What's next? Navy SEALs sneaking through the bleachers to deliver free pizzas? Beer sold in combat-boot-shaped cups? Or maybe miniature drones dropping T-shirts onto the crowds below?
Militarized sports pageantry is here to stay since the military (taxpayers) cover the costs of the flyovers and paratroopers that are logged as training exercises. It's a "live" be-all-that-you-can-be commercial for new recruits into the armed forces.
The militarism of sporting events is particularly jarring given American ambivalence about the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a 2010 poll, 59 percent of Americans said the war in Iraq was a mistake, and 72 percent said it was not worth the costs. In May 2012, a poll showed that support for the war in Afghanistan had dropped to a new low: Only 27 percent of Americans said they backed the conflict, and 66 percent said they opposed it.
Sports fans who don’t support the wars may still applaud returning veterans at games if they can separate their support for the murderers from their opposition to the unjust WAR. Most people are pressured into playing along and cheering military murdering whether they want to or not because sporting rituals now conflate it with athletics.
Let's face it. We're tribal. The basis of most team sports is big men smashing into one another at high speed. Football is a violent war game between two opposing troops of uniformed men. By the time a football star hits fifty, he's crippled for life. Football is urban, tough and based on the capacity to overwhelm the other team with sheer force. It is a tank attack, a sky-borne assault, a charge into the trenches for hand-to-hand fighting. Football is following orders and sticking to the strategy; it's about acting as a unit and taking hits for the team (troops). Football is generals (coaches) and captains (quarterbacks) and the enlisted guys who play on the line. Football is about destruction.
No one ever talks about all of the millions and millions of heads throughout history that didn't get blown off because men had sports to channel their testosterone into?
Korea, Vietnam, three wars in the Middle East and no end of flare-ups around the world. One may think that our military engagements have been justified. One may think they have been necessary. But it is no longer really possible to think that America is a deeply peaceful, or even a peace-loving nation.
Most professional athletes are dumbed-down narcissistic assholes who'd just as soon piss on you as shake your hand, but who else are you going to admire instead?
At least we've finally reached a point where the whole raping and pillaging thing is frowned upon.
The Super Bowl invariably yields the biggest single day of gambling of the year. Last year’s game produced a record-setting $98 million in wagers, and experts expect this year’s Super Bowl XLVIII matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos to be even more lucrative for Nevada sports books.
With so much money on the line, gamblers tend to scrutinize the Super Bowl more than any other sporting event, wary of the possibility that the NFL, Vegas oddsmakers, or some other party might rig the outcome of the game to suit their own interests. Conspiracy theories began shortly after the game's creation--to this day, some fans and former players suggest that Joe Namath’s infamous Super Bowl III guarantee and the Jets’ subsequent victory over the heavily-favored Colts was rigged in order to drum up publicity ahead of the AFL-NFL merger.
Given the Super Bowl’s gravitas, every questionable call by an official, surprising upset and unexpected occurrence attracts attention. This year’s game won’t be any different—expect Internet message boards to be full full of threads in which users claim that “the fix is in,” and lists of the top “Super Bowl Fixes.”
The officials control the game to keep it interesting. There are many holds, illegal blocks, and other nonsense that occur during a game that do not get shown on TV or called. Officials can call a hold or not call a hold when it suits making the game more interesting? It's really not hard to rig a game. You just need to control a few of the Officials.
If you just have the three keypeople in on it, you can completely control a game. Who are they and who controls them? Duh....
NFL team values are skyrocketing, and the average team is now worth $1.97 billion, up 38% from last year. The NFL dominates the American sports landscape year-round, and that’s made team ownership a no-lose proposition. The Atlanta Falcons were the league’s least profitable team last year and still earned a $25 million pre-tax profit (EBITDA). And that means the league’s rich team owners are getting even richer.
At the top of the list is Paul Allen, the Microsoft MSFT -0.92% cofounder who owns the Seattle Seahawks. With a net worth of $17.8 billion, he’s one of the world’s richest individuals. The Seahawks are now worth $1.87 billion and, net $120 million in debt, make up 10% of Allen’s wealth.
Allen also owns the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers and a piece of Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders. And he’s not alone in multi-team ownership. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (No. 6, $4.8 billion) owns MLS’ New England Revolution, while new Buffalo Bills owner Terrence Pegula (No. 7, $4 billion) owns the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.
But few billionaires are anywhere close to matching the sports empire built by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The second-richest NFL owner, thanks to a net worth of $7.6 billion, Kroenke also owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, MLS’ Colorado Rapids and the majority of English Premier League club Arsenal. FORBES values those five franchises at a combined $4.1 billion.
Pegula is the newest team owner on our list. In late 2014 he bought the Buffalo Bills for $1.4 billion after winning a drawn-out bidding war with a group of investors led by rocker Jon Bon Jovi. Self-made Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan (No. 4, $5.6 billion) is another relative newcomer; in 2012 he bought the team from Wayne Weaver for $770 million. We now value the Jags at $1.48 billion.
And a few of the NFL’s wealthiest owners have made headlines all on their own. The Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones (No. 5, $5 billion) is a minor celebrity, appearing in commercials for Pepsi and Papa John’s, and his outspokenness has drawn multiple fines from the league office. The Patriots’ Robert Kraft has become a familiar face following his public involvement throughout the recent deflategate scandal. And Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam (No. 10, $2.8 billion) wound up in the news recently when his truck stop company Pilot Flying J was raided by the FBI as part of a rebate fraud investigation; the result was a $92 million fine but no criminal charges for the company.
Yup. It's fixed! The league’s ten richest owners are now worth a combined $61 billion. And rising NFL team values are also responsible for some families amassing new ten-figure fortunes. Arizona Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill’s family, which has owned the team for more than eight decades, is now worth $1.4 billion. This year’s NFL valuations have also made billionaire fortunes for the families of Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals) and John Mara (New York Giants).