1. I hate the Super Bowl. I’ve said this a few times recently on the SI Media With Jimmy Traina podcast, but, for me, the NFL season ends when the second conference championship game is over.
The game itself is fine, except for the fact that it’s played at a neutral field. I don’t understand why every single game of the season is played in one of the participating teams’ home stadiums, but then that changes for the biggest game of the season, but I digress. It’s everything surrounding the game that I hate.
The Super Bowl is a spectacle. I just care about the game. But the spectacle is filled with nonsense. That’s what happens when you have 80 million people who don’t care about football deciding that they are going to watch the final game of the season. Sunday Night Football on NBC is the most-watched show on television. It generates just about 20 million viewers each week. More than 100 million people will watch the Super Bowl on Fox this Sunday.
So on Sunday, you’ll have 80 million people in front of their TVs or computers or whatever device they choose to watch stuff on mainly there for the commercials and Rihanna’s halftime show. That’s fine. Super Bowl Sunday isn’t as much of a problem as the lead-up to the game.
This week is filled with so many terrible things. I will now list those things.
• Media night: NFL fans finally seem to have realized that media night is a big waste of time, because I saw as little coverage of it this morning as ever before. Once social media came around, media night became a thing people used in hopes of going viral. It’s fun when spontaneous things go viral. When preplanned stunts go viral, it’s dumb. All you need to know about media night this year is that someone asked Eagles coach Nick Sirriani if Sunday’s game was a must-win.
• The Madden simulation: Every year, Madden simulates the Super Bowl and for some reason, media outlets cover the results like they mean anything. The Madden simulation is 1–4 in predicting the winner over the past five Super Bowls and 5–6 over the past 11. I don’t know why this is a thing.
• Having to call it “Big Game” instead of “Super Bowl”: I still don’t fully understand the law surrounding this one, but it irritates me to no end when I’m watching a show on the Food Network and the hosts have to say, “Here are some snacks you can make for your Big Game party,” because they’re worried about being hit with legal action by the NFL.
Heck, the NFL has even threatened to sue churches that have promoted Super Bowl parties.
• Commercials being released early: I don’t care about commercials. Even Super Bowl commercials. But I can’t deny that Super Bowl commercials are a massive attraction for many people. However, all the new commercials are now released on the internet before Sunday, thus ruining the excitement and anticipation of seeing them during the game.
• Radio row: If you’re a sports-talk radio listener, this is just a brutal week. Every show becomes an interviewfest, and 95% of athletes say absolutely nothing during those interviews. In addition, every show has the same guest who is there to just pitch a product. It’s just a big conveyer belt and doesn’t serve the listener at all. This piece by The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis (who is also a frequent SI Media guest) is the perfect summation of radio row.
• People who don’t watch football asking you who you think is going to win the Super Bowl: I get this is supposed to be a conversation starter, but when you don’t even know the two teams playing in the game, don’t ask me this question.
• Two weeks off in between Championship Sunday and Super Bowl Sunday: All this does is prolong all the nonsense described above.
2. Despite my beef with Super Bowl week, the reality is the NFL can do anything it wants. The NFL runs this country. This is not breaking news. What is breaking news, though, is this phenomenal piece of content from the Le Batard Show about the NFL's dominance.
3. Speaking of the NFL’s dominance, more than 6 million people (6.2 to be exact) watched a flag football game involving NFL players Sunday afternoon. The Stanley Cup finals last year averaged 4.5 million viewers.
4. Phil Simms not knowing what a “thirst trap” is = amusing.
5. I want to follow up on something from a couple of weeks ago. I wrote about Michele Tafoya making some disgusting comments about Lisa Guerrero and asked you guys to let me know whether you want me to give the attention seekers in media the attention they crave. I was overwhelmed by the amount of you who responded. It took me back to my Hot Clicks days when my readers communicated with me via email instead of social media.
It’s no secret that we’re a divided country right now and that was even the case with this little experiment. I received more than a hundred responses, and the results were split right down the middle. So I’ll just take things on a case-by-case basis going forward. Many of you had very thoughtful responses, and I appreciate it.
6. This week’s SI Media With Jimmy Traina features a conversation with ESPN legend Chris Berman.
Berman talks about anchoring ESPN’s Super Bowl postgame coverage each year, why NFL Primetime is still so beloved, offers he had to leave ESPN over the years and whether any athletes ever complained about the nickname he gave them.
We also discuss the best sports studio shows of all time, the NFL getting so deep into the betting world, why the NFL even thinking about playing the AFC and NFC title games at neutral sites is a terrible idea and more.
Following Berman, Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV in New York joins Jimmy for their weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. This week, Jimmy and Sal discuss why NFL rules analysts on TV are annoying, the Chiefs-Eagles Super Bowl, Sal getting recognized at an NHL game, Jimmy’s mom getting into a Facebook tiff and much more.
You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify and Google.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: You have to be a really old-school WWF fan to appreciate this, but if you are, you will love it.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.