Football Fan Diplomacy

In the aftermath of the super bowl, Americans everywhere were focusing on Pete Carroll’s last second play call (which, to those of you who didn’t watch, led to an interception and the subsequent loss of the game.) This says more about American society, and all of western society, than some might like to admit.

America has turned into a nation of football fans. Not people who like football, but people who forget the entire context of a game, of any situation, to place the entirety of the blame or glory of a given outcome on one specific instance or person. With the Super Bowl, that instance was Pete Carroll’s play call that “cost the Seahawks the game”, but it’s the same phenomenon that pushes some liberals to blame Bush for all the world’s problems and some conservatives to do the same to Obama. The fact is, we don’t like to look deeper. We don’t like to think. We don’t like to analyze.

It’s a lot easier to forget every other time someone drops the ball, both literally and figuratively, so we can focus on the one drop, or dropper, we can discredit the most.

When college campuses across the world erupt in hate for Israel, it’s the same instinct, through which total context can be thrown out of the equation any time we feel something is outrageous enough The initial reactions “Pete Carroll didn’t run it to Marshawn Lynch. What an idiot!”, or, “Israel has a blockade on Gaza blocking humanitarian aid, how Evil!” aren’t hard to come by, and they originate from the tendency to judge prematurely. Rarer are the deeper and more legitimate judgements, which take the greatest possible context into account. How often do people analyze a full game or every player’s tendencies before they make a judgement on the final play? Similarly, how often do people protesting the blockade on Gaza analyze the complex realities of that blockade, how often do the criticisms of Obamacare address the policies within, and how often do those who blame Bush for the 2008 recession discuss any of his specific actions (or lackthereof) that led to the crash? Not too often. Usually, these criticisms are built on empty rhetoric that resonates with the audience but doesn’t use any sound reasoning whatsoever, because that’s people listen to. We don’t think logically; we think like football fans. We listen for key words and harp on them instead of thinking things through with an open mind.

Usually in life, it’s not simple. Play calls, politics, everything. Perhaps, If everyone took a deeper look into controversy before they stomped their feet in disagreement, we’d live in a smarter, better, and happier world.

About the Author
Jacob Gordon is the brother of an IDF officer and a high school student. He writes for his school's foreign affairs publication and is the president of both its Political Action and Controversial Ideas clubs.