AMERICA: A Bad Super Bowl XLIX Primer

It’s motherfucking Super Bowl time! AMERICA! The New England Patriots vs The Seattle Seahawks. The Pixies vs Nirvana. Frasier vs Cheers. 

Super Bowl XLIX, to be precise. Funny that a country which generally eschews any form of foreign culture is so willing to embrace the numeric system employed in ancient Rome, but that’s another article entirely.

We don’t have much time, but here are a few key talking points to consider:

1. Will Marshawn Lynch speak? He’s taken a leaf out of the Liberal Party handbook by simply repeating the same phrase over and over again at various press conferences. So will he speak, if the Seahawks win? And what will he say? He must have plenty to say, I’d wager. Probably about the importance of God in one’s life.

2. Belichick is up against his own predecessor, with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll holding the Patriots job before him. But fuck that narrative: the real question for us at TPA is whether Belichick wear a hoodie or not? We’re betting he will.

Casual, iconic
Casual, iconic

3. Who will win the all-important QB showdown: Tom Brady, or Russell Wilson? Despite Wilson’s impressive win rate since joining the Seahawks – 36-12 – he’s up against a player who has dominated the code for the past decade. That said, Wilson is 10-0 vs Superbowl winning QBs – an exceptional record. As always, this is the only match up you need to worry about.

4. How much plastic surgery has Bob Costas had? Seriously?

So get the fuck out of the office to your nearest pub, order a generous helping of buffalo wings and a few pitchers of Coors Light, and settle in for three or four hours of frustrating stop-start play and a slew of entertaining, high-budget commercials that will probably feature Jerry Seinfeld, because this is as American as you’re ever going to get.

By staff writers

NFL Prospect Michael Sam Might Be Gay, But Is He Good At Football?

There was some huge news out of the US today: Missouri college footballer Michael Sam announced to the world that he is gay.

I’m only being slightly facetious when I write that this is “huge news.” Because, assuming he gets drafted this US Spring (and I believe it is likely he will) he will become the first openly gay player in the NFL – a sport watched by millions of Americans, homophobic and liberal alike.

There are a couple of reasons why this is good for the NFL, and America, in general. Obviously it challenges the conventional stereotype of the NFL player. It throws down the gauntlet to NFL teams to institute a cultural change within their ranks. There will be gay players. You will need to be cool with that.

Sam has the potential to be a critically important figure in the gay rights movement. On the other hand, he could be just a footnote.

It will all depend, now, on how his career progresses.

Unlike NBA veteran Jason Collins, who came out recently, Sam is young, and at the cusp of a potentially long and distinguished career. Collins’ bravery in coming out has been somewhat diluted by the fact that he is, to be honest, just not a good enough player to make a serious impact.

The 34-year-old is currently without a team – and it’s hard to be a key public figure for a gay rights movement when you’re unemployed and on the NBA scrap heap.

"So when did you first know you were gay?"
“So when did you first know you were gay?”

Some suggested at the time that Collins was simply trying to draw attention to his own free agency, in the hopes of scoring another NBA contract. If this was his goal, unlikely as it seems, then it failed.

It’s a somewhat similar story for NBA prospect Royce White, who was recently waived by the Philadelphia 76ers. White, a Rara Avis if ever there was one, suffers from an anxiety disorder. His battles have been well-documented by Chuck Klosterman on The Public Apology’s sister publication, Grantland. He has been incredibly outspoken on the issue of mental illness among athletes.

White called on his former employers, the Houston Rockets, to implement a mental health protocol, according to Klosterman, which hinged on White’s personal psychiatrist deciding when he is fit to play. However, the NBA is a big business – and White’s output was deemed not worth all the hassle. After all, he had issues with flying – not ideal given the absurd number of NBA games per season – and has a history of panic attacks during games.

White never played a minute for the Rockets, and he’s languished ever since. Sadly, risk triumphed over reward.

An NBA player in a fedora? That'll do me.
An NBA player in a fedora? That’ll do me.

Sam’s career trajectory from here on in will be interesting to watch. He has already done “the hardest part” for a gay professional athlete – before even turning professional.

However, this article here indicates that Sam will face some serious hurdles – both on and off-field – now that he has come out. One NFL assistant coach called it “not a smart move,” and one that may impact his earnings potential. It seems that many key figures in the NFL believe the sport is simply not ready for an openly gay player.

Of course, in an ideal world we would be so cool with this so that he wouldn’t feel the need, as a young NFL draftee, to publicly announce his preference for men. But this is the world we live in – and we need more Sams before that can be a reality.

Here’s hoping he doesn’t turn out to be a draft bust.

By Dave Edwards

NFL Super Bowl XLVIII: ‘This Time It’s About The Football’

It’s Super Bowl Monday here in Australia – that one day a year where male white collar workers exercise their right to a day of annual leave in order to take in the Greatest Sporting Spectacle the world has to offer.

Usually, there is an obvious narrative to arch the Super Bowl around.  A story of good vs evil, perhaps. An underdog vs the obvious favourite. Etcetera.

Last year we had Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens, which provided us with the fairytale story that sporting dreams are made of. America: the place where an athlete can brush off a murder charge and gain the adoration of an entire nation.

This year, we have the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams topped their respective conferences. There are no human interest stories to speak of. This Time It’s About The Football.

What is a Super Bowl without intrigue and drama? Without a human interest story, where an athlete – or organisation – has overcome huge hurdles just to make it to the big stage?

The game will be played at a cold weather outdoor venue for the first time in ages. Usually, the event is held in a “warm party town” like New Orleans, or Miami – so that’s something, I guess. Both teams come from two progressive US states – Colorado and Washington – which have both recently passed legislation to legalise marijuana. But that’s about it, as far as obscure talking points go.

The game will likely – as it always does – come down to the quarterbacks. Peyton Manning of the Broncos is a legend of the game; an institution as far as the NFL is concerned. He will take on Seattle’s Russell Wilson – the polar opposite player to Manning. A mixed-race, 5’11” scrambling speedster; a rising star to Manning’s fading one – and indicative of the new wave of running QBs.

The Public Apology is not known for its NFL knowledge, but if pressed, will tip Denver over Seattle. It’s the Manning Factor; his experience should get the Broncos home in a tight one.

Broncos by 7.

By Dave Edwards with Mike Davis