DYCHE | The Super Bowl and American Politics - WDRB 41 Louisville News

DYCHE | The Super Bowl and American Politics

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News: John David Dyche Opinion Graphic News: John David Dyche Opinion Graphic
By John David Dyche
WDRB Contributor

"Five things" is a favorite motif of columnists these days. So here are five things about the Super Bowl that parallel modern American politics.

1. Leadership. The leaders of both sometimes lack basic common sense and make big mistakes. How else to explain the Seattle Seahawks trying to pass the ball instead of handing it to Marshawn Lynch when they were a few short yards away from scoring the winning touchdown in the game's last minute?

Whether made by head coach Pete Carroll, offensive coordinator Darrell Beavill, or quarterback Russell Wilson, the decision to put the ball up for grabs rather than let the NFL's most powerful and punishing running back punch it into the end zone was an awful one.

Every ordinary American football fan understood that running the ball with Lynch was the right call. Carroll's convoluted explanation made no sense, although in his defense he may have been admirably accepting responsibility for a subordinate's mistake.

Likewise, most Americans instinctively know what needs to be done for the sake of our future. We should be building-up our national defenses, reforming our unsustainable entitlement programs, and simplifying the tax code.

But President Obama's administration has done exactly the opposite. The consequences for the country will be a lot worse than losing a game.

2. Credibility. On the other side of the field, the supremely talented Patriots team won the game, but utterly lacks credibility. Whatever the outcome of the "deflate-gate" investigation by the NFL (which has its own serious credibility concerns), it is hard to believe anything that controversial Patriots coach Bill Belichick says.

The curmudgeonly Belichick has a history of bending and breaking the rules and breaching the boundaries of fair play. His team's success sends a message that cheaters prosper and nice guys finish last.

Similar ethical issues also plague contemporary American politics. Bill Clinton is a political Belichick when it comes to ethics and honesty, but Democrats revere him nonetheless. President Obama's tenure has been rife with falsehoods and overreaching, ranging from "if you like your plan you can keep it" to "executive amnesty."

The public inexplicably puts up with such stuff. In fact, the media and many people actually seem to enjoy both football and politics even more because of it.

3. Talk. Some Super Bowl stars talk way too much. Seahawks' defensive back Richard Sherman almost never shuts up, and the torrent of talk that streams unceasingly from his mouth is often arrogant and obnoxious.

Obama is Sherman's political soul mate in this regard. He also suffers from a severe case of egotistical logorrhea, and many Americans stopped listening to him long ago.

But the NFL, like the political press, will not permit people to just keep quiet. The football league's threat to fine Lynch if he did not talk to the media produced a pathetic spectacle in which the player known as "Beast Mode" was as hard on reporters as he is on tacklers.

On the other hand, the Super Bowl featured too little talk from some who could perhaps say something worthwhile. The pre-game ceremonies featured the presentation of the prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year Award to Carolina Panther linebacker Thomas Davis, but fans heard not a word from him.

Davis established a foundation "dedicated to promoting free programs that enhance the quality of life for more than 2,000 children and their families annually." He gave an acceptance speech at an earlier ceremony, but it would not have hurt for the game's huge television audience to have heard an uplifting message before the decadent halftime display.

Politics also gives too little attention to some of its best contributors. It would have been good for America to have heard more from recently retired Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, for example, and less from his ubiquitous Republican colleagues John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

4. Heroes. The Super Bowl featured heroics from two undrafted and heretofore largely unheard of players. Seattle receiver Chris Matthews, a University of Kentucky product, made multiple great catches, and obscure New England defensive back Malcolm Butler made the game-winning interception.

Matthews, whom everyone now knows was a former Footlocker employee, brought honor to his alma mater (and helped redeem the name he shares with an insufferable MSNBC talking head). Butler, who bounced back from adversity after a circus catch by a receiver he was defending positioned Seattle for victory, was grateful and humble in his moment of glory.

The better known stars like Tom Brady still got most of the attention and make a lot more money. Just as in America, however, the underappreciated everyday working people play an essential part in making things better for everyone else. Our political system must do a better job of looking out for them.

5. Greatness. In spite of all their well-chronicled faults, however, both the NFL and the U.S. political system are still capable of producing great and memorable moments. Last year's Republican landslide was one. This year's dramatic Super Bowl was another. But for more and even better ones next year, both the NFL and the White House need to change.

John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney and a political commentator for WDRB.com. His e-mail is jddyche@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @jddyche.
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