The Super Bowl has once again come and gone. And once again, the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champions for the second time in four years. It was an eventful, high-scoring game that included two potent offenses and two Pro Bowl caliber quarterbacks. Both teams played one another hard. Both made their share of mistakes, too. But in the end, someone had to come out a winner.
And yet, the conclusion of this game just felt so unsatisfying.
For the first 58 minutes of the game, it played out like a classic in the making. The Philadelphia Eagles came out strong in the first half. They dominated the Chiefs in terms of plays run and time of possession. They even appeared to hit Patrick Mahomes just enough to aggravate the ankle injury that has bothered him throughout the playoffs. Going into halftime, he was limping severely.
But the extra-long halftime show with Rhianna gave him time to get treatment and he came out firing. The Chiefs caught up and made it a game, eventually taking the lead for the first time. But the Eagles tied it up and got a two-point conversion.
That last drive by the Chiefs looked like it was setting the stage for something special. Either the Eagles would make a big defensive stop or the Chiefs would only be up by a field goal with over a minute and a half left. In the Super Bowl, that’s a lot of time to work with. Just ask Eli Manning and David Tyree.
Then, the goddamn refs decided the game. After letting the two teams play for pretty much the entire game, the efts made this bullshit call on defensive holding on a play that would’ve led to a field goal.
Because of this call, the game was pretty much decided. There was no game winning drive by the Eagles or defensive stop by the Chiefs. It was all decided because of some unceremonious penalty that you had to squint to see.
I’ve been watching football all my life. I’ve seen my share of lousy Super Bowls that ended up being blowouts. I’ve also seen Super Bowls that were a clear mismatch. But I can’t recall watching a Super Bowl in which it’s plainly obvious that a single call by the refs decided the game.
That is not how a champion should be crowned in any sport.
We’ll never know if the Eagles would’ve gone down the field to tie or win the game. We’ll also never know if the Chiefs would’ve stopped them. But thanks to the refs, we’ll never know.
It’s a bittersweet ending to what has otherwise been an amazing NFL season. Now, the wait begins for the next season. I just hope that whoever ends up in the Super Bowl next year, it’s decided by something other than a bullshit call by the refs.
In general, I don’t care for commercials. Unless they’re for an upcoming movie I’m excited about or some local pizza shop I haven’t tried, I tend to ignore or skip them. I’ll even mute them during a live broadcast. I just find them that unremarkable.
But every now and then, a commercial will come along that really annoys me. It’s not just the aesthetics of the commercial, the cheesy nature of the scenario, or the annoying jingles that some devious marketing team conjured. It’s the overall substance of the commercial and what it’s ultimately selling. Because it’s one thing to advertise in hope of selling a product. It’s quite another to advertise in hope pushing a questionable agenda.
This is how I feel about the recent flood of the “He Gets Us” commercials that have been popping up lately. If you’ve been awake and coherent for any commercial break lately, you’ve probably seen them. They’re part of a PR campaign by Christian organizations like The Signatry and billionaire activists like David Green, the co-founder of Hobby Lobby.
And it’s not a cheap, low-level campaign either. According to NPR, it’s part of a multimillion-dollar effort intended to change or influence the public perception of Jesus Christ and Christianity, in general. There’s even plans to air a special commercial during the Super Bowl, which is not a cheap endeavor.
That alone should hint at the ambition behind this effort, as well as the deep pockets of those funding it. As for the commercials themselves, they all have a very distinct tone.
You’ve got these dark backgrounds depicting people who appear real and genuine.
They’re often include messages about how Jesus was a refugee, hated hypocrisy, and was unfairly persecuted for his beliefs.
They often end with the tagline message that Jesus gets us and with references to the organization.
Anyone who has a passing familiarity with Christianity and the bible probably knows these details about Jesus Christ, already. Even if you’re not a Christian, it’s nearly impossible to live in the United States and not be aware of basic Christian ideas. That alone makes the idea of a campaign to inform and educate people about Jesus’ life seem somewhat redundant.
