The Best Superbowl in History: Making America Great Again starting with football and Lady Gaga

I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Superbowl 51 (LI) because the Patriots were not my favorite team, especially after (deflategate) and their long run as a dominate team. Additionally, I’m not a Lady Gaga fan so I didn’t want to see her halftime show.  I didn’t want the preachy progressive commercials—so I didn’t have high expectations for the game.  However, I was explaining the psychological meaning of the Superbowl games to American culture with people from other counties last week, because they were mystified by the wall to wall coverage of the game they were seeing on television.  I explained to them that American football was a special game specific to our culture and that the Superbowl in America was like a holiday celebrating the great gifts of capitalism.  Even the altruistic aspects of the various charities that the NFL supports are direct derivatives of the excesses produced by capitalism for which football is so symbolic.  With that in mind I watched the game with just a little bit of renewed interest because Tom Brady and the owner and coach of the New England Patriots were personal friends of Donald Trump.  I thought it would be nice if the Patriots won since Tom Brady has shown that he’d often do anything to win even if it sometimes crossed the line—much like Trump.  The spirit of winning was important, and I thought it would be a good thing if the Patriots won in the same year that Trump won the presidency so from that perspective, I was interested.

After the late score in the fourth quarter after a 2-point conversion my wife asked me what the odds were of closing the 8-point gap between the Patriots who had essentially been written off in the game and the Falcons who had a 25-point lead at halftime.   I mean it was 28 to 9 with two minutes left in the third quarter—so like I told her, it was unlikely that the Patriots would be able to get the ball back and drive down the field over 90 yards with only a few minutes left on the clock—score a touchdown and get another two-point conversion within the same quarter.  The odds were just too overwhelming.  Yet in the back of my mind I thought of the type of people who win a lot—who always feel that as long as there is breath in their lungs, they have a chance.  I know I’m like that, but I don’t meet many people who are—who never feel they are down and out.  The last time I’ve seen it outside of some situations in my family was the night before the Trump win when the then presidential candidate went to Michigan at 1 am to hit one more rally—which ironically pushed him through the Blue Wall of politics—and gave him the win in within the electoral college.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick looked like there was all the time in the world.  Brady never looked frazzled, never looked desperate, never looked like the game was in jeopardy.  Quietly Brady amassed an incredible 466 yards through the air most of it in the fourth quarter forcing the game into the first overtime Superbowl in the history of the game.  Brady and company won the coin toss and proceeded to march down the field and score a touchdown which ended the game.  And with Brady’s hands on the ball in overtime it just always felt like the Patriots were going to win because the best quarterback in history has that kind of feel—like Joe Montana used to have as a field presence.  It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in sports—and a metaphor for many things that are distinctly American.

Tom Brady had a lot of reasons to blame the NFL and free agency for why he could have lost and never had to apologize for it. After all, Brady started the season with a four-game suspension for deflategate.  There were no “big receivers” on the Patriots team—like a Randy Moss from the past, or the great Julio Jones on the Falcons sideline.  The big name tight-end on the Patriots team was not able to play the game and the running game with one of my favorite players from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, LeGarrette Blount, was struggling and going nowhere.  All Brady had was a bunch of undersized receivers who were scrappy, aggressive, and playing way above their head.  Julian Edelman is only like 5’ 10” and he was playing like he was 6’ 5” with a 40” vertical leap.  He amazingly out-worked most of the Falcons secondary to get open for Brady to hit with laser blasts that were simply amazing—and he did it with his head down into a grinding fashion and without a lot of fanfare.  It was a very impressive performance that I never expected to come out so positively.  Yet it did by working with what he had around him.  It was pretty amazing.

