"Final?" you might well ask; "but you didn't have any initial thoughts on the Super Bowl . . ." Au contraire, my friend.
I've had quite a few thoughts on the Super Bowl, but none in a spirit festive enough to share. But today, thinking about a quip from one of my students (a Pittsburgher and Steelers fan herself, she rooted for Green Bay) - which was an intensified version of a sentiment Brad shared post-loss on game night - I decided that since festivity is not in order, my un-festive thoughts are appropriate.
This lack of festivity is not due to the obvious - the fact that the Steelers lost (or that they looked simply awful in Texas). Instead, it's due to my lack of, well, giving a crap that the Steelers lost (and that they looked awful in Texas). My student, for her part, is glad the Steelers lost. She feels - and I'm inclined to agree - that some kind of cosmic injustice would have been perpetrated had Roethlisberger gone from behaving badly, getting caught and "punished" for behaving badly, onto winning the Super Bowl the same season and being a major hero. (She wasn't quite as succinct, nor did she use the words "cosmic justice," but as a teacher of English, I make it my duty to find the gems hidden amidst the clunkiness.) Now Brad didn't go so far as to say that he's glad; but for the first time in the decade I've known him, a serious Steelers loss didn't hurt him the way getting a football to the gut hurts (and, believe me, I know - it fricking hurts).
But I don't want to rehash how Ben is a jerk and deserved to lose, etc. etc. - people are probably doing that all over my great city. Instead I want to talk about how his ridiculousness killed the story of football for me. We want our "heroes" to have a flaw, sure, but not the flaw of being a sexual assaulter. By being someone I would rather forget and quite frankly hate to look at, Ben made me ambivalent about the biggest game in my favorite sport. He's not Hamlet or Oedipus (I'm overlooking the problematics of the whole "murder" thing); he's just a dirtball we pay a lot of money to watch. (Note that this is not coming from some hatred of professional atheletes making a lot of money. I'm a firm believer in if-you-don't-want-them-to-get-paid-obscene-amounts-of-money-then-stop-doing-the-things-that-enable-them-to-make-obscene-amounts-of-money. And I, for one, am not going to stop watching the NFL.)
Perhaps I've got Clifford Geertz and Claude Levi-Strauss on my mind. If cockfighting is a central component of Balinese culture, then the NFL is a central component of ours. And, being a good structuralist (which I am NOT in reality), I expect my football to have the proper elements; and one of those - a HUGE one of those - is a compelling quarterback/team leader/inspirational figure. Someone to get behind. When that's missing, the story falls apart. None of the other elements - even an "aging star with killer toughness and down-to-earth charm" (read: Hines Ward) and a "young coach with a feel-good family story" (read: Mike Tomlin) can relate to each other in a way that makes sense, that coheres, that creates the comprehensible structure that is an NFL team worth cheering for.
At least not for me.
Admittedly, my grasp of structuralism sucks. That's me and lit. theory for you. But my contention remains firm: he killed the Super Bowl by killing the story that structures it. And of course I would think of things in terms of stories. Fiction MFA - duh . . . .
(It should be mentioned here that I have loathed him for years - long before the scandals, long before the official hate party commenced. He's a crybaby and a drama queen, though in a unique, non-primadonna way. I just want that on the record.)
As for the post title, these are my final thoughts b/c 1. I'm sick of talking/hearing about it even though, quite interestingly, I haven't talked/heard much about it at all, and 2. it's really, truly not worth any further discussion. See the abovementioned reasons.