I'm finishing my coffee...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

No Patriots Allowed at the Super Bowl

I must say, I am NOT a Peyton Manning fan. I am really looking forward to seeing him on his back staring up into the face-mask of Brian I-just-sacked-your-stupid-ass Urlacher. Despite that, I wasn't unhappy about the fact that someone was finally able to burst the bubble of Tom Brady by keeping him out of his fourth Super Bowl in six years.

But Tom Brady's team won't be the only Patriots missing the big game this year. The committee for stripping the most American of traditions from the most American of events (a.k.a. the Super Bowl XLI Host Committee) issued a statement to the public last Tuesday: Tailgating will not be allowed within one mile of dolphin stadium on game-day. According to this story fans spotted grilling or consuming alchohol may even be hauled off to the clink.

While Floridians have traditionally used legislation to prevent folks from "hiding the sausage" in the sunshine state, it appears they will allow an exception so the NFL doesn't have to see your sausage on a hibachi near the stadium.

Not for nothing, this prohibition on American activities near the stadium must have been intended to protect. Perhaps to protect spectators, perhaps not. The Super Bowl is a huge event, not just for Americans, but for the American economy too. I don't know what kind of an economic impact a disruption of the big game would have, but television advertisements alone were sold for $5-5.2 million dollars per minute during the 2006 Super Bowl.

There is no question that protecting this event is important. But how much protection do I need? A few years ago, Justin Timberlake ripped part of Janet Jackson's "wardrobe" off during the Super Bowl half-time show. Since this incident (and the record fine dealt to Viacom) networks have set most live broadcasts on a 5-10 second delay so as not to transmit another accidental areola (which was fully covered, upon really close inspection).

At the end of the day, grilling sausages and drinking beers at the stadium is more patriotic than... well... the Patriot Act. And nipple-slips and f**k da eagles t-shirts can't be more harmful to us than ghostwhisperer, can they? I am dubious about whether banning tailgating on Super Sunday will keep anyone safer. So, the question is are the risks so high as to justify the police-state mentality and censorship we are seeing?

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