2022 Super Bowl disappointments

Although Super Bowl viewership has declined in recent years, it still attracts an impressive 90+ million pairs of eyeballs, making it the most highly watched show on television.  And so, although I'm not that interested in football, to promote unity in these troubled times by chatting pleasantly on a fairly neutral topic to a diverse group of people, I decided to watch the game.  And the pre-game shows.  And the halftime show.  And the after-game show.  About a game that looked like America.

Sort of.

All the players were male!  Tall, strong, and young — under 50 — males.  None of these individual descriptions applies to even a large minority of Americans; a minuscule minority matches all three.  And, to be honest, I don't fit in any of these slots.  OK, I knew all this! 

But wait — the NFL's divergence from the general population is even more pronounced

  • According to TIDES  (The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport) data, the NFL received an overall racial hiring grade of B+ and a gender hiring grade of C.
  • As of 2020, 69.4% of National Football League players were people of color.

As for women in the NFL, TIDES claims:

A Record Number Of Women Are Working In The NFL This Year. They're Changing The Sport For The Better

In the 2021 NFL season, women made up 38.8 percent of the NFL league office, 25.3 percent of teams' senior administration, 3.1 percent of team CEOs and presidents, and 1.5 percent of team assistant coaches, according to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) yearly report card. (TIDES determined these numbers during preseason, when there were 12 women working as assistant coaches in the NFL; currently 6 still are—those who didn't stay on had temporary fellowships. Since then, the CEOs and presidents percentage has gone up, with Kristi Coleman being promoted from CFO to president of the Carolina Panthers. Also worth noting: There has never been a woman head coach or general manager in the NFL.) If those numbers don't sound very large, that's because they aren't—at least, it's far from equal representation—but it's taken years of hard work behind the scenes to get this far. And that effort has largely been led by the women already working in the industry.

Oh, OK.

But, then again, Brian Flores, former head coach of the Miami Dolphins

filed a class-action suit against the NFL and all 32 NFL teams for racial discrimination. Flores was fired in January after three seasons with the Dolphins, and he recently interviewed for the New York Giants head coaching job that instead went to Brian Daboll. (snip)

Flores says the NFL "remains rife with racism" when it comes to hiring and retaining black coaches, and that the league "is managed much like a plantation," yet he has been employed as an NFL coach for the past 14 years, and made upwards of $3 million per season as the Dolphins head coach.

The thrust of Flores' suit is that since 70 percent of NFL players are black, and anywhere between 3 percent and 34 percent of coaches and executive personnel are black, that is prima facie evidence that the league is "racially segregated." But Flores himself was an enthusiastic participant in this supposed "injustice," since nearly 75 percent of his own coaching staff during his tenure with the Dolphins were white. And nowhere in Flores' lawsuit does it mention that he was fired in Miami by a black general manager, Chris Grier.

Also unmentioned in the lawsuit is precisely how Flores would remedy the situation. If we want an NFL that proportionally "looks like America," as Joe Biden is so fond of saying, then 3 or 4 of the 32 head coaches, general managers, and team owners would be black, but 75 percent of the players would be white or Hispanic. It's doubtful that Flores is advocating for two-thirds of black players to be fired and replaced with whites. Is there any reason, other than "discrimination," why NFL rosters are still 100 percent male? Why is neither team in the upcoming Super Bowl starting a transgender female at left tackle?  

Hmmm, not much unity at the Super Bowl.  But diversity exists there. 

However, the always spectacular Super Bowl's halftime entertainment makes for good conversation, and this year's big-name performers, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Mary J. Blige, definitely lived up to the traditional over-the-top, professional Super Bowl style.  But, unlike most Americans, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg have had numerous legal problems, ranging from assault, messy divorces, abuse, and fighting to other incidents. 

On Dr. Dre, see thisthis, and this.  On Mr. Dogg, see thisthis, and this.

No matter — most people the media pay attention to agreed: "Dre, Snoop and friends deliver epic show."

And the multi-national/ethnic anthems, including The Star-Spangled Banner, apparently inspired many people whom the media heed. 

But the famous Super Bowl ads, many geared especially for the game, apparently disappointed

The overall advertising strategy this year was to offer fun or humorous ads. (snip)

But despite the hype, U.S. audiences seemed unimpressed by the ads.

They took to social media to criticize the expensive ads, saying they were boring and failed to take risks. (snip)

As the U.S. become increasingly fragmented by ideological divides, it's tough to find common ground and please everyone.

The ads, which cost an average of $6.5 million, may or may not be the smart investment they used to be for reaching audiences.

However, the delightful California winter weather cheered up snowbound, freezing Americans in other parts of the country. 

So there's that.

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