybody recorded pregame drills. Grow up everyone. In less than two weeks, Tom Brady will play in his seventh Super Bowl. SEVEN. To put that into perspective, Tom Brady has singlehandedly played in more Super Bowls than 28 NFL teams. He’s 39-years-old and has shown virtually no indication his quality of work is decreasing. Face it: Tom Brady will still be an elite quarterback into his 40s, and no one — including Aaron Rodgers — will even come close to appearing in as many Super Bowls as Tom Brady has won. You should probably just forget your stupid opinion and just enjoy watching the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.
The greatest — and in my opinion, the only — tarnish on Tom Brady’s legacy will be a permanent orange stain.
So he we are, the perfect subplot in Super Bowl history. National pride is on the line: Team America— what’s more American than a Patriot and “winning?” — versus America’s team — we’re ALL owners.
I can’t stress how thankful I am Aaron Rodgers and his Packers will be nowhere near Houston for the Super Bowl. As much as I can’t stand him, I’m terrified literally every time he escapes to pocket and starts searching for receivers. But America is missing an opportunity for catharsis. Did you see during Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration when that Nazi-fuck Richard Spencer got punched in the face? This is the healing our country needs.
I’m sorry to call Tom Brady a Nazi — or for that matter call Aaron Rodgers some sort of hero. But America is a weird place in 2017: The Year of the Trump. Tom Brady has unfortunately been cast as the NFL’s Richard Spencer, and Aaron Rodgers is the most natural ANTIFA punch-thrower. The best thing we can do now is to hope that America isn’t destroyed by Trump and the NFL isn’t destroyed by denying concussions, and there’s a chance at redemption by the time next year’s Super Bowl rolls around.