I'm not sure what Sally Jenkins wants here in decrying the excesses of the Super Bowl, since I and every other person of a certain age assume the Super Bowl is America's gigantic collective embarrassing Long Island wedding: over budget, overdone, and entirely unrelated to the actual parties involved. (Your mother-in-law wants "Moondance" to be played at your wedding, and will have her way whether you like it or not. The Super Bowl is that kind of party.)
The Super Bowl is also the crown jewel of corporate junkets, meaning it is a party put on by workaholic corporate types who have no idea how to throw parties. This is why it is done expensively and badly, and why the Black Eyed Peas are playing. This theory explains everything about the Super Bowl as a production, and there are no alternatives. It is not moral. It does not say anything about America that your terrible credit score doesn't say already. In a nation of gluttons with zero self-control, the Super Bowl is our glittering hog-trough aria.
Fortunately we as a nation have achieved great things by embracing the lowest common denominator and getting the best results with the worst of intentions. The states of Florida and California, each based on warm climates and real estate frauds, are our flagship states. Our colleges and universities, initially built to separate the upper classes from the filthy chaff of he lower classes, are the best in the world. Our love of sugary foods has created exciting new industries in giant furniture, huge underpants, and drastic and expensive surgeries. Give us locusts and plagues, and we will give you delicious fried locust patties and profitable anti-plague medications.
But no, back there somewhere in a mystic past with the eyes of TJ Eckleburg rolling upward, there is some America we've long since forgotten.
But it [the NFL] has grown far removed from the grass-roots recreation it started as, the competitive emblem of mill towns, and their enormous civic resilience.
Can you see the wanking motion we're making at this? Does this animated internet graphic help you understand the proper reaction? The NFL is the shiniest, most expensive whore in the American lineup of sporting whores, and any assumption to the contrary is a disrespect to the ambitions of sporting whores everywhere. That is the proper rhetorical term, and it is the highest ambition of every league in the nation to be addressed as such.
Sally Jenkins is a superb columnist, and there are not many of those, but going to the "spoiled bygones" argument in the NFL's case is buttoning a priest's collar around a swine's neck rolls. The NFL is excessive, and excessively so. It will take a dollar more than what it has because it is a corporation, and one dollar more is one dollar more. More, by definition here, will always be good; thus the 18 game schedule, the Jerry Domes already being built in the heads of owners, the ticket hikes, the attempts to turn higher profits at every corner. You cannot spell modus operandi without "more," and in the NFL's case this means everything.
Financially speaking, more is the point. That the NFL has these dollars in the first place is a strong indication that the excess Jenkins assumes to be a given is at best a starting point for fans who are clearly not fatigued with the sport or its Roman orgies of profiteering. At worst it is an outright fantasy. Chef Mario Batali's motto for many years was one the NFL would admire: "Wretched excess is just barely enough." It seems to be doing just fine as a guiding rule for both parties here.