The Super Bowl, Politics and Afghanistan

49ers michael crabtree


RICHARD LUTZ watches the Super Bowl televised from New Orleans and ponders what he is really viewing

The Super Bowl- when America sits down, eats comfy bad food and watches what many times can be a very good game. Sort of similiar to a Cup Final when you know damn well that the semi -finals were  probably better.

This year, it was the San Francisco 49’ers versus the Baltimore Ravens.

Or to be put it in a different light, the west coast v the east coast; the light and easy on the eye 49’ers v the plodding muscle bound Ravens; the rich Bay Area golden boys v the gritty urban hardmen;  the  laid back easy come/easy go city versus a down- and -out wasted  metroland best known  for its  hard as nails crime series called The Wire.

And, to add a bit of twist,  it was played in the iconic  Saints Stadium in New Orleans, site of the post hurricane horror show,  now revamped and brand spanking new.

Well, despite the stadium lights packing up halfway through and with Beyonce promising to actually sing and not mime, it turned out to be a gloriously close game with the Ravens holding on to squeak past and win by  a mere 3 points.

The thing is that the annual Super Bowl entrances the American tv public on a cold Sunday night. And UK viewing figures, despite the late start, aren’t bad either.

So, what is it about?

The game helps America forget that this most military of sports with its aerial games,   ground war mentality and its blitz attacks (best described by the late  comic George Carlin on  (  is a  pale but fun imitation of  the real world (well, non sports world)   where America is trying to extricate itself from  two nasty theatres of war despite weekly horror  headlines (well, more like one column sidebars)  about someone having his legs ripped away or a wedding party shredded by a drone attack.

No one in the US  wants to know about these badly thought out overseas adventures. Least of all President Obama, his former secretary of State president in waiting Hillary Clinton or her successor, Vietnam vet  John Kerry.

Both Iraq and Afghanistan are off the charts, a non agenda item, a forgettable footnote in current affairs.

But there’s a problem about forgetting and ignoring. The States is fatally linked with the  need to fight. It  needs an enemy. Track its last 200 years of history and it is always rattling a sword somewhere whether it was Barbary pirates (a minor baddie when villains were sparse) , Germany, Russia, Communists in general, Islamic terrorists or North Korean whackos.

Of course, with the rock we live on so damaged and populated by nutcases anyway, it seems as if the US doesn’t have far to go to uncover an enemy. It all makes for unpleasant reading. There’s always  an enemy at the gates, on the hill, in a city street.

Best to click on the flatscreen and get a surrogate war. Like a clash between two armoured teams. It’ll get your mind off a sad bad war…or the beast on the horizon trumpeting the next bloody encounter.

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