However, it’s the bigger picture behind the message and the larger trends in organized religion that genuinely concern me. Because even though the message seems uplifting and benign, it’s important to understand who it’s coming from and why.
In case anyone has forgotten, the family behind Hobby Lobby has also been behind a number of court cases and legal efforts to promote “religious freedom.” I put that term in quotes because it’s a very politically charged term. In America, when most people talk about religious freedom, they’re usually referring to the rights of mainstream Christians to oppress, denigrate, or discriminate against minorities, usually individuals of the LGBTQ+ community.
To them, religious freedom means the ability to refuse service to people based on their sexuality, race, or gender identity.
To them, religious freedom means the ability of their particular religion to get special treatment and protections by the state. They’ll rarely say anything about Jewish or Islamic communities getting similar treatment.
To them, religious freedom means being exempt from laws or policies about women’s health care, adoption, or science.
To them, religious freedom means the ability to indoctrinate their children on their terms through things like homeschooling or private schooling.
In essence, their struggle for religious freedom usually boils down to an effort for their brand of religion to have power, influence, and some measure of preferential treatment over the competition, be it other faiths or no faith at all.
Now, as always, I need to make clear that organizations and efforts like this do not reflect on the character of most Christians. As I’ve said before, most of the people in my family identify as Christian. Some are very active in their church. They are good, decent, loving people. And most of them couldn’t care less about the politics or private lives of others.
They’re goals are actually perfectly in line with the teachings of Jesus. They seek to help and comfort others through meaningful community-centered efforts. They don’t need multi-million dollar campaigns to do it. Their faith is enough for them. And if others join them in that effort, then everyone benefits. That’s a legitimately beautiful thing.
But efforts like “He Gets Us” attempt to go beyond those simple, smaller acts of piety. It’s attempting to reshape perceptions of the notion that being a Christian means being an intolerant, anti-science, anti-fun, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-woman, anti-abortion, pro-gun, pro-capitalism, anti-environmentalist bigot. Considering the damage the religious right has done to perceptions of Christianity, I totally understand that.
The problem is that those behind “He Gets Us” actively contributed to that perception. They’re the ones who funded organizations that opposed same-sex marriage, anti-discrimination bills, and political candidates who claim global warming is a hoax. They’re the ones who seek favorable treatment by the courts when it comes to refusing services to certain minorities or getting special exceptions from general business practices.
It’s this disconnect that I find so troubling about these commercials. They send a message that the message of Jesus and Christianity is for everyone. It’s somehow a necessary message in the current cultural landscape. But it ignores the fact that religious right has effectively co-opted Christianity to create this current situation. And at no point in these commercials or in their promotional material does “He Gets Us” or the organization behind it apologize for that, let alone acknowledge it.
This initiative claims to want inclusivity, but ignores where that lack of inclusivity came from. It also ignores that Christianity, as an organization, has become a political force that advocates egregious injustices, outright inequality, and a distinctly fascist form of governance that a large segment of the population has embraced. Like it or not, Christianity is closely tied with a brand of politics that is completely antithetical to nearly every core teaching Jesus Christ ever espoused. To not acknowledge or confront that is like trying to change a tire on a car that’s actively on fire.
In that sense, the agenda “He Gets Us” feels less like an effort to redress actual missteps of modern Christianity and more like damage control. It comes off as oil companies trying to shirk responsibility for climate change by claiming they care about the environment too, but refuse to stop polluting.
Again, I’m not trying to say every Christian is responsible for the misdeeds of a select few, nor am I saying someone is a bad person for identifying as a Christian or even contributing to organizations like this. It’s critical to distinguish the individual people from the nefarious agendas that organizations push. If there’s one message I’d like to convey about “He Gets Us” and the message they’re trying to sell, it’s this.
Be very skeptical of their agenda.
Be very skeptical of any religious organization that chooses to spend millions of dollars on TV ads to address a PR problem that they’re responsible for.
