One of the blessings of being a sabbatarian is the removal of the temptation to watch the Super Bowl. Yes, if the home team happens to be there I may revert to the Jewish conception of the sabbath day ending at sundown. But the NFL has become so bloated (and mediocre along the way thanks to the salary cap), and the championship game has become such a venue for sports executives and television sports producers to think they can put on a show as good as people the people in Hollywood, that I’m just as happy to have a religious excuse for not wasting my time. Think about it, halftime is the worst part of any football game and the only reason to put up with marching bands. But now the NFL allots forty-eight friggin’ minutes to a silly attempt at extravaganza (silly because they still incorporate cheerleaders and baton twirlers — at least last time I watched). Can that much time really be good for the teams and their rhythm? Are people watching the game to see Bruce Springteen or Bono, or would they prefer to have their concert and their sports cheering as separate experiences, sort of like keeping rock ‘n’ roll out of worship.
But what strikes me as the best example of the NFL’s hubris is their tired and foolish tradition of designating each Super Bowl with a Roman number. This year is XLV, which if my ancient numbering is correct tallies up to 45. Yes, we have had forty-five Super Bowls. Big deal.
Does anyone know how many World Series Major League Baseball has conducted? Or what about the Stanley Cup? At least the other major leagues have the good sense to designate their annual championship by its equivalent year and not try to dress it up in something Ben Hur might see, though the NFL’s desperation may stem from their status as the newest kids on the championship block.
Here are the respective totals for baseball, hockey, basketball, and football.
World Series — begun in 1903 with a total of 106 championships (two years were cancelled).
Stanley Cup — begun in 1927 with a total of 84 championships.
National Basketball Association Finals — begun in 1947 with a total of 64.
Super Bowl — begun in 1967 with a total of 44 (and counting).
I do know that the NFL had championships before the Super Bowl. But those don’t count because they don’t have Roman numerals.