In run-up to the Super Bowl, there’s no escaping politics

The extent to which politics invades every corner of American life these days can be seen best this week in Houston, where the New England Patriots are scheduled to play in the Super Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons.

Or, as might better be described The Trumps vs. the Non-Trumps.

“No sports team has been more closely associated with a new president, or perhaps any president, at least since Richard Nixon very publicly adopted the Washington Redskins as his own and even called occasional plays for Coach George Allen,” the New York Times’ Mark Leibovich says today.

The team represents a kind of sporting ideal of Trump’s promise to make “America win so much, you’ll be bored of winning.” New England, which will appear in an N.F.L.-record ninth Super Bowl on Sunday, is a team that wins so much that a lot of America has become, yes, bored of its winning. And no small number of fans are convinced that the Patriots (like Trump) achieve their victories through dubious means and wish they would just go away and get off their TVs forever.

The three main architects of the team’s success — Kraft, Belichick and Brady — have taken pains to emphasize that their allegiance to Trump is based on friendship and loyalty, nothing more. They play golf and attend weddings and call to congratulate one another on elections and Super Bowl wins, those kinds of everyday things.

They are quick to assert their bipartisan or apolitical bona fides. Kraft has been a supporter of many Democrats and Democratic causes over the years; Belichick declared himself apolitical in response to queries last fall after Trump at a campaign rally in New Hampshire read aloud from an effusive note of congratulations that Belichick had sent him.

At a media day this week, a generous helping of questions were about politics, the Times says. Several players who are Muslims didn’t take the bait that was offered.

Meanwhile, even the Super Bowl ads are viewed through a political lens.

Budweiser is insisting this ad has nothing to do with politics.

The Patriots are three-point favorites to win the game on Sunday, as if anyone in the country still cares about football.

  • Ben Chorn

    Will be interesting to see what Lady Gaga does for her halftime show…

  • Bob Sinclair
  • kcmarshall

    I would ask the question: is it the case that A) “politics invades every corner of American life” and that is unusual -OR- B) the American political situation is unusual and consequently overshadows every other facet of life?

    I could accept the trend has been A but believe B is the real story today.

    • jon

      Last Saturday after Trump signed the travel ban it was in every section of google news as a headline…

      The technology section had apple and bill gates condemning it, the science section talked about how it was hurting american science.
      Entertainment had commentary on impact to various award shows and who would be in attendance.
      The sports section even found some professional athletes who would be impacted.

  • Paul

    I don’t know the guy, but he handled the question like a good dude.

  • Will

    C’mon now, the Super Bowl is an American tradition, don’t be so gloomy, the jobs report comes out tomorrow!

  • Gary F

    Not a big Brady fan but he handled it right. NFL viewership is down for a bunch of reasons, one being its getting two political.

    • I know that’s the talking point, but there’s really no evidence of that. Koepernick’s games are rarely shown out of market and even if they are, the National Anthem is a commercial break so viewers never see it.

      I think the viewership is down because it’s really bad football in a league that is built on “parity” . The exception is when the Patriots are playing, of course.

      • Jerry

        It’s down for me because nice weekend days in the fall are too valuable to be spent sitting indoors. Also, I’m annoyed at the Vikings for the extortion job they did on the stadium and not wanting to cheer for a child-beater.

        • Gary F

          Yes, too nice out in the fall to be watching TV. You can park closer at Menards or Home depot, you can get any machine at LA fitness, and no waiting at the range,

          • Jack

            I go grocery shopping during the Vikings games.

      • Barton

        Its down for me because its on too often! it used to be just Sunday afternoon and Monday Night. I can do that (and loved to do that). Now they’ve got Sunday night, Thursday night, and Saturday’s every once in a while. It’s too spread out.

      • Gary F

        Part of the problem, they have many.

      • Gary F

        AND! When I was in Boston this summer, all, yes all, the gift shops had under-inflated footballs. I checked them at every store, and said out loud “Why do all these footballs need air?” . It got a chuckle from all the customers in the gift shop, a scowl on the face of the employees, and by the end of our trip my wife and son wouldn’t go in a gift shop with me if they saw them selling footballs.

  • Heb Ienek

    Anhauser Busch InBev is a Belgian company. Foreign countries meddling in our politics? Where do we meet for the protest?

    • Somewhere that doesn’t serve Budweiser would be a start.