Commentary: Watch a certain television network right now or listen to sports talk on the radio and you’ll be hearing something about a really big professional football game that’s coming up.
It will be featuring the football version of the old and hated New York Yankees today known as the New England Patriots against a team that just recently moved to Los Angeles known as the Rams. Actually, to be historically accurate they are the Cleveland-Los Angeles-Anaheim-St. Louis-Los Angeles Rams. In a few more years? Who knows where they’ll call home.
It’s become something of a tradition for many millions of Americans to stock up on lots of food that’s not always the healthiest to eat and beverages that aren’t the healthiest to drink and have a great big party on the day of this spectacle. Amazingly, a whole lot of people don’t even watch the game for the football but are glued to their big-screens for the commercials. They actually look forward to commercials. Even the most energetic advertising execute years ago couldn’t see that coming.
As for the game itself, there’s a new wrinkle this year. One of the teams - the Rams - should not even be playing in this game. Instead, it should be the New Orleans Saints.
As any pro football fan anywhere in the entire world knows right now, the Rams were beneficiaries of the most obviously wrong and awful official’s call in the history of the game. There have been other awful calls over the years. But not many, if any, official’s ruling ever directly resulted in keeping the deserving team out of a championship game and allowing an imposter to get in. Even players on the Rams made statements about how bad this call was.
The classy Saints team and their fans have been amazingly adult about all this. Though bitterly disappointed, they are showing a maturity that is rarely seen these days. In Louisiana and the Gulf South, they love their Saints. Really love them. This team has been adopted deeply into their culture as much as riverboats on the Mississippi River and beignets and King Cakes. They see this team as Family.
When this Big Game between the Pats and Rams is finally over, some group of sweaty and smiling faces will be hoisting an oversized trophy high over their heads beaming
with joy. The League and TV network will get their usual huge television rating. The advertisers will get their money’s worth even with overpaying for their commercial time.
What won’t be happening is an amazing group of athletes usually dressed in Black and Gold with a Fleur-De-Lis on their helmets playing in a game they deserved to be in. Instead, they’ll be at home or away somewhere still staring off into space wondering how this could have happened to them. Some of them will think about next year to ease their pain.
So if you choose to watch this Big Game that everyone is talking about please give the Saints and their wonderful fans a thought too. Somewhere, at some time in your life you have been where the New Orleans Saints and their fans are today. You have been wronged. And you know how they feel.
We can be bigger winners in life in the right way we handle bad things when we’re wronged. We can be a bigger winner in the much bigger game of real life than anyone can ever be playing in a football game.