In Which I Watch the World's Most Popular Sporting Contest of the Weekend

Chelsea 1-1 Man City
Yes, Americans, this was not just larger than the Super Bowl, it was five times larger, with an estimated 650 million people around the world tuning in, and this for a midseason game. I rooted for Manchester City out of a residual affection for Oasis, who are City fans from way back, and also because of contempt for all things Mourinho. But it's hard not to notice that neither of these teams is lovable, both in the top two only because they are owned by massive parent companies from politically dubious parts of the world and thus able to outspend everyone else in the world this side of Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Despite this, it was not remotely interesting as a game. Jose Mourinho is famously unconcerned with midfield play as a pioneer of the defense-centric, counterattacking style that is now all over the Premiership and much of the world (Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have also had much success with this method). So there's a lot of strong individual play with the creativity that comes from employing the world's best, but very little of it leads to anything. It's not quite bad football, but it's more like watching Hull and Newcastle than it probably should be. An analogy: it is not unlike NBA basketball when the Knicks were riding high in the 90s--the individual play can almost distract one from the fact that the team can only win ugly.

Not Watching the Super Bowl
As far back as I can remember, I have watched the Super Bowl. I may have been uninterested in anything else having to do with the NFL, but I still watched. Not yesterday, though, and unlikely ever again, after the year the NFL has had. Sports are a bit stupid in the best of cases (though stupid things can be enjoyable and even transcendent from time to time), and one has to reckon with the fact that anything done by humans will also be done by some morally questionable humans, but there comes a point at which the evidence amasses beyond a point that one can continue to associate oneself with it. FIFA may be cartoonishly venal and willing to associate with the worst people--see the slave labor being used to allow Qatar to build stadia to host the World Cup--but if Cristiano Ronaldo got in trouble with the law, no one would be bending over backwards to save him, and certainly not in the manner that the NFL and its teams routinely interfere with law enforcement investigations, usually by already having someone in the police department on team payroll. The Shield very clearly thinks it can have whatever it wants, and for the most part this view seems to be correct. I would rather not have anything to do with it.

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