Let it go for just one day, antis

Since my love of football is well known (and occasionally enough to bridge the yawning chasm between myself and antis) I’ve been getting semi-deluged with e-mails and stuff asking me my opinion on CBS’ decision to run a decidedly anti-leaning ad sponsored by our buddies at Focus On The Family during the Super Bowl. As a pro-choice woman AND as a serious football fan, I think I can shed some light on what may have factored into CBS’ call-and why the ad may not have nearly the impact FOTF is hoping for.

First, the background-the ad features University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, winner of last year’s Heismann Trophy (given to the top collegiate football player) and due to go high in the NFL draft this spring, and his mother, Pam, who will tell about how her doctors urged her to end her fifth pregnancy due to complications. She didn’t, and her son grew up to be … well, Tim Tebow. Tebow is a god in Gator Country and the media is seemingly mesmerized by him as well, particularly the Christian media, who drools over him like a ten-year-old girl drools over a Jonas Brother. See, Timmy’s their wet dream. The homeschooled son of missionaries who spends his offseasons giving out circumcisions in the Phillipines and witnessing to alumni groups, he is reasonably handsome and quite articulate about his faith. He’s famous for wearing eyeblack patches with abbrevations of bible verses and made headlines last year for saying that he was a virgin. In the NFL, sullied in recent years by millionaire thugs shooting themselves at nightclubs and running dogfighting operations, Christians hope that Timmy will be a bright light of Murkin Hope. In many areas in the south and west-remember FOTF is based in Colorado Springs-God and football go hand in hand swinging down the lane, so someone like Tim Tebow is, well, a godsend.

I understand why so many are upset about this commercial. I don’t like it either. One of my pet peeves with the antis is their insistence that if you hadn’t so meanly aborted that fetus he-and it’s always a he-would have grown up to cure cancer or bring world peace or lead your team to the national championship, and that’s what they’re going for with this commercial. CBS, who has famously rejected Super Bowl ads for organizations like the United Church of Christ and MoveOn.org, is being considered hypocritical for agreeing to air this ad and I tend to agree with that.

But … where are women’s groups’ outrage about other Super Bowl commercials? I cringe at the annual spot by domain seller GoDaddy.com, which regularly features buxom young women about to burst out of tight button-down blouses (and do burst out of them on the website). Then there’s the Wal-Mart commercials with women delegated to be no more than preparers of the Big Game Day Feast, happily toting out reheated frozen crap to their families. Let’s not even talk about the beer and Cialis commercials.

That being said, however, what FOTF didn’t count on was the negative reaction from NFL fans. As Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com writes:

Still, I don’t want to see. Not during the damn Super Bowl. And I’m not complaining about the ad because it’s anti-abortion and I’m not. I’m complaining about the ad because it’s pro-politics. And I’m not. Not on Super Sunday. If you’re a sports fan, and I am, that’s the holiest day of the year. That’s a day for five hours of football pregame shows and four hours of football game and three hours of postgame football analysis. That’s a day for football addicts to gorge themselves to the gills on football.

It’s not a day to discuss abortion. For it, against it, I don’t care what you are. On Super Sunday, I don’t care what I am. Feb. 7 is simply not the day to have that discussion.

As the kids say, THIS. Super Bowl Sunday has become a certifiable national holiday-if you don’t believe me go into your local supermarket; I can guarantee that there’s a huge junk food/soda/beer display with football balloons tied to it. I plan more for SBS than I do for Xmas these days. Even though more often than not the game’s a lopsided blowout, hence its occasional nickname of the Stupor Bowl, it’s still the NFL’s last hurrah until late summer. I want to eat bad food and drink beer and yell profanities at the TV and enjoy myself. There’s three hundred and sixty-four other days to dwell on the world’s problems.

There’s also the matter of Tebow still being a college player. Yes, he had a brilliant college career-he won the Heisman as a sophomore, a rarity-but a brilliant college career rarely translates into an equally stellar NFL career, particularly for a quarterback. The Senior Bowl, which serves as a showcase for college players who have declared for the NFL draft, is running this week and there are numerous reports that Tebow has been made of fail, hardly the Superman Florida fans dub him to be. NFL fans, burned one too many times by college phenoms who choke in the pros, are grumbling that the kid needs to prove something before he can inflict his views on us.

A couple of days ago CBS announced that it will consider countering ads. I have also heard rumors that the Tebow commercial will be shown after halftime-just because you cough up $2.5 million for an ad doesn’t mean you get a say in when it plays. The Super Bowl’s ratings historically go WAY down after halftime. That would be kind of karmic, to have spent all that money and had relatively few people see the commercial, but as I said at this point it’s a rumor. In the meantime, my plan is to simply switch to another channel when the ad comes on, and I’ve heard many who are planning to do that as well. If you insist on getting politics into my football I’ll insist on hitting the “last” button on my remote.