If you truly do believe in the values and teachings of Jesus Christ, then you don’t need commercials or politically connected organizations to practice them. You just need faith and a desire to be decent to other people, even if they don’t agree with you.
Yesterday marked the end of an era for multiple generations of football fans (again).
Tom Brady, the greater quarterback to ever play this game in any era, announced that he was retiring from the NFL (again) after 23 season.
Granted, he made the same announcement around this time last year, only to come out of retirement in less than two months. However, this time is supposedly different. This time, Brady himself made the announcement via social media. There was nothing leaked, teased, or polished for a press release. He just said he was retiring in his own words.
Whether retirement will stick this time remains to be seen. Seeing this announcement, I genuinely believe he’s sincere. Brady had a rough season in 2022. Age, it seems, has finally caught up with him. And unlike last time, he already has a job waiting for him as an analyst that promises to pay him millions for years to come. That would imply that this time, it’s for real. He’s going to stay retired.
However, we’ve seen this sort of thing happen before. Brett Favre famously retired multiple times and came back multiple times. He believed he could still play at a high level and take his team to a Super Bowl. Will Brady pull the same stunt? I don’t know. I just know that once the 2023 season draws near, those competitive juices that every great athlete has are going to fester. Will Brady be able to resist the call? Will he be able to walk away after doing this for 23 seasons?
Only time will tell. We probably won’t know for sure until kickoff of the new season later this years.
In the meantime, I’ll just take a moment to thank Tom Brady for everything he’s done for the NFL and the sport. Unless you follow the NFL closely, it’s impossible to overstate just how dominant Brady has been in this most competitive of sports. Some have compared him to Michael Jordan. I honestly think Brady has exceeded Michael Jordan. He has more championship, greater longevity, and more records that will likely never be broken.
Love him or hate him, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. He has set records that will likely never be broken. I was still in grade school when Brady was a rookie. He’s been a starting QB in the NFL for the entirety of my adult life. The NFL will be very different without him.
But his time has come. Even the greatest must eventually retire and Tom Brady has more than earned it. So once again, thank you Tom Brady. Thank you for everything you did for the NFL and the sport.
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This video covers my picks and predictions for the 2022 NFL season. Last year, something remarkable happened in that I actually picked the winner of Super Bowl LVI, the Los Angeles Rams.
Now, I consider that to be a lucky fluke.
But I still hope that gives extra weight to my picks this year. Like previous years, I’ll go division by division. Then, I’ll offer my pick for who I think will win Super Bowl LVII. Enjoy!
Today is Valentine’s Day. As a lover of romance, I appreciate the sentiment behind it. As someone who has been single for quite some time now, my enthusiasm is a bit muted. I hope that changes one year. It didn’t happen this year, but I certainly encourage all the lucky couples out there to celebrate.
On top of Valentine’s Day, today is also the day after the Super Bowl. For many sports fans, like myself, it’s very much an unofficial holiday. However, it’s a unique holiday in that it’s mostly about recovering from the previous day. We spend so much time and energy, getting excited for the Super Bowl and making this special event. It’s exhilarating, but exhausting, especially if you’ve had a few too many beers.
As I write this, I can confirm that I had quite a few beers last night. In my defense, it was a damn good game. The Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals, winning 23 to 20 after a final drive in the last two minutes. That’s how you want a championship game to end. That’s how it should end after such an arduous season.
For today, I intend to spend most of the time just digesting all the junk I ate last night and healing from all the alcohol intake. I will try to do something special in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, like re-watch my favorite movies or work on some sexy short stories. It’ll just be more challenging because I’m just still buzzing from that game.
If you’re a football fan, who happens to have a lover, try and rise to the challenge. We were all lucky to have such a great game to cap off the season. It’s going to be a long wait until the next football season. With today being Valentine’s Day, use that as a chance to refocus your energy. Your lover will thank you for it.
