I have a halftime problem, but it’s not what you think

Craig Hall

Once again the conscience of America is boiling over with opinions, insults and ad hominem.

I have watched with delight, horror and shock at the funny memes, insults and trolling post after post on someone’s opinion post on Facebook about the Super Bowl halftime show. It all boils down to some people liked it, some people loved it, some people didn’t like it and some people hated it. Obviously, all of those people have their reasons. They even took the time on Facebook to tell others. That should be the end of it.

The respondents, however, weren’t exactly in an accepting mood. And that makes me sad. There’s no reason to shame someone because they think differently. And there’s never a time where your opinion, and your opinion alone, is the be all end all and must be accepted, with each following post becoming more insulting. But that’s Facebook.

Full disclosure on the halftime show. I didn’t care for it for several reasons, not the least of which is it’s really not my style. I wouldn’t know a J-Lo song if you told me a title — although I did recognize a few as they played. Shakira only reminds me of many years ago of the same CD playing over and over again in the car on family road trips. Now it’s country, but that’s another column if I was writing about my oldest daughter and her ever-changing musical tastes. I also think halftimes at bowl games are completely out of control with “entertainment” no matter what star is entertaining — and that’s any star, any musical genre and pretty much any year for the past 20 plus years. I believe halftimes should be 15 minutes long and about analysis of the game and then time for the second-half kickoff.

And no, I couldn’t switch the channel or mute the sound where I was watching the game. It was on every screen in the place and the volume was up. So I just did my best while feeling like the whole thing took about a half hour. Like I said, not my style. I like a lot of Latin music, just without some of the imagery and visuals. But what I think about this halftime in particular isn’t important in the grand scheme. How J-Lo or Shakira performed or what they wore or how they danced doesn’t change what I prefer in music or entertainment. Just as I doubt it made anyone turn away from enjoying what these women do.

I think most important, this latest halftime — along with many Super Bowl halftimes — proved one thing. The NFL doesn’t give one wit about a good-sized percentage of its fans. And you better believe I’ll link it to government.

First and foremost, the NFL absolutely knew what kind of halftime show it was about to promote at its biggest game of the year the day it signed the two artists. There’s no secret as to the performances they provide for their fans at their concerts or on the big screen. Which is fine. I would expect fans to expect this kind of performance when buying a ticket to those events. I would also surmise the NFL fully expected this kind of performance as the halftime is its property and I’m sure it was involved in the production. So, the NFL knew exactly what was coming when 100 million plus men, women and children from across the fruited plain tuned in.

That leads to my next conclusion. The NFL had to expect some fans would have a negative reaction to the halftime show — although the league might have underestimated the response.. But the more important point is the NFL doesn’t care. Mainly because it doesn’t have to. Ain’t no one else putting on a Super Bowl in the near future as far as I can tell.

That’s because there’s only one NFL. There’s no competition. So the league can do whatever it wants and its been proving that for years with Super Bowl halftimes, kneeling during the national anthem, the rule changing and replays that only seem to make the rules and replays worse and the tyrannical commissioner doling out punishment as he sees fit. You might think that’s a Tom Brady reference and it is, but only because it’s the perfect example of how the collective bargaining agreement says commissioners can do whatever they please. This one does.

So how does the government play a role? Let’s see. The NFL has been protected until recently with nonprofit status. Does the NFL seem like a nonprofit to you? How many metropolitan areas have been held hostage to fund stadiums? Worse, how many metro areas have welcomed teams who moved with tax incentives, free land and subsidies because another metro area wouldn’t give into the extortion? This is a league that has billions thrown at it every year while being protected by special interests in local and federal government. Ever hear a politician go against the home team? Didn’t think so.

So why would you think the NFL cares what a few fans think? Only if they hit its pocketbook — like the kneeling did — does it care. The same folks complaining on either side of this latest hubbub will tune in come September, if not before.