But before all that I was enjoying the Americana aspects of the Superbowl festivities and was greatly relieved to see that the Lady Gaga Halftime Show was actually really good. She may have supported Hillary Clinton and works toward progressive causes—she may actually be one of those Spirit Cooking people that John Podesta likes so much—but any woman who jumps into a stadium after singing a song on top of the roof is good in my book.  She was actually fearless in a way I haven’t seen since Michael Jackson performed in a Superbowl, but these stunts that Lady GaGa performed were actually dangerous, especially considering that she was going into full choreography once she hit the stage below.  It was an amazing performance that I was worried would be filled with political anti-Trump messages—which were there in small degrees, but not enough to matter.

She did a classy, tasteful show that indicated that this particular Superbowl had a really uniting factor to it which defined much what I had told my foreign guests.  I know the Falcon fans are upset, but overall, they played in one of the greatest games in sports history.  And the best that entertainment could put forward performed under the sponsorship of companies thriving under our capitalist system and the best players in football with the best coaching and ownership staffs won.  So it was a great experience.  A real treat in the middle of winter setting off a continuation of the Trump election victory—because after that game, it felt fun to be an American.  The conclusion of that game is what it now feels like to be an American again—and that’s not a bad thing.

Rich Hoffman


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THE NFL IS CORRECT: Bruno Mars should pay to sing in a Super Bowl

Labor unions have quietly been percolating in the background trying to repair their image after several years of close scrutiny. They are trying to re-tool their public presence carefully which they unleashed shortly after their Labor Day holiday by providing their intrusive input into the upcoming NFL season of which largely consists of labor union representation. When it is wondered why Hollywood leans left no matter what the industry—music or motion pictures—it is because they are all members of an entertainment union. And within those unions progressive values are constantly espoused. I should know, the Writers Guild of America came close to representing me during the 90s on a few occasions putting me on their mailing list and I received a constant parade of pro Bill Clinton propaganda. I was also a part of a manufacturing facility around the time of the controversial Al Gore, George Bush election of 2000, and clearly the labor union was in support of Gore. Typically when speaking with these types of people I have always taken a hard-line in favor of conservatives which has most of the time been a deal killer for my projects—so I know all about discrimination against conservatives in labor unions—especially in entertainment and manufacturing.

Recently the NFL floated a proposal that their half time acts at the Super Bowl should pay them for the public exposure on such a large stage which was met with a general utterance that the football sports organization was acting greedily. Union pushback is mounting. The AFL-CIO’s Department of Professional Employees just joined the American Federation of Musicians in condemning such a plan.

“No one should ever pay to work. No organization should ever get a kickback from a worker they employ,” the labor organization said of the plan, first detailed in the Wall Street Journal. “The Department of Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, its affiliates in the entertainment industry, and the other unions, 22 in all, will stand with the AFM in condemning and will fight back against any attempts to make workers pay to perform,” the group said of the plan to convince music acts to cough up cash to play the halftime show, most likely in the form of a cut of post-show ticket sales, downloads, etc.

“It’s not like the NFL and its Super Bowl organizers don’t have any money and can’t afford to pay for halftime show performances, it’s about the insatiable thirst for profits at the expense of great musical entertainment and those who create it,” AFM President Ray Hair said last week. “You can find kickback schemes like this coming from unscrupulous bar and nightclub owners, but for the NFL to descend to such depths would be unconscionable.”

The dialogue against the NFL by most people—especially union leaders like that Ray Hair fellow–is wrong especially in regard to the entertainment unions who on one hand preach against greed while they force collective bargaining agreements for their players valued at millions of dollars for kids in their mid-twenties fresh out of college. Musicians who are superstars are in much the same boat and are typically young and fall hook line and sinker for the union propaganda that comes with their memberships. But they are all confused as to what creates value and who is responsible for what.

The NFL has created the value which all these parties seek to be a part. The NFL Super Bowl was created in its value by the efforts of the National Football League. Aerosmith, Prince, or any other headline acts which plays at the Super Bowl did not create the value of such a large game—it was created by the NFL owners who put a product on the field that millions of people enjoy. Players come and go, but the product of the NFL continues on season after season because the management of that product is successful. Yet the labor unions want and expect equal value for their participation—which is clearly barbaric and ignorant—if value is the measuring unit utilized. Players are not equal to owners, and halftime acts are not equal to the players which make the Superbowl such an exciting enterprise.

