No, this isn’t an apocalyptic prophecy that the end of the world will come before February 2018. Nor is it a series of thoughts telling people what to do for their entertainment decisions. Nor is it a prediction that the NFL is about to crumble and Super Bowls will become a thing of the past. Rather, this is a question I found myself asking as I watched the Super Bowl a week and half ago.
First, a little disclaimer and background. I love football! I coach varsity football. I enjoy watching football. I have, to my memory, only missed watching one Super Bowl in my life. Over the years, one of my favorite aspects of late winter is NFL play-offs culminated with a Super Bowl party, even if it is just with a friend. The Super Bowl for me has always been a celebration of a year’s worth of work in professional football.
But, this year, I began to ask myself this question: “Would I watch the Super Bowl next year?” Or even, would I watch another Super Bowl again? Here is why I began asking this question. In the past, the Super Bowl was a fun family event. Great competition combined with fairly innocent and comical commercials from companies such as Doritos, Snickers, Coke, and (going way back) Rainer Beer (Remember the motorcycle?). However, most of that has been left in the dust raised by postmodernism and moral relativism.
As I sat watching the game this year, I was constantly telling my children, “Don’t look!” as I scrambled for the remote. And, the reality was, I didn’t want to look either! The screen was filled with images of nearly nude women, violent deaths, liberal political agendas, immoral behavior, adultery, and disgusting images. We even saw repeated commercials for T-Mobil that depicted a woman obtaining sexual pleasure from being abused as the commercial tried a spin off from the success of the soft porn movie, 50 Shades of Grey.
Is it worth it? Was it considering and applying Philippians 4:8: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Was it putting into practice Ephesians 5:11-12: “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”
While it is true that the Super Bowl of 2017 was arguably one of the best of all time, the experience, as a whole, left a sour taste in my mouth. Statistically, I had watched approximately 11 minutes of game time and 63 minutes of commercials (according to the Wall Street Journal), many of which were offensive and crude. If what we saw this year had aired just 20 years ago, wouldn’t there have been a social outcry? Would Christians have gathered around with their families to watch it? Is it possible we have gotten so accustomed to the moral slide we have lost sight of the top of the hill, known as biblical holiness? Is it possible we have become so comfortable with our media culture, we cannot turn it off? Is it possible sports have become so important to us, we will watch it at any cost? Is it possible Super Bowl 51 was my last one? Sadly, that is very possible….