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Why I won't be watching the Super Bowl: Football is un-American

I love sports, but with its media-managed commercialism, defined roles and story lines, and aristocratic sports analysis, American football is just plain un-American. The faux-drama of the Steelers-Packers contest doesn't actually uphold the 'everyman' American ideals.

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This Sunday most of America will be watching that uniquely American spectacle known as the Super Bowl. Even casual fans will tune in because they’ve bought into the concept that the commercials – an ordinary and somewhat onerous distraction on any other day of the year – are high art, must-see TV that evening.

I used to play my part in the annual extravaganza, dutifully marching off to show up at a Super Bowl party and even hosting a few myself. But I’ve since given up on the game of American football for the simple reason that it doesn’t fit in with American values. Let me explain.

In many ways, football, which has somehow ascended to the top of American culture, is paradoxically the most un-American of sports. Americans who celebrate modern football as the “every man” sport are duped. With its defined roles built right into the fabric of the game and a predictable storyline contingent on those roles, there’s little room for “social mobility.” American football is like Old Europe.

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