One day, I hope to celebrate a day like this with my future wife. For now, I’ll just enjoy the spirit of the day while also taking in the post-Super Bowl afterglow.
To that end, I offer one final message for today.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Also, congratulations to Super Bowl LVI champions Los Angeles Rams!
The most holy of days for lovers of all things football, NFL, and sports spectacles!
It’s Super Bowl Sunday and later today, Super Bowl LVI will kickoff in Los Angeles between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. The wait is almost over and words cannot describe how great it feels.
Every year, I build my entire weekend around it. This year is no exception. I’ve stocked up on chicken wings. I plan on making a couple dozen just an hour or so before kickoff. I’ve also stocked up on beer, chips, and premium dip. It will likely be the least healthy meal I’ll have all year, but I’ll make up for it at the gym tomorrow. Today, it’s all about football.
Now, I’m not a huge fan of either team, but this is one year where the stories behind these teams are such that you can root for both. The Rams haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1999 and their quarterback, Matthew Stafford, hadn’t even won a playoff game until this year.
The Bengals are an even more remarkable story. Not only have they never won a Super Bowl, they hadn’t won a playoff game since 1990. They were such a bad team for so long that people used to call them the Bungles. Now, they’re in the Super Bowl, preparing to play for their first championship, having taken down the top ranked Titans and Chiefs along the way.
Only one team can win it, but both teams deserve to be here. I look forward to seeing who earns that iconic Lombardi Trophy.
So, whatever your Super Bowl ritual might be, I hope it goes smoothly. I also hope it involves plenty of friends, food, and cheering. It’s a wonderful day for football and for sports. Let’s all just enjoy it for all its worth.
For lifelong football fans like me, this is often a bittersweet time of year. The most eventful parts of the NFL offseason have come and gone. Both free agency and the NFL Draft are behind us. All 32 teams in the NFL are very different compared to what they were when the 2020 season ended. For many fans, especially of those whose teams had major overhauls, it’s an exciting time.
As of now, every team is 0-0.
Every team has the potential to go from worst to first.
Every player has the potential to become the best at their position.
At this point, most people know what they’re team is going to look like when the season starts. Now, we also know who, when, and where they’ll play because the NFL just released the full 2021 schedule. It all starts on September 9, 2021 with the Cowboys facing the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. Even if you’re not a fan of those particular teams, that’ll be a glorious day if you’re just a football fan in general.
Given how crazy last year was with games being delayed and no fans being in the stands, I am ready for a full season that isn’t utterly chaotic because of a once-in-a-century pandemic. I can’t wait to see the day when full stadiums of cheering fans are a regular thing again. It’s something I hope players and fans alike never take for granted.
While that wait is going to be long from here on out, the release of the schedule already has me excited. So, to help pass the time while I wait for kickoff, here’s a brief list of the games from 2021 that I’m most excited about. Please note that this is just my list. Yours may differ considerably, depending on your favorite/most hated team. If you think there’s another game worthy of such hype, please mention it in the comments.
#5: Jaguars @ Texans in Week 1
This is likely more of a curiosity than anything else. It’s the debut of the all new, fully rebuilt Jaguars and their new number one overall pick, Trevor Lawrence. Some call him Football Jesus. Some think he’s a once-in-a-generation quarterback who will take the Jaguars to a whole new level. We may not know how true that is with this game, but I’ll certainly be curious to see what he and Urban Meyer can do.
Plus, Tim Tebow could be back. That can only make this game more exciting.
#4: Steelers @ Chiefs in Week 16
These are two perennial playoff teams with high-flying offenses. They both have Hall of Fame quarterbacks and Hall of Fame coaches who have won Super Bowls. This is one of those match-ups where you know you’re getting the best and at this point in the season, this match-up could very well determine which team has the top seed in the playoffs and which team will have to travel on their path to another Super Bowl.
Then again, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers didn’t mind traveling last year on the road to their championship, so there’s that.
