Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Super Bowl Countdown: Four Days Left

Any publicity is good publicity.

So goes the old Madison Avenue adage. I was asked in the comments section yesterday if I thought all this Super Bowl activity was worth the hullabaloo. Well, I'm guessing that we're looking at this question from the vantage point of the locals and not the visitors. The natives have the most to lose from it and have to put up with the most crap. As a native myself, I see the legitimacy of this argument and have a reasoned response for it:

Oh, puhlease. Like you were doing anything else this week.

Even speaking as a non-football fan, I don't mind the inconvenience. Yes, traffic will be hell for four straight days, but it's just four days, people. As much as we like to bitch about backups on I-95, it seems to me that some of the traffic issues in bigger cities makes our tie-ups look like infrequent duck crossings. As for crowds, most of the visitors will be congregating downtown. On any other weekend, the number of people that have serious weekend social plans in the downtown area would probably fill a city bus, if that.

But there are other issues besides inconvenience. There is also the staggering amount of money being poured into this thing by the city. I don't need to acquaint everyone with the mayor's party line that all this money is an "investment". As I mentioned in the post about the new city slogan, most of the visitors coming here don't so much dislike Jacksonville as much as simply don't know anything about it. Despite a decade of NFL relevance with the Jaguars, we're still very much an anonymous city.

Will the Super Bowl solve all that? Iffy. Unless we commit some spectacular failure during the festivities, I imagine the event can only help us. Time will tell on any long term benefits.

As for anyone with continued gripes about all this money being funneled into something as trivial and inconsequential as a football game, I feel your pain. But in a culture where "Sports" gets its own newspaper section that often receives more attention than the Front Page, griping about the over-importance of football is so much beating your fists against a brick wall.

So, in my estimation, it's best to just sit back and enjoy the show. Not the game, mind you, but the spectacle of a city whipped up into an excited frenzy. Hey, beats Fear Factor any day.

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