Tonight the number 1 watched program every year will air.  Superbowl 49 features the Seahawks verses the Patriots.  Every year, the week before the Superbowl it becomes a media frenzy for football fans.  Just about every angle is examined between the two teams.  The dissect offenses and defenses.  Former football players explain why one team is better than the other.  They determine what they believe are the keys to the game and they even employ computer programs to help determine the outcome of the Superbowl. 
However, this year the two biggest stories donít seem to be what is going to happen on the field tonight, but rather what has happened on the field in recent weeks.  During the AFC championship game it was determined that the New England Patriots were using deflated footballs.  According to league rules the pressure in the football is to be set at a certain range.  Of the 12 footballs each QB is permitted to choose before the game, 11 of them were found to be more than 2 pounds short.  At half time the balls were switched out and the Patriots went on to demolish the Indianapolis Colts.  What transpired was a clear rules violation.  While the NFL is still investigating how the balls become deflated, who did the deflating and who knew about the deflating of the footballs it has left many to ask the question, so what?  It is not like the Colts had a fighting chance in that game.  In fact, it was actually a closer game when the deflated balls were being used.  The issue is that this is not the first time that the Patriots, and current head coach, Bill Belichek have been caught/accused of cheating.  Ten years ago they were caught videotaping the sidelines of their opponents trying to steal the signals.  I even heard one ex-Patriots player claim that it was no different than trying to steal signs in baseball.  The problem with that is that in baseball it is also a rules violation; or more simply put, it is cheating.  I even heard this past week that Belichek is always looking for an edge.  No, he may not need that edge in every game (like the AFC championship game) but great coaches are always looking for ways to make their teams even better.  I then heard the same talking head say that what the Patriots did was just that and therefore okay.  If the team knowingly deflated the footballs then they cheated.  Plain and simple.  It is not getting an edge.  It is getting an unfair advantage over another team by living outside the rules.
The other story that has been making its way through the media concerns the Seattle Seahawks running back, Marshawn Lynch. As far as running backs are concerned I donít think there is a more talented running back.  The man has earned the moniker ďBeastmodeĒ because of his ferocious downhill running style.  In an age when people seem to love having their picture taken Lynch is a breath of fresh air.  He absolutely hates being interviewed.  He doesnít like the spot light and would prefer his voice be what happens on the field.  However, his on field antics as of late have led to fines.  In the last two games he has performed obscene gestures while/after scoring touchdowns.  His on field voice is crude, rude and unbecoming of anyone.
Why does any of this matter?  Why would I take the time to write about the Superbowl?  Because tonight more than 100 million people will tune in to watch the Superbowl.  Many of them children who either are currently or hope to play football someday.  To these kids, what happens tonight will be memorial.  Over the next several weeks you will have some of them running touchdowns in their backyards pretending to run people over just like Marshawn Lynch.  They will be throwing touchdown passes just like Tom Brady.  Children make heroes out of these people.  They want to grow up to be just like them.  I know because I was one of these children.  I wanted to be Dan Hampton wreaking havoc in the backfield.  I wanted to be Earl Campbell,  the human wrecking ball, blasting through the defensive line as I ran for yet another TD.  I wanted to be Mike Ditka, the greatest TE to ever play the game.  Sure, I grew out of it and put the football down for a bible.  But if these young kids grow up watching their heroes cheating what do you think that is going to encourage them to do?  If these young children grow up watching their heroes behave rudely, crudely, and unbecomingly what do you think they will grow up doing?
I am not saying donít watch the game.  Enjoy it for what it is.  But be certain that you give you children a real hero.  Teach them to be like John.  Teach them to be like David.  Teach them to be like Ruth or Esther. 

-WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
 
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Super Bowl Heroes

The Light
Volume 6 Issue 8