Friday, January 30, 2009

On the Super Bowl and the NBA's Obama Era

I hope you don't mind some semi-football related talk here on the eve of the Super Bowl. 

In retrospect, given what we know about the national political scene, maybe we should have seen the downfall of the Patriots coming. Looking back, the New England Patriots were the team of the Bush Administration. The parallels go a little deeper than the simultaneous reigns -- Bush came to power dubiously, on a techincality, bypassing the conventional electoral process and getting chosen to govern by the Supreme Court despite evidence that the voters had not in fact elected him; meanwhile, the Patriots rise to championship level was aided by the questionable application of a little-known rule known as the tuck rule, which gave the Patriots the ball even though it was clear to those watching that they shouldn't have had possession. Once in power, the Bush Administration became known for an obsessive, paranoid insistence on secrecy and control, while Bill Belichick's team similarly was known for tight-lipped press conferences and injury report antics. The two regimes then turned to a series of abuses to consolidate their power, with the Bush regime resorting to warrantless wiretapping and spying on the civilian population and the Belichick regime resorting to surreptitiously videotaping opponents' hand signals. 

The Patriots, as much as any sports team, were representative of the general mood and specific abuses of America immediately after September 11, 2001, so it's no surprise that their first Super Bowl victory was so closely tied to the mourning and outpouring of patriotism that was prevalent in those days. 

With the tide turning as it is, I think it's time to close the book on the Patriots. Mr. Brady might be back and healthy, but that team was for another time, a time that's passed. As a nation, we turn our eyes to the NBA, which is experiencing the rise of the draft class of 2003 as well as other youngsters such as Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Brandon Roy, and Kevin Durant. These newcomers are bringing with them a new era -- the Obama Era. These players evoke a sense of optimism among their fans, and the promise of some type of change in both the substance and form of the league -- finding actual success on the court along with an undeniable marketability for their own brands as well as the NBA. Some examples (first, an AI commercial from the old era, and then a Lebron commercial from the new era):

There is, I think, a lot to be said about the similarities and differences in these two commercials. 

And that brings me to this and this. I highly recommend both reads, and to me they are related. "The new NBA is at peace . . .." I have a lot more thoughts about those two links, I just can't seem to put everything together right now -- just do take the time to read them.


  1. I agree fully with the Pats-Bush connection, I remember thinking it was all part of a major conspiracy (Condi has NFL ties, right?) and was almost certain they were going to usher in the fourth reich as part of a Halftime Spectacular during the 2002 Super Bowl. That was also the Super Bowl where the government dropped the legendary "If you smoke weed, you are supporting terrorism" PSA.
    And let the record show: I was not on my feet chanting "MVP" at the end of last nights game.

  2. Bill

    Maybe you should try to get in on this?

    (Regardless, a couple years from now, Lebron will drop 50+ for the Knicks on the Lakers at Staples Center and the L.A. fans will chant MVP. Everything comes around, eventually.)