Yesterday was the Super Bowl here in the US.
And everyone has agreed: it well and thoroughly sucked.
It was a record-setter. Surely that can’t be a bad thing? Well, those Super Bowl records:
- Fewest points in a game
- Fewest points in a game by a winning team
- Fewest points through three quarters
- Fewest touchdowns in a game
- Fewest passing touchdowns in a game (tied)
- Fewest points in a game by one team (tied)
- Fewest touchdowns in a game by one team (tied)
- Most consecutive drives by one team ending in a punt
That last one? Woof.
Now, I get it, sport, like all other forms of entertainment — art, music, literature, movies, whatever — is a matter of taste. Some people like action movies, others don’t; some people like heavy metal, others don’t; some people like the NFL, others like Test cricket. Neither side is right, and neither side is wrong. There is quality and there is dreck, that’s the difference, it’s not the medium or the genre. Which is why I will freely admit that Test cricket has produced some woeful matches over the years — many of them in Barbados and Antigua featuring the same two sides, which is why the sparse crowd was primarily vacationing Brits there more for the drink and the sun than the cricket (and fair play to them) — and that the NFL has put on some hugely entertaining games — but there’s no way on earth people could stand up and say that NFL is the superior product — something many, many Americans believe. NFL fans, more than any other, consider their league the greatest show on earth, and would never allow for the argument that a bat and ball sport from England where the players wear sweaters could be more entertaining than their showpiece game.
But it can be. Just like, on occasion, the NFL can be vastly more entertaining than Test cricket.
We paint with such broad strokes when we discuss matters of taste. It creates an insularity that keeps us from trying new things, from experiencing events outside our comfort zone. I didn’t tune into last night’s NFL game, but I like to think that it was more a matter of logistics than anything else (I don’t own a TV). That said, however, I can be just as guilty of the above as anyone else.
There’s quality, and there’s dreck. Just because it’s the NFL doesn’t mean it’s consistently one or the other, same deal with Test cricket. But this past weekend, the NFL was surely pure dreck, while Test cricket was a real joy down in Antigua.
And, so, NFL fans, give cricket a chance, you might be disappointed, but you also might not be, and either way: you can say you tried something new. And you will have something to flip over to during another interminable five hour game that’s 90% commercials. Oh, wait, there I go again. I promise to give your game another chance, now and again, just give mine the same courtesy.
Related: Last night while you slept.