A feeling of excitement was in the air for some of us in the Bay Area as the 49ers tried to win their sixth Super Bowl titles against the Chiefs, and their first since 1995. While the 49ers played well for most of the game, the Chiefs came from behind in the 4th quarter to defeat the 49ers 31-20.
Many of us who didn’t have to work got together with our families and friends and enjoyed the game. For others who are fans of another team or don’t even like football, we still probably watched the game with our crew since Super Bowl Sunday almost feels like a national holiday.
What made the 49ers’ run to the Super Bowl this year even more special was that no one expected them to be there. The franchise did not have a winning season since 2013. But that’s the fun thing about sports is that anything can happen.
Football and sports in general are one of the rare things in our society where many people come together and become connected by a common experience. If it’s not watching football, many of us enjoy playing sports with our friends or getting involved coaching and supporting our kids’ youth leagues. Imagine if other aspects our society had that same level of passion and collectivity?
While exact data is not in yet, the Super Bowl was viewed by around 100 million people in the U.S. and around an additional 50 million people worldwide. With politicians and media constantly trying to divide us, sports are one of the few things that bring people together. But when we think about it, we have so much in common with people in this country and around the world. Our conditions of life and the need to improve them should unite us.
According to a 2019 study, half of all Americans reported having no savings while nearly 70% percent of Americans reported they could not come up with $1000 in an emergency if they needed to. At the same time, in 2019 the 500 richest people in the world added 12 trillion dollars to their assets.
The rich love this system because it continues to make them wealthier at our expense. If we were watching the Super Bowl, we might have seen that both the Trump campaign and Democratic nominee for President Michael Bloomberg—who is one of the richest men in the world—ran ads trying to get our votes. These advertisements during the Super Bowl cost $10.2 million apiece for just one minute! Anyone who can pay that type of money for a one-minute ad will never represent our interests.
Many people love the NFL, but unfortunately it’s run by the same members of the 1%. Watching the games is great and brings enjoyment to so many people, but there is also the dark side of the league such as the violent concussions, or how the league and owners responded to Colin Kaepernick when he used his position to shine a light on this society’s police brutality. They want the focus to be on the game, not on the conditions that surround us.
They are in the game for the money. Regardless of who won or lost, the owners and league executives had a massive payday this past Sunday.
We could look past all this when we enjoyed the game and the people we watched it with. But we should also ask ourselves why we don’t get to enjoy social moments like this more often? This is how the majority of our time should be spent – not to distract us from the realities of life, but to connect with other people and begin to decide how our lives could and should be.
The 1% would rather provide us with spectacular distractions like the Super Bowl in the hopes that we will continue to tolerate spending the majority of our lives working. The only way the 1% got their wealth was at the expense of the working class. They are rich because we are poor. We do all the work to make this society run, and this work is what generates their wealth. And season after season, year after year, that’s a losing game for us.
Featured image credit: Anthony Quintano, licensed under CC-BY-2.0