The Future of the Super Bowl (Part 3)
Again we’ve arrived at America’s favorite quasi holiday, the Super Bowl. How the Super Bowl went from an afterthought of a game to the institute it is today is truly a fascinating story. People forget that the first Super Bowl was essentially an experiment. There was no great clamor in the 1960’s for the AFL and NFL champions to play each other the way there is today for an NCAA football playoff.
The Super Bowl’s founding is quite similar to the World Series. That too started out as more of an extracurricular than a championship, but for years after it ruled America as the ultimate sporting event. It was of course dethroned by the Super Bowl. It may seem improbable now, but it’s possible, or rather likely, that at some point the Super Bowl too will lose the title of America’s favorite competition.
You could hypothesize any number of theories. Soccer could eventually become more popular due to the rising Latino population. I apologize to every southerner that just started yelling racist things and vomiting after reading that sentence. I personally do not believe soccer will overtake football, and thus end the Super Bowl’s reign. My theory, is equally plausible, but given this country’s general character, far more likely. The Super Bowl will one day be replaced by the Puppy Bowl.
The Puppy Bowl of the future will not be like the one you see this Sunday. I will get to that. But first let’s set the stage for how a seemingly insignificant side show could overtake the biggest game on the planet. It’s the not-so-distant future, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the Super Bowl yet again. Mike Tomlin has built an historical football dynasty
Although football is still by far the most popular sport in America, cracks in the foundation have begun to show. A recent labor stoppage has alienated fans to an extent. The sport itself has become harder to watch as well. The game has grown increasingly violent, and its players increasingly unlikable.
Take for example, two members of these future Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison. Big Ben has yet again faced sexual assault charges, attacking a defenseless woman. Brasher than ever after being acquitted once more, he quips to the media:
“Even if she was defenseless, who cares? I raped the Ravens three weeks ago and they had a hell of defense.”
Meanwhile James Harrison, the once quiet monster, has let his rage flow freely after losing his entire paycheck to fines. In the previous season he’s put seven people in the hospital. He’s also killed Darren Sproles. To add insult to injury Harrison then protested Sproles’ funeral, a la the Westboro Baptist church, while holding a sign reading “God Hates Pussies.”
This violence on the professional level, as well as more brutal play in college and high school, has led any intelligent parent to stop their kids from playing football. Now only the half witted backwoodsman of the country roam amateur gridirons. The field is filled with athletes who in today’s sports world would be relegated to the octagon. It’s an ugly scene.
But still, football survives, until the Super Bowl is played. Then a series of heinous events occur that uppity mothers/wives can no longer tolerate. A drunken Ben Roethlisberger and his offensive line ambush bukkake Carrie Underwood just after her halftime show performance. Meanwhile James Harrison lands a punishing blow on the opposing team’s quarterback, who is seen choking, nearly to death, on his own blood by 100 million viewers. Meanwhile Harrison dances around his lifeless body. It is, in short, the vilest Super Bowl ever played.
There is uproar across the country, “no more violent sports! No more seeing young men kill each other for our entertainment!” The movement is so humongous that sponsors actually pull out of NFL deals. After hijacking America’s sport, the Tipper Gores of the world further cement their victory by mainstreaming peaceful events, such as the Puppy Bowl.
Fast forward another few years. January/February are more miserable than ever. There is no quality football, as by now the NFL, which still exists, is populated by the aforementioned idiot redneck amateur players. The Puppy Bowl has become surprisingly popular. America, refusing to take a day of drinking off the calendar, started celebrating the “game” ironically. Of course no one pays close attention, so instead the masses just drink more. Either way, the ratings are through the roof.
Corporate sponsorship for the Puppy Bowl is huge. They’ve even managed to preserve the tradition of funny Super Bowl commercials by shifting them to the Puppy Bowl. After a while, a brash group of Don Draper-esque marketing whizzes get together and realize that the only way to make the Puppy Bowl more profitable is to add violence, the thing Americans still secretly love so dearly.
The first dog fight at the Puppy Bowl is a tame one. There is no death, just an entertaining match. It’d be like desensitizing the country to gladiatorial fights by showing them a fencing match. Interest is through the roof. The people want more. The marketers aren’t stupid though. Too much too fast could sink the ship. Violence increases, but slowly. Eventually though, the Puppy Bowl has transformed itself into a canine bloodbath. And it’s done so in effective increments, never outpacing (instead often setting) the population’s tolerance for animal violence.
The year is, let’s say, 2040. The date is Sunday, February 5th. You’re probably in your 60’s. What’s on TV? Five straight hours of dog fighting on NBC. Not just Doberman v. Rottweiler either. Rat terriers once again do what they were bred for, trying to kill as many rats as they can in a minute. There are different types of fights too. For example, can 15 starved, inbred, ill tempered Shih Tzu’s take down a lone Pit Bull? Men, women and children are gathered around the TV to watch man’s best friends slaughter each other for sport. The halftime show will be a parade of adorable puppies, most of whom will be in the pit themselves in two years.
The name Puppy Bowl is retained for brand recognition. The fights are truly gruesome. What Michael Vick once went to jail for is now the country’s new national pastime. In the ultimate about face, he is exonerated of all his former charges by the president at halftime of Puppy Bowl XXXIV. He then inspects the doggie rape dungeons as a general would his troops, and nods approvingly. They’ve been given the Mike Vick seal of approval.
That could very well be the bleak future of the Super Bowl (give or take 300 other factors of varying degrees of importance). How could this all have been prevented? Better protection for players? Stronger no tolerance policies for out of control league members? Making baseball less boring so that people like it again? I suppose we won’t know unless it’s become too late.
Foxxxrob’s Pick: Packers 38 Steelers 31