Sunday, February 1, 2015


All you people asking me about the Superbowl and who's gonna win it? I'd say the two teams are very well matched . . . the game will go to whoever stops playing football first . . . just like the Green Bay Packers a couple weeks back . . . FWIW my money's on the SeaBirds - S.L.

"Bread and Circuses" is of course a saying comes from the Ancient Roman Emperors habit of putting on a circus and distributing free bread to the mob, as a distraction during challenging political times.

There is a magnificent portrayal of a Roman chariot race in the 1959 film Ben-Hur; more like a six-way dual to the death than what we think of as a horse race.

Many people equate NFL football to the Ancient Roman circuses and games. Admittedly there are a lot of similarities; the pageantry, the violence, the blood-lust of the crowd.

The players themselves actually resemble Roman gladiators with their helmets and body armor. And of course the injuries - while rarely fatal - do add a level if mortality to what is otherwise considered a game. And of course there is the "bread and circuses" aspect of the whole thing . . .

Well unless you've been living under a rock or just came out of a coma, you're aware of the cheating scandal going on in the NFL - its one of those sports stories that spills over into the mainstream media. After the playoff game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts – which the Patriots won by a landslide - it was somehow determined that the Patriots had somehow underinflated their footballs.

The reasoning behind this is in cold weather, a slightly less inflated football is easier to throw and a hell of a lot easier to catch . . . it was about 35 degrees and raining . . . here are some factoids for those who haven't been following the scandal:

NFL regulation balls are inflated to a pressure of between 12.5 and 13.5 psi (pounds per square inch). In the NFL each team plays their own balls when they are offense - each team brings 12 balls to the game, broken in, well seasoned balls, with their own team logo on it. The balls are presented to the officials 2 hours before the game, who inspect them for correct dimensions and pressure, then hand them over to the team about 15 minutes before the game.

The footballs are handled by several different NFL officials and a group of the balls are inspected prior to each game. After the game the Colts expressed a concern about the Patriot's balls, and NFL officials determined they were about 2 psi under; this is a significant difference in a volume of gas as small as an NFL football. They ruled out Boyle's and Henry's laws of physics - a.k.a. the Ideal Gas Law - because the Colt's balls were not affected by the cold to the same degree.

Anyway it's a big scandal - it was the AFC championship - and the NFL is trying to figure out how to manage this thing going into the Superbow. They won't take away the Patriot's victory, but there will be some fines and or suspensions or loss of draft picks. They're being very careful not to act too soon, to punish the wrong guys - like for example Tom Brady the quarterback who is one of the best quarterbacks of all time - wouldn't be fair to punish him if he had nothing to do with it.

In the meantime the media is honking on and on about how it’s such a scandal, how disgraceful, it’s all about the integrity of the game. Talking heads from Boston are moaning about how ashamed they are of the Patriots . . . ad infinatum ad nauseum . . .

It really is remarkable. It's spilled right over into the regular media - one of those sports stories that migrates from the back page to the front page. Bread and circuses, right?

Now here's the irony of it all:

None of these media types ever moan about integrity or rules or cheating whenever Obama throws out a mandate in direct contradiction to the Constitution.

Not a word about integrity or rules or cheating when the Democrats changed the rules in the Senate and Congress so the Republicans couldn't even debate the bills they crammed through.

The press gave Clinton a pass when he lied under oath - perjury - or when all those women came forward with accusations of rape and abuse. Not a word about integrity or rules or cheating.

So politics gets a pass on rule breaking - that's OK - but in sports the rules and regulations are sacrosanct?

I ran this past a friend whom I consider sophisticated and informed. "Politicians lie and cheat all the time," she shrugged. OK - politicians get a pass on it, but now with this football thing, the same media talking heads who give politicians a pass on breaking the rules - where it has real consequences on people's lives - are all bent out of shape over the integrity of football.

My point is the irony and the hypocrisy of the media, the absolute double standard: with this football thing, the rules and integrity are sacrosanct.

The press gave Ted Kennedy get a total pass on Chappaquiddick; weren't even allowed to bring it up in interviews, an unwritten agreement. They covered for John Edwards when his Love Child story was broke by the National Enquirer (of all papers) for six months . . . the regular press gave John Edwards a pass until finally the NE posted the pics of Edwards with the baby and then they couldn't ignore it anymore.

OK I get it. The rules don't matter. The Press gives powerful people a pass because they know what side their bread is buttered on. Politicians are expected to be corrupt and so the Press looks the other way when they are. Sports on the other hand is supposed to be sacrosanct, where examples are created for young people: "Bread and Circuses" - the Powers That Be all over the world want to distract people's attention from what is really happening.

But that is my point, of course. The pundits and the talking heads in the media carry themselves like they are the Keepers of the Flame, the Fourth Branch of Government charged with moral oversight. And yet the message we get is that political leaders aren't supposed to set any kind of example for young people? That it's OK to be a stinker? How is that in keeping with any rule or principle of leadership, in anyone's book?

And of course the Press claims to be objective but in reality they are not. Let us consider the great politicians of yesteryear, John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

Kennedy was an absolute stinker - broke every rule in the book in all directions - but he was assassinated by a dirty little America-hating Communist and for the rest of eternity JFK is a saint.

Nixon's crime was standing up for his guys and getting sucked into covering for a crime - an office break-in to the Democratic Party's political office that he had no involvement in and no direct knowledge of, whatsoever - and they ran him out of town on a rail over it.

No, of course politicians are SUPPOSED to be honest, but everyone knows they're not.

I don't accept that. I want my leadership held to the same standards that I am.

Look at all that mess they made about George Bush: "Bush lied thousands died." Never mind there is not a shred of proof that he told a single lie. Whereas Bill Clinton gets up there and committed perjury - lying under oath - which would get you or me 5 years in the slammer automatic sentence - and the press was saying it doesn't matter, its okay to lie about sex, people do it all the time.

In fact in the 1992 election, as it surfaced what a reprobate Clinton was, the press started this saying: "Character doesn't count"


A greater point is that this proves there is a moral imperative to a free & open society . . .


1 comment:

  1. You make my point wonderfully.
    Americans care more for the NFL rulebook for a game than they do for the Constitution, the rulebook that governs their lives.
    Lazarus Long