What If Millions Didn't Watch the Super Bowl as a Political Protest?

What If Millions Didn't Watch the Super Bowl as a Political Protest?


What If Millions Didn't Watch the Super Bowl as a Political Protest?

Since President Donald Trump took office, large-scale protests have taken place in American cities on two consecutive weekends. There is great discord, and it would be naive to think tensions will simmer rather than boil hotter in the coming days. There is no official leader of the resistance as disparate groups come together united by a mutual disdain. Efforts are underway to codify the opposition outside of Washington, DC. Those efforts are still in the infancy stage.

Those wishing to get attention would be greatly aided by a grand show of unification. And there is a big, fat, juicy opportunity out there asking to be seized upon. It’s an idea that, frankly, I’m surprised I haven’t seen gain much traction today.

“The Resistance” would draw even more mainstream attention by boycotting the Super Bowl. Turning off televisions en masse would get more people attuned to their cause. Those who are serious about sending a message should consider it.

There is no bigger event than the Super Bowl, and it is a key part of American culture. Ratings have hovered in the 46-47 range over the last six years. A drastic dip could not be ignored. Waking up to 32 or 33 would be reflective of an enormous portion of the populace willing to punt on the big game in the interest of bigger issues.

Clearly, the Super Bowl is not, at its heart, a political event. The NFL, Atlanta Falcons, and advertisers are not the object of derision here. Those in the anti-Trump faction could find reasonable grievances, however, with the New England Patriots’ Kraft-Belichick-Brady triumvirate and Fox, the network broadcasting the game. One can quibble with who would bear the brunt of such a protest and the potential for efficacy.

But, it’s hard to imagine an easier opportunity to prove a point presenting itself. Not watching the Super Bowl is a small thing every American opposing Trump could do. It doesn’t require one to leave their homes, to travel to a city center or even face a personal backlash. It’s a little thing that could become a big thing in the following days.

One advantage to a silent demonstration as opposed to a public one — which may very well materialize in Houston — is that it’s tougher to combat with visceral reactions. It’s tough to dismiss, say, a 25 percent drop in viewership to whiny liberalism or a Soros-related conspiracy. It’s tougher for detractors to ask why all these people don’t get jobs or suggest they didn’t vote in November’s election.

The Super Bowl is not a haven for the elite or left-leaning. In many ways, it is a true reflection of America that draws in cross-sections from all corners of the political spectrum. Contrast that with Meryl Streep’s comments at the Golden Globes, which were ripe for dismissal considering both the source and forum. The Super Bowl attracts a much different crowd and if a marked decline in viewership materialized, it’d be tougher to ignore.

Sometimes the quietest things speak the loudest.

The tumultuous political climate will be an undercurrent in this week’s Super Bowl activities. One can expect Brady and Belichick to be peppered with Trump-related questions. They won’t be the only one. There is great anticipation for Lady Gaga’s halftime performance and if it will include activism.

Suggesting that the American people at home use it as a political prop is not outrageous. Widespread tuning out would have very little negative impact while, at the same time, open the tent doors wide open for those who want to join the cause but have trepidations or uncertainty about where to start.

Of the available options (vocally or physically protesting, appealing to elected officials or letting their consumer behavior speak), abstaining from Sunday’s game is a low-risk prospect.

The Super Bowl stands alone in its ability to bring us together in a collective moment. Avoiding the Super Bowl this year could bring people together in collective movement.

Don’t be surprised if this idea gains traction as the week moves forward.

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