Perhaps the most large scale relatively recent example of a sporting event representing the political extremes of a country this divided was Ali-Frazier 1 back in 1971.
Muhammad Ali represented youth, resistance and coming off being suspended from the sport of boxing for three years due to his refusal to be inducted into the United States military, anti-war.
Joe Frazier, not of his own doing and probably even a little unfortunately, represented The Establishment.
It was a close fight throughout, though in the 15th, Ali went down – didn’t stay down – but the die had been cast.
The Establishment was right, sorry Marvin, but war was the answer, and all that youthful foolishness and bullshit that used to ride in the 60’s was now definitively over.
And, like I said, that was just the most large scale relatively recent example.
Other examples of how a divided political world bubbled over into sports, include everything from Kentucky vs. Texas Western, to Jack Johnson, to Jackie Robinson, to Jesse Owens vs. Hitler.
And on Sunday, February 5th, 2017, we should see more of the same.
Not only does the quarterback of the team from New England, one baby-making Tom Brady, a share a love for the leggy ladies and a proclivity for knocking them up with his good friend the current and highly controversial President of the United States, but the team that Mr. Brady plays for quite presumptuously calls themselves “The Patriots”.
This makes them the favorite of the Sarah Palin set and any other beer guzzling, Red State-living, guns, God, school prayer and Right 2 Life denizen of this fine land of ours.
Their opponents in the upcoming Super Bowl, the Atlanta Falcons, don’t have anything going for them other than the strong arm of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones’ ability to make paid defensive backs look like hesitant volunteers, some guy named Freeman and a defense that doesn’t like anybody.
They’ll need more than that to beat these “Patriots” however and prevent Tom Brady from picking up his 5 and record-setting ring as a quarterback.
They’ll need a following which, like Brady’s and the Patriots’, extends outside of their home region.
They’ll need, in fact, the counter-culture, the resistance, the protesters.
They’ll need a group comprised of everybody this current President and administration seemingly opposes.
They’ll need mugs, pugs, thugs, Indian Agents Mexican bandits…
Wait, got a little too Blazing Saddles there for a minute, but you get where I’m going with this.
To make this Super Bowl the event that it has the potential to be, the NFL should do everything in it’s power not only to highlight the contrasting football styles of the two teams involved, but also attempt to invoke any possible – real or imagined – ideological differences.
Give the alt-left somebody to identify with.
Give the freaks somebody to root for.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn may not seem to be the anti notably stoic Bill Belichick, but if I were NFL commission Roger Goodell; well, first, I’d have never suspended Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice or Mike Vick, but I’d also play up Quinn to be some rainbow flag-rocking leader of a subversive movement to destroy the game love by allowing, you know, those Michael Sam-types to play.
And if I were Falcons team owner Arthur Blank, I’d beg the league to let me switch the name of the franchise to “The Atlanta Protesters” for just this one particular game.
The Women’s March on Washington just did 3 times the number as the current Prez’s recent inauguration.
From a marketing perspective, Atlanta could make a killing.