Most musical acts benefit from sales of their recordings after they perform for over a billion people on live television. I would argue that groups like the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith are equal to the NFL in value and should just be honored to be a part of the festivities. Those classic bands who are household names have built their reputation to such a level that they benefit very little from performing at a halftime show during the Superbowl. Their participation is purely out of respect and nostalgia. But for smaller acts like Lady Gaga or Bruno Mars, they will receive a spike in sales just for appearing in a Super Bowl and they should pay for that advertising just like every other vendor trying to make money off the product that the NFL created.

Every labor union who argues that their members participate equally to the product of the NFL just because they show up and play a part during a few years of their life are thinking about the whole thing incorrectly—their philosophy is framed by socialism, not capitalism. The NFL itself is a capitalist organization, and it is not greedy to expect payment for using their product—their intellectual property. People who have a problem with this are functioning socialists. It is anti capitalist to refer to the NFL as greedy for expecting compensation from those riding their product to success.

If Bruno Mars sings a song in the middle of the woods deep in the mountains, nobody cares. If the Superbowl puts him on stage for billions of people that they organized for the event Bruno Mars benefits as does the NFL. But the NFL has to make a business decision as to who should play in their halftime show and it is up to them if they want payment in financial compensation, or if they want to honor musical legends like the Stones or Aerosmith with a free party and chance to have some fun during one of the biggest American events of the year. The players, and other entertainment professionals participating in the Super Bowl do not make the value of the game. They simple play a part. If they refuse there are other Russell Wilsons in the world who are willing to throw a football in front of millions of viewers. Some people would do it for free just for the opportunity to do it. The unions have only one function that is anti-capitalist in its desire and that is to loot off the productive enterprise of value creators like the NFL create. They are leeches that are beneath contempt and are dead wrong in their assertion about payment regarding halftime entertainment. As usual the collective bargaining agreements of these labor unions are more appropriate in Soviet Russia during the 60s and 70s than in capitalist America during a football game that embodies the economy of the most successful country on earth. The labor unions are purely second-handers looting value from those who created it and trying to make it appear that those who created that value are greedy for not wanting to “share the wealth” with their members. Their basic premise is that the NFL has money and we want it. That is the bottom line—and why the labor unions are wrong.

Rich Hoffman


Clint Eastwood: It’s Halftime in America

Ok, it’s official, this is my favorite Superbowl commercial of 2012. Clint Eastwood on behalf of Chrysler, proclaimed that America isn’t done, that it’s only halftime and there is time to come back and win. I loved the metaphor, and thought it was well said–and stylish.

As for the hate and blame that is going on, I agree. When all the stupid people get out-of-the-way, America can start winning again.

I’m ready, how about you?

Click here to see the TAIL OF THE DRAGON press release for an update on my most recent project:

Rich Hoffman!/overmanwarrior

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Generation Y and the Bland Superbowl: Why Kids are so weak, blame the babyboomers

Watching the Superbowl “event” on Sunday February 6, 2011 everything from the Star Spangled Banner to the Half-Time Show convinced me that finally the detrimental effects of the Baby Boom Generation had finally shown its dismal failure in Generation Y.

Listen to this simple-minded Generation Y Guy analyzing Glenn Beck  discussing the Superbowl.

The Superbowl is a wonderful reflection of American society, from the commercials, the nature of the competition, the glitz and glitter, and the hunger for entertainment. For years, especially since the Janet Jackson publicity stunt, the NFL has played it safe with older acts during the halftime show that were at least mature enough to keep their cloths on.