#3: Packers @ Chiefs in Week 9
I know. It’s another Chiefs game. No, I’m not playing favorites. I’ve just been watching football long enough to know that Patrick Mahomes makes any game worth watching. However, add future Hall of Famer Aaron Rogers to the mix and this could be must-see TV. Now, it’s not yet clear what’ll happen between the Packers and Rogers. I’ve been following the trade rumors along with anyone else. I don’t think there’s enough there to think someone different will be under center by the time this game is played. Hopefully, it’s still the match-up we all hope it will be.
Plus, this should’ve been the Super Bowl last year. It really should’ve.
#2: Ravens @ Steelers in Week 13
I don’t think I need to say much to justify this. It’s Ravens versus Steelers. They’re not just division rivals. They’re two of the hardest hitting teams in the AFC. Both are regularly in the playoff hunt, especially by mid-season. Both have top tier quarterbacks and quality defenses. It’s usually at this point in the season where one team separates themselves from another and it’s usually in a match-up like this when we see these teams at their best.
If you’re a fan of old school had-nose football, this is your game.
#1: Buccaneers @ Patriots in Week 4
It’s Tom Brady’s first time playing in Foxboro for a team that’s not the Patriots. Need I say more? Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback to every play and his greatness brought six Super Bowl titles to New England. Him leaving was a big deal. Him coming back as a Buccaneer after winning them the Super Bowl will an even bigger deal. This is one of those games that’ll have a lot of drama to it. It’ll feel like a playoff game and it’ll only be Week 4.
For that reason, this will likely be the most anticipated game of the season for many, myself included.
I’ll say it again. I am so ready for some football. I know I’ll have to wait a few more months for it to arrive, but I’ll be ready when the time comes. The wait will be agonizing and these five games are just a small slice of a much larger, more delicious cake that is the NFL season, but it’ll be worth it.
Super Bowl LV is over and while the outcome was lacking in drama, it was still not surprising.
Again, Tom Brady led a team to a Super Bowl.
For the seventh time in his career, Tom Brady is a Super Bowl champion.
At this point, there’s no way around it. Tom Brady is the greatest. They call him the GOAT, the Greatest of All Time. It’s not just a cute acronym. It’s the truth. The man has won seven Super Bowls. That’s nearly double that of any other quarterback of any era. He’s also played in ten. Out of a 21 year career, that means he’s been to a Super Bowl almost every other year.
If you’re not an American football fan, just know that’s insane. That’s unheard of. In a game that’s supposed to be the ultimate team sport in which one player cannot win a game alone, it might as well be superhuman. It’s one thing to do this with one team over the course of two decades, but Brady had to raise the bar yet again by going to another team and winning them a Super Bowl in his first year.
Again, that’s insane.
That’s unheard of.
That was thought to be impossible, given the nature of the NFL.
That still didn’t stop Brady. He still went to a new team and, despite not even winning the division, he went onto win the Super Bowl. There are Hall of Fame players who are considered the greatest of their time who never even played in a Super Bowl. Barry Sanders, Bernie Kosar, Calvin Johnson, and Philip Rivers are all considered great, but Brady has played in 10 more Super Bowl than they ever did.
At this point, there is no debate. There is no context or second-guessing. Tom Brady is the greatest football player of all time. After this lastest Super Bowl, I would even go a step further.
Tom Brady is officially better than Michael Jordan.
Trust me, I don’t say those words lightly. Michael Jordan was so dominant when he played in the NBA. His six championship and the way he went about winning them are what put him a cut above the rest, even among players today. LeBron James is trying to catch him, but even if he goes onto win six championship, he won’t be better than Tom Brady.
Patrick Mahomes is still great. He still won a Super Bowl last year and he still put up great numbers. Nobody can take that away from him. However, even if he goes onto win seven Super Bowls throughout his career, he’ll never be greater than Tom Brady, if only because he lost to Brady when it counted.
You can hate Brady all you want for winning so much and being so dominant. You can even hate how lopsided the Super Bowl was this year. You still can’t deny the cold, hard truth.
