ALL IN THE GAME: NFL FIXED OR LEGIT (PART II)

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Due to the relatively positive response to the first blog installment concerning this particular subject, one has decided to publish a more in depth follow up. While the other articles appearing on this blog delve into other areas of the global conspiracy shaping humanity, delving behind the scenes of America’s most popular spectator sport will perhaps provide a more palatable avenue for those generally not intrigued by events perceived to be just beyond their grasp. If observed from a larger perspective, sports in general, and the NFL in particular, are not just about entertainment, rather they serve as merely another effective tool, used by the ruling patricians, to shape public perceptions in terms of the overall political and social landscape. In other words, though many rabid fans may choose to differ, America’s grand game of professional football, is about more than just X’s and O’s, about more than just providing an entertainment spectacle for the masses on lazy Sunday afternoons.

NFL GAMES MORE THAN ENTERTAINMENT?escape-to-death_banner1071

Per court ruling, the NFL is nothing more than an entertainment vehicle, and that it does, to ensure consistent levels of entertainment value, exert manipulative quality control over the delivery of that product. Sports fans will, I’m certain, recall the so-called ‘Spygate’ debacle, involving this years Superbowl champions, the New England Patriots. Allegations were proffered in a lawsuit brought forth by the fan of an opposing team, that, in fact, the New England coaching staff were actively videotaping opposing teams play calling signals sent onto the field of play from the sidelines, in order to gain an unfair competitive edge. Although per NFL regulations, such activity is expressly prohibited, the judge in this case took a decidedly unexpected tack in delivering a final ruling. The presiding judge, Robert E. Cowen, concluded that the NFL is a multi-billion dollar business, providing fans with nothing more than a contractual obligation, by virtue of having purchased a ticket, to a seat from which to witness an athletic contest, and not, he went on to say, ‘any significant legal recourse’ with which to petition grievances with the manner of outcome, or how that outcome is reached. Cowen did add, however, that although the court did not condone the actions of the franchise in question, the only recourse for fans is to deny the New England Patriots future revenues in refusing to purchase tickets, or merchandise affiliated with the brand name licensed through the NFL. Cowen’s ruling implies truly stunning ramifications. In other words, even if a fan suspects a game’s outcome may have been tampered in any way, shape, or form, that fan has little or no legal recourse in seeking recompense for having suffered injuries to his protected interests. To summarize, this ruling verifies the fact the NFL not only fixes the outcomes of games to ensure quality control over the delivery of their product, but they do so routinely, and there is ultimately nothing the average Joe, paying exorbitant prices for merchandise, concessions, and seating, can do about it.

In fact, although ostensibly an entertainment vehicle, the NFL is much more than that. Professional sports are yet another method the ruling elites utilize in creating myths, mythological figures which are hoisted upon pedestals for the world to not only gawk in awestruck admiration, but to demonstrate preferred behavioral models later imitated by the common masses. This phenomenon is reflected in hordes of football fanatics happily donning the jersey of their favorite player, living vicariously through Madison Avenue marketed mythologies. In many ways, today’s most popular athletes serve as vessels for the symbolic embodiment of the highest human virtues. For, through the epic struggle of athletic competition, they have become the modern equivalent of the ancient gods of old, heroic feats forever enshrined within posterity’s pantheon, memories vividly frozen in the pale mind, held in place with an almost mystical force.  But, more than that, just as with music, the link between politics and sports cannot be underestimated.

COMPARISON AND CONTRAST: ROLE of gladiatorial games in ANCIENT ROME

It must be remembered that in the 1st century AD, in ancient Rome, gladiatorial contests were funded and put on public display, not just for the sake of public entertainment spectacle, but for the purposes of demonstrating political prestige. Wealthy patricians, ambitious to increase political capital, realized they must first look to make an impact with the people. In order to achieve their goals, and perhaps to create a greater profile for purposes of posterity, these ambitious men would spend exorbitant amounts, funding the largest and most elaborate spectacles and gladiatorial jousts. Only until the emperor Augustus was enthroned did this sort of popular patrician lobbying begin to be curbed, laws having been enacted capping how much an aspiring quaestor or praetor could spend on staging public games. One observes the exact scenario intact today; how many times have politicians been elected to public office based upon solemn promises of bringing the erection of new sports stadiums to large metropolitan cities?

SOCIAL IMPACT of the GAMES:

But, perhaps the most significant impact of the ancient Roman gladiatorial contests was not just political in nature, but social. Each time a public spectacle was demonstrated, the manner of seating in the steeply ascending coliseum served to demonstrate the proper management of social order; low-born plebes in the bleachers, patrician senators ensconced in their private boxes, the emperor, ultimately deciding the fate of the combatants with a mere gesture, isolated in private seclusion from the rest. Such arrangements indoctrinated the Roman citizen to societies prevailing social order.

Despite this calculated isolation, the coliseum ironically served as a political equalizing force.

Often, expressing their distaste with collective hoots of derision, the masses crowding into the coliseum could utilize proximity with prevailing political power as  protesting forum. If an emperor or senator became unpopular, the masses would take advantage of the opportunity to petition what they perceived as social or political injustices. Are conditions much different in the modern era, are there no separations between the regular fans and those seated in the corporate reserved luxury boxes? And yet, on any given Sunday during the course of the NFL season, stadiums across the nation are found filled with rabid fans, erupting with spontaneous expressions of petty hatreds and collective joys.

Like the owners and media sorcerers of today, in the times of ancient Rome, there was often the tight management of these public entertainment spectacles by shrewd impresario’s, who often arranged for the most popular gladiators to remain alive and prevail. In this modern era, those NFL teams and players proven by television ratings deemed most popular, always find their way to the rounds of the playoffs, and to the championship apex of America’s grandest of annual spectacles, the Super Bowl.

In truth, though NFL fans may feel they have been led to believe the game they so love and enjoy is on the level, it is not. Perhaps, it is time one heed the advice of Robert Cowen, presiding in the case of ‘Spygate’. Perhaps, in light of the aforementioned facts, one should actively reconsider, before renewing your season tickets, or bypass the pro shop the next time you are thinking about forking over a significant percentage of your weekly salary, just for the dubious honor of wearing Tom Brady’s jersey.

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