Saturday, February 05, 2011

Location, Location, Location

For once, I feel sorry for Jerry Jones. The owner of the Dallas Cowboys must have his innards turning to molten stone in humiliation that the Super Bowl he brought to Texas has turned into an unmitigated flop as a social event, which is about 50 percent of the event's reason for being (35 percent is unleashing new TV commercials on the country's largest mass audience, with the remainder being the relatively trifling matter of determining the champion of the National Football League).

Ice and snow have paralyzed the Dallas metropolitan area, making tourism and partying a life-threatening affair. Worse yet, the weather has crippled service at DFW airport, meaning fans and rich people can't even get to Dallas to try and party. Worst of all, Cowboys Stadium, Jones' monument to himself, has starting trying to kill people, injuring five soon to be litigious people yesterday when ice slid off the roof.

All this has led to Super Bowl XLV having the least amount of Super hype of any Bowl I can remember, and I remember them all. When sportswriters can't find anything more interesting to cover than the commissioner, that's a boring Super Week. When the Superest scandal is one team's quarterback being caught singing Billy Joel songs at a piano bar, well, that's just pathetic, and the ghosts of Max McGee and John Matuszak are either mocking the NFL or weeping for it.

Too bad for Jones. Too bad for the NFL. Really too bad for the Packers and Steelers. Super Week is a football team's moment in the sun, and they didn't get any. But realistically, Dallas' flop on the Super Bowl stage was as predictable as stupid questions on Media Day. If it hadn't been the bad weather, it would have been some other cause of failure. Dallas didn't pass what in all modesty I call the Michael Gee Test For Neutral Sites

The Gee Test is simplicity itself. Is the city (or country, counting the World Cup) where a neutral site sports event to be held one where a person of sound mind would consider spending their own money to visit on a vacation? If the answer is yes, the event is more than halfway to success. If it's no, the event will fail, and the people in charge are chuckleheads for selecting that burg/pesthole failed state.

So for Super Bowls, it's yes to Miami, New Orleans and San Diego, no to Dallas, Detroit and Indianapolis. For Olympics, it's yes to London, Barcelona and even Beijing, and a big WTF to Atlanta. For the World Cup, it's "let's go!" to Brazil and "let's go see if we can get all of FIFA mental health help" for Qatar.

Let the record show that I have been to every city that's held a Super Bowl on business trips, and for business trips, they're all fine destinations. People who live there like them fine, and they should know. But business and pleasure are not the same thing, and the misbegotten selections of Dallas, Indianapolis, and, oddest of all, suburban north Jersey as Super Bowl sites shows that the NFL owners, most of whom are very smart, and all of whom regard themselves as excellent businessmen, are in the grip of a serious memory malady, one that could blow their enterprise up as surely as the notion housing prices always go up blew up the world's banks.

These men have forgotten that their business is providing other people's pleasure.


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