Tom Brady has shattered what few doubts remained. He is the greatest of all time when it comes to football. I’m confident in saying that there will never be anyone as great as him, for as long as this game is played.
Two years ago, I expressed intrigue and excitement about the prospect of the XFL returning almost 20 years after its initial failure. Part of that is because I’m a lifelong football fan. My annual excitementover the Super Bowl is proof of that. Another part of that is because the months between February and April, when baseball season starts, is a sports desert.
The NBA and NHL regular season is winding down.
The NCAA basketball tournament hasn’t started yet.
There’s a real void to be filled. Many have tried to fill it with spring football, including the first version of the XFL. To date, all have failed. It has led some to believe that spring football just isn’t possible. I respectfully disagree with that sentiment.
I believe there is a market for more football and I believe this new version of the XFL is doing everything right in pursuing it. They took their time, using the past two years to make sure they had plenty of money in hand and refine the rules. After plenty of waiting and anticipation, week one kicked off this past weekend. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. Given how the first XFL failed, it could’ve been a disaster.
I know a lot can change between the first week of the season in the last.
For now, that doesn’t matter. I’m in. The XFL 2.0 has sold me. It’s real football at a time when the sports world needs it. I was rooting for it before. Now, I’m rooting even harder. The world of football and the world of sports, in general, will benefit from the XFL succeeding.
However, those plans went out the window when I saw the equally amazing Super Bowl halftime show featuring Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. To say it was stunning would’ve been an insult. I’ll go on record as saying it’s the greatest Super Bowl halftime show of all time. I don’t see how it will be topped in the near future.
That said, I knew before it was over that it was going to piss some people off. I didn’t even need to check my Twitter feed to know who those people were. I could already sense the collective gasps of a certain segment of people who identify too much with Helen Lovejoy.
We know who these people are. Some of them identify with a particular religion. Some identify with a particular ideology. It doesn’t always come from one point in the spectrum, but it always comes from the extremes. It’s annoying, frustrating, idiotic, asinine, selfish, and just plain stupid. I put it on the same level as those behind those awful car insurance commercials that I despise.
To these people, there’s no arguing with them. They see two beautiful women dancing, singing, and energizing a crowd and they don’t see fun. They see something dangerous, subversive, and perverse. To them, such a thing shouldn’t even exist. It’s not just offensive. It’s dangerous and could corrupt the minds, bodies, and souls of children and adults alike.
To those same people, I have a message.
Grow up or get out.
If that sounds too harsh, I’m sorry. I don’t know of a nicer way to say it.
If you’re the kind of religious zealot who see women doing anything other than obeying her husband, birthing children, and keeping her mouth shut, then you’re in the wrong part of the world.
If you’re the kind of dogmatic, moral values preaching conservative who think women and music that wouldn’t be allowed in a 1950s sitcom is a subversive plot, then your attitudes are 10 steps behind that of most children.
If you’re the kind of regressive, perpetually angry liberal who think any depiction of beautiful women in the media is akin gross objectification that deserves the same condemnation of human trafficking, you need to drag yourself out of the dystopian fantasy land you’ve been living in.
I’ve no sympathy for these people. Whether they’re priest, mullahs, liberals, conservatives, rabbis, feminists, misogynists, or college students with too much free time on their hands, they deserve nothing but scorn. This was an incredible show full of beauty, spectacle, and wonder. It brought joy and astonishment to many. If you can’t enjoy that because your politics or theology won’t let you, then that’s your problem.
There are parts of this world in which you don’t have to confront such joy. There are entire countries where women are subjugated and censored by law. There are remote islands, villages, and lands on which you can’t even access spectacles like this. Go there and create your own joyless world in which women can’t be beautiful, men can’t admire it, and music can’t be played.
The alternative is to just grow up and except that entertainment exists. It’s beautiful, sexy, and powerful sometimes. If you can’t be a mature adult about it, then you have problems beyond your inability to appreciate a great show.