The Super Bowl From a Baseball Fan’s Perspective

I’ve said it before but let me say it again’ I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a football fan. It is really hard to take a sport seriously that only plays 16 games their entire season and even then the teams have to have a week off.

Baseball players will play more games in Spring Training than their NFL counterparts will play in three complete seasons. And even with all the time off, football players still only play either offense or defense.

That would be like Mark Reynolds only playing the infield but letting someone else bat. Well hey come to think of it that might not be a bad idea. I seriously doubt the Diamondbacks could find another player capable of striking out over 200 times.

Football is like the ultimate designated hitter rule and no self-respecting baseball fan would suggest that the entire team have a designated hitter. Well maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates but that’s another discussion.

Today marked the culmination of the NFL season with the playing of the Super Bowl. The idea of a national champion in a sport is not a foreign concept except for College Football who thinks a computer can magically determine the winner.

The way that champion is crowned is a far cry different between baseball and football. The Super Bowl is huge. It is larger than most holidays in this country yet rarely does the game ever live up to the hype; much like Alex Rodriguez.

The play-offs last two potentially three games depending on whether a team got a first round bye and there are 12 out of 32 teams that make the post season. The final game is played on a neutral field preferably in the warm southern climates. Both teams in the game are given two whole weeks to prepare for the game and tickets are generally priced to discourage the average fan from ever attending. The championship is decided on a single game increasing the odds that an inferior team will come out on top.

Compare this to baseball which sees teams battle over a 162-game season to identify eight teams that will participate in the post season. The first round of the playoffs requires a team to win three games out of a possible five. The second round requires a team to win four games out of a possible seven just to make it to the World Series.

Once in the World Series a team must win an additional four games in order to be crowned champion. This means the winning team for baseball’s championship has to win 11 games in the play-offs. That is nearly a whole NFL season.

The World Series gives home field advantage to the team from the league winning the All-Star game. Please don’t get me started on that, it is definitely a sore spot with me. Each team could have a minimum of three games in front of their home fans during a series. Depending on the teams in the World Series, the games may be played in bitter cold or blistering heat.

With potentially 19 games in the play-offs if each round went the distance, rarely will the better team be defeated making the World Series champion truly the best team in baseball.

I will give the NFL credit, they have become the master of self-promotion. The pregame show leading up to the kickoff starts several hours before the game and builds excitement to crescendo levels. Sadly, the game itself rarely lives up to the promotion.

The NFL has also convinced television and the viewers that it represents the pinnacle of sports allowing the networks to charge as much as the annual salary of a mid-tier starting pitcher for a 30 second commercial.

I tried to watch the game but lost interest almost as soon as Carrie Underwood finished singing the national anthem. The game was sloppy and neither team did anything exceptional. It was a great story to see the New Orleans Saints win their first Super Bowl and perhaps it will continue to aid the city that is still trying to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina.

As for me, I was disappointed. I thought the Indianapolis Colts would win and even placed a bet with my son on the outcome. If the Colts had won, I would have been the owner of a new Arizona Diamondbacks batting practice hat.

Instead I have to buy my son a new soccer ball. This is just another reason why I don’t like football. When a soccer ball can beat a new batting practice hat; there is something definitely wrong with society.


5 Comments

  1. Agree, Agree, Agree. Another reason why it’s so bad… http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704281204575002852055561406.html

  2. The game was sloppy? Is that why there was exactly one turnover and very few penalties throughout? Oh, plus a fairly high-scoring game, a tied completion record, etc etc…

    As for your first paragraph, it is really hard to take a sport seriously when its own players need to use things like amphetamines to keep themselves interested over the 162 game schedule… see I can do it too. The flipside of only having 16 games per season is that nearly every game has a large impact on the season, making each one more important. In baseball, who really cares if you lose one of those July games? There’s plenty more left to play.

    There are different things to like about both sports, and in fact I do enjoy both. I understand (and in some ways, very much agree) with your point that the Super Bowl is often underwhelming, but I don’t really think it’s fair to completely pan football… especially when baseball has its own problems (example: the same teams always being good and making the playoffs).

    • Don’t tell the Arizona Diamondbacks that a few games don’t make a difference over 162-game season. They missed the 2008 playoffs as a result of three games in Los Angeles. I’m sure the Detroit Tigers last year would also beg to differ considering it took them 163 games to miss the playoffs.

      And while I agree there has been a drug problem in baseball, I don’t think either of us wish to dig into the “better living through chemistry” underbelly of either sport as neither would come out unstained.

      I respectfully disagree with your assessment that the same teams are always good. Over the past decade, only the Yankees and the Red Sox have appeared in more than one World Series and both of those appeared in only two. Of those two only the Red Sox were champions in more than one series. You could make a strong argument that baseball has achieved more parity than the NFL in this century.

      Still, I understand your points. The post was written tongue in cheek and represents a more passionate love of baseball than a disdain of football.

      • Well, reading back over it I can see the tongue in cheek nature… which I did notice the first time, I just suppose my Texan upbringing led me to a quick defense of football. It was really more the digs at this year’s Super Bowl that made me comment, since it was a pretty good one by my standards. Either way, now that football season is over I can’t want for spring training – that time of year where you can’t help but be optimistic. Unless you are a Pirates fan, I guess.

        • I guess I was bitter about this year’s Super Bowl because I felt so confident in the Colts that I placed the bet with my son only to see my dreams of getting a new Diamondbacks Batting Practice hat go down like the Cubs in August.

          I do agree with you, the next two weeks every baseball fan in America is looking at their team hoping this is the year they go to the World Series except Pittsburgh where they are counting down the days to the trade deadline so they can watch their players shipped off and know there are only a few short weeks away from the Steelers playing.

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