As you’re likely aware, the first Sunday in February is the date of the annual Super Bowl. For the uninformed, that’s the final NFL (National Football League) game of the season, between AFC (American Football Conference) champions and NFC (National Football Conference) champions.
This year’s game in Miami was the 54th since the Super Bowl began. For the non-Roman numeral aficionados among us, that number looks like this: LIV. Next year’s game, the 55th, will be LV.
For a number of years, Terry and I have watched the first half of the game at the beautiful west Austin home of my first cousin, Dick Rathgeber. Dick and Sara are gracious hosts who entertain 150 or so of their nearest and dearest friends at their annual Super Bowl party. Our friend Dr. John Mehl, executive director of Mission of Christ Network, joined us. With Dick’s blessing.
To facilitate guests’ conversation, the numerous TVs around the house were muted. So we watched the game, with no audio, and the $5.5 million dollar per 30 second commercials, also muted.
At halftime we thanked our hosts and drove home to fast forward through the first half of the game, which we had already seen, and to play the commercials, which had been seen but not heard. We decided to skip the halftime program, to watch and listen to the second half of the game and the second half commercials, in order to get to bed at a God-pleasing hour.
The next night, Terry and I decided to watch the halftime show. It featured a duo of popular performers, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. I had heard from ladies at the office that the show consisted of a lot of Latin music, writhing, jiggling, and other sexually suggestive movements.
They were correct. And slightly understated. The word “debauchery” comes to mind.
Debauchery is a term defined by the following synonyms: wickedness, sin, depravity, corruption, decadence, iniquity, wantonness, immorality, shamelessness, licentiousness, impiety, self-indulgence, intemperance, hedonism. Some of those terms are stronger than others, providing a bit of leeway when they are used. And not all of them are accurately descriptive of the Super Bowl halftime show. But some of those words tell the story.
The gyrations of the two headliners, with poles and ropes, and of the groups of male and female dancers accompanying them, were not just a little over the top. That’s especially true considering the prime time audience watching, which surely included children, some of whom actually participated on stage with their scantily attired “role models” leading the way.
Our children and grandchildren will be exposed to debauchery soon enough, and maybe already have been. But it shouldn’t be coming into their own living room. From their family television. Before their bedtime. National Football League, I think you can do better than prime time debauchery!