Chris Johnson: Is anything more important than football?

February 9, 2014 

I don't think I've ever been as shocked as I was last Sunday. No, not because the Seahawks won the Super Bowl so easily but because Bob Dylan was pimping cars for Chrysler. Dylan a corporate sellout? What could be next? Prince guest-starring in a TV sit-com?

No, wait, that happened, too? Well, then I guess I wouldn't be surprised now if I saw a television ad that began: "Hi, I'm Rush Limbaugh, the new voice of NPR, and I'd like to tell you what you can do to fight climate change -- vote for my good friend Hillary Clinton. As I was telling my fifth spouse, Earl ..."

But there were things that were not so shocking about last Sunday -- that it seemed to take an hour to introduce the teams, sing the national anthem and flip a coin; that commercials were so overproduced you forgot what they were advertising (had to Google which car company Dylan was pimping); and that Ginger the Old English Sheepdog was named MVP of Puppy Bowl X. I saw that last one coming a mile away.

And the least shocking of all? The annual refrain from football haters that there are more important things than football and the Super Bowl. To which I say, "Duh!"

Of course, there are more important things than football: War. Cholesterol. Corporate welfare. The national debt. The melting Arctic. School shootings. Heroin. Male pattern baldness. Atlanta traffic. Cigarette littering. Volcanoes.

Yes, there are things more important than football. There are things more important than volcanoes. No matter what you feel is important, you can bet somebody thinks something else is more important. If you don't believe me, design a newspaper front page with a story about Harry Potter, football, Miley Cyrus or "American Idol" on it and brace yourself for hordes of people who wallow in seriousness all day long. You know, fun people.

I've never quite understood why people feel compelled to downplay things they don't care for. Just because you -- the self-appointed arbiter of all things important -- don't believe the Super Bowl is worth your time doesn't mean that someone else out there wouldn't enjoy a little distraction from those serious things in life.

I don't like opera, but I understand it requires amazing talent and don't say people going to the opera are wasting their night. I don't watch "American Idol," but it doesn't bother me if you do. I dislike today's rap music, but listen to it all you want -- although not at 120 decibels when I'm within earshot if you don't mind.

There's one group of football haters I tolerate, and it's those concerned about the head injuries. It's a problem, and it's a problem that likely will exist until they stop wearing the well-intentioned but counterproductive hard outer-shell helmets.

I don't mind those haters because that comes from concern for others instead of self-centeredness. But to take offense to the fact that others like something you don't -- and to take offense for that reason alone -- seems awfully self-centered. To roll your eyes or joke about it is one thing, but to become bitter about it is quite another.

Yes, some people elevate football to the level of a religion. Yes, it's dangerous. Yes, there are more important things in the world. Yes, that guy painted purple with his shirt off in the 20-degree weather is probably a drunken fool.

But, no, this isn't your problem.

Connect with Chris Johnson at

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