This Superbowl though had a peculiar blandness to it that was unique to 2011. This is the year we are collectively facing the massive bankruptcies that are challenging virtually every program created by government in this last century. This is also the first year that I have almost no interest in the films being nominated at the Academy Awards.

There is something cheap in films these days, much like everything else. It probably has something to do with the emergence of Netflix and the downfall of Blockbuster. The emergence of cheap, big screen televisions, and the film distributors and production houses banking on 3D to keep people wanting to go to the theater, and not waiting for the film to show up on their Xbox where all they have to do is push a button and the film arrives.

The music industry too is in the same boat, because of IPods and downloadable music, investment in music is on the decline. Where are the Michael Jackson’s or the Elvis’s today? The Black Eyed Peas earned my respect with the fantastic live performance on Saturday Night Live when they played Hey Mama. So I had high expectations that their half time show would be great. But what came out was four used up people who looked tired, as if the entire music industry was hanging its hat on them while they experiment with other revenue sources and commitment behind artists.

If you look at American Culture we are bankrupt in almost every facet you can think of. Our cars are behind. Our manufacturing is behind. Our aviation is behind. Our culture is behind, and preoccupied with a one world utopia, which Americans don’t want. (hint, hint entertainment industry. That’s why you’re revenues are down) Our financial institutions are stressed to the max, and our entitlements that we’ve built through politics are out of money. Things are so bad, that even American Football is on hold till a contentious labor dispute is settled, which I don’t think will happen in time to save the season. I think the owners will turn away from a season because it will hurt the players worse, and owners need to get their upfront money invested in players fixed. And they also have to listen to market demand which wants a longer season and they’ll find a way to provide that.

So who’s to blame?

Doc Thompson is asking the same questions and he discusses that here. His theory is that it all falls on the Baby Boomers.

He’s right.

I’ve never been happy with the Baby Boomers. Even when I was a kid I thought they were off. It never made sense to me why they seemed to count their lives in a declining value from the age of 30 on. They craved to always be 16 to 18 years old and built their whole collective psychology around that yearning. I’ve also despised that. Even when I was young, the people I most identified with were senior citizens, because they knew how to live and didn’t expect life to be comfortable.

When I came to work today it was hovering around zero degrees with a wind chill down around -10. There was much astonishment from other drivers who watched me drive my 1500 CC motorcycle down the frozen asphalt well before the sun came up. Most of those people were baby boomers and members of Generation X who were around my current age. I will have to admit that I have pity on almost all of those people, because they view aging as a regressing process. Many of the people of my generation and the baby boomers strive for their lives at the end of high school and start of college. Those are the best days of their lives.

I see my own life as improving each year. When I was younger I dreamed of being the age I’m at right now with the physical presence to do anything I want, and the wisdom to match it. Part of the reason I walk several miles a day, ride motorcycles in the cold and work with bullwhips and medicine balls like toys while my mind contemplates thousands of topics simultaneously, is because I love living life. Avoiding pain is avoiding life. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world to even go backwards one year. I enjoy every birthday as an opportunity to become even better than the last year. That’s why I name this site the way I do, because I’m always leaning forward to learn and be better. Complacency and failure are simply not options.

But complacency is the fad of the modern age and it started with those lazy, baby boomers. And they started the trend we see now, where a whole generation of young people are lost and clueless. You can see it in young people everywhere you look. They are overly commercialized and have lost the ability to think critically. They are a lost generation, and it’s really not their fault. It’s the fault of Generation X that didn’t solve the problems of the Baby Boomers and all the issues Doc Thompson brought up in his discussion above.

That’s why the Superbowl seemed flat to me, less spectacular than in years past, and somehow distracted and aloof. It was the first time I visibly noticed that the social problems we’ve all been holding back and pushing under the rug, started to show even above all the festivities of an American Ritual.

And this is how it’s supposed to sound! Don’t make a joke of it next year just to play to the younger crowd. They don’t know the difference. But some of us do.

Rich Hoffman!/overmanwarrior