On Fixing the Super Bowl and ‘Extreme’ Weather[email protected]
It is a sign of the times.
Another major sporting event: another slew of e-mails about whether the game was fixed.
For those who have missed it, last night’s Super Bowl, went down to the final minute. The Seattle Seahawks, down by several points to the New England Patriots, got the ball to the two-yard line. Normally, this is pretty much the equivalent of NFL trench warfare. The quarterback gives the ball to his most solidly-built colleague who charges into the opposition like a tank hitting a house. Instead, the Seahawks gambled on a surprise throwing play. It got intercepted. The Patriots won the Super Bowl. Cue a series of questions about whether the game was fixed.
A number of points:
One, I have revealed a series of fixed matches in major sporting events. However, I never speak/write about them unless I have firm evidence to suspect the matches were corrupted.
Two, I know next-to-nothing about the NFL or this particular Super Bowl.
Three, given the relative absence of black journalists covering the NFL– where a high percentage of the athletes are black – I am unsurprised that issues around the players are often missed (This is not to say that there are no black journalists, just far fewer than there should be).
However, I would point out that if someone is going to fix the Super Bowl they do not wait until the final minute of the game. Rather my interviews and statistical analysis show that fixes in the top sporting events get done early. A ‘blow-out’ game is far more suspicious, than a game that is decided at the last minute.
If you do not know how the news media works, you might think that North Americans have turned into a bunch of wimps.
The media headlines for the last two weeks have been histrionic: “massive snow falls”, “white outs”, “extreme cold”. Excited newscasters tell us that this is a terrible and unprecedented problem.
Actually, it sounds more or less like last January. Come to think, it sounds very much like the January before that. In fact, the description sounds like every winter in the North-Eastern United States and Canada for the last couple of millennia.
Why then all the headlines for what is normal weather?
Because the 24-hour news cycle, has to create a sense of perpetual, on-going ‘crisis’ to its viewers. Otherwise, they may do what sensible people have been doing for years when confronted with a winter storm: bundle up, turn on a good movie and enjoy the ‘snow’ day. (Other people, freaks like me, go out skiing or tobogganing). Whatever happens it means that the viewers are not watching their TV channels. So the news-media churns out a series of ‘Stormaggedon’ news blurbs. All of which makes you think, “Hmmm. This year’s ‘storm-of-the-century’ sounds little worse than last year’s ‘storm-of-the-century’.”
Ironically, the one good story that the news media do miss is why – despite year after year of severe weather – is our infrastructure so badly designed and maintained that millions of people are often left without power.