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The Tax & Frisk Bowl

3:10 PM, Feb 3, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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Can the Giants front-four get to Brady and—as the fastidious football locution puts it—disrupt his timing? That is to say...pound him into wet, pink pulp.

Pats Giants

Multitudes will be watching Sunday night to learn the answer to this and other questions that the Super Bowl exists to ask and then, millions upon millions of dollars and tons of avocado dip later, to answer.

There are so many questions to be answered in Indianapolis . . . wait a minute, did you say Indianapolis?

Man, that’s just wrong.

While the Super Bowl isn’t a national holiday, it ought to be. And as such, it should be held in the most hedonistic venue possible, every year. That would be New Orleans. No other American city does a better job of celebrating excess. None even comes close. And the Super Bowl isn’t really a game—not merely a game, anyway—but a festival. And, more precisely, an American festival. The Super Bowl carries so much cultural freight that some soreheads make an ostentatious point of holding anti-Super Bowl parties during the game. Nobody holds anti-World Series, or anti-Wimbledon, or anti-March Madness parties. No point. Those are just sports events, and you watch or you don’t. The Super Bowl is different.

Which accounts for some of the legends that have grown up around the game. There is that exercise in male-bashing malice that has the incidence of spousal abuse spiking dramatically on Super Bowl Sunday. No proof exists to back this one up. But it is true, apparently, that more pizzas are delivered on Super Sunday than on any other day of the year. The one about municipal sewer systems being overloaded and crashing during halftime is not true, though there was a single suspicious case where the event was determined to be coincidental. So fans can safely head for the bathroom during halftime of this year’s game. Many will, considering the oceans of beer that will have been consumed during the first half.

Speaking of halftime, Madonna is doing the entertainment this year, which keeps alive one of the worst Super Bowl “traditions”: namely, overamped productions by over-the-hill “superstars.” In this century, halftime could have been sponsored by the AARP. Featured entertainers have included Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, the Who and, now, Madonna, who has promised, mercifully, to keep her clothes on. She has also gotten into the spirit of the thing by vowing to play hurt. Seems she has a hamstring injury. A bad hammy has done in many great football players but at gametime, Madonna is listed as probable.

So at the half, head for the john.

Since nothing in America these days can escape the poisoned hands of the genius financiers who gave us such gifts as the "credit default swap,” this year’s game will cost the taxpayers of Indianapolis money. The stadium in which the game will be played was supposed to be a great economic boon to the city but...well, not so much.

According to a Bloomberg story, “local officials [needed] to raise hotel, restaurant, and rental car taxes, and make other payments on top of about $43 million in unexpected financing costs related to their sports and convention facilities.”

Who knew Franklin Raines was a football fan?

In another development, the Department of Homeland Security has taken upon its broad and capable shoulders full responsibility for making sure the game is terrorism-free. This would be the same outfit that recently conducted surprise searches of passengers at a train station in Savannah, Georgia. The passenger were getting off the train so, if the pattern holds, people leaving the stadium on Sunday should not be surprised if they are pulled out of line and patted down. Can’t be too careful.

To enhance security at the stadium, the DHS has trained hot dog vendors to watch for telltale signs of terrorist activity while asking, “You want mustard on that?” The stadium has been personally inspected by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napalitano, who is ultimately responsible for the frisking of thousands of octogenarians in wheel chairs every year. She didn’t find any terrorists.

It is probably foolish to wonder why the government felt it necessary to provide security for an event sponsored by the National Football League, probably the most efficient outfit in the land. Left to its own devices, the NFL would likely have hired some former SEALs, scattered them around the stadium, paid them in season tickets to their favorite teams’ games and been done with it. Instead, under government arrangements, security will be provided by a crack team of hot dog vendors.

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