My Super Bowl prediction is that millions of Americans, more than the number that voted in the last Presidential election, will gather together today to watch a group of millionaires play a game for four hours interspersed with dozens of 30 second TV commercials costing $3.5 million each, in a stadium that cost three-quarters of a billion dollars to build and was paid for primarily with taxpayer dollars and named for an oil company that had nothing to do with its construction. There will be hundreds, if not thousands of other millionaires in attendance intermittently entertained by aging millionaire pop stars. The total economic impact of today's festivities will exceed the GNP of most small countries. All of this while nearly 50 percent of Americans languish at or near the poverty line, record numbers are surviving on the $4 a day that food stamps provide, millions are being foreclosed on, and unemployment remains over 8 percent.
Will I be watching? Of course I will. In my youth I played enough football to develop a true love for the game. I'm an avid Falcons fan and have been since I attended my first Falcons game in 1967 at the old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. I was a season ticket holder for years until my health declined a few years back. For someone who regularly advocates for the poor and working class, football, professional football, remains my biggest guilty pleasure even as the game has grown to obscene proportions. Imagine if we put the same emphasis on education and intellectual pursuits as we do sports. A world where mathematicians and physicists were rewarded like star athletes? Where teams of research scientists were given ticker tape parades for new discoveries in medicine or advances in renewable energy? Or if we invested those same resources in helping the poor rise out of poverty. Could we break poverty's back in a generation? Perhaps.
To me, today's game serves as yet another reminder that America is far from broke, we just have our priorities out of whack. Is this to say we shouldn't enjoy pastimes like sports and entertainment or that athletes don't deserve to be richly rewarded? Of course not. We just need to make sure we keep things in perspective and find the right balance. Oh, and Pats win 28 – 17.