There! I beat you to it! Anything that does not blindly follow and celebrate plutocratic capitalism is labeled socialism by some. Deal with it.
Yes, we have been told ad nauseam about the millions of dollars it costs for a 30-second ad during the broadcast of the Super Bowl. We know about the billion-dollar new stadium in Dallas. We know about the wealthy owners, the celebrities in attendance at the game, the huge expense involved in presenting the National Anthem and half-time show at the Super game, and on and on and on. Money, money, money. We get it. But there are other stories to tell.
Lost in all these greed-capitalism stats is another, less-commercial story. It is about the two cities whose teams were in the Big Show. Pittsburgh and Green Bay. Both cities were built through the hard work of people belonging to labor unions. Yes, labor unions. You can still write that in America. When the big corporations abandoned these areas for cheaper labor (sometimes slave labor) in the southern U.S. and foreign countries, both cities struggled to get back on their feet. And they have. But these two teams play a tough, hard-nosed, lunch-pail type of game. Hard work is not foreign to them.
Who won? The city whose entire population could fit inside that stadium in Texas. The team that survived an amazing number of injuries to key players. The little city that could.
Some of Green Bay's personnel overcame more than injuries. Clay Matthews had a tough time even making the starting team in college. Donald Driver wasn't picked in the NFL draft until the 7th round. And the guy selected as the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player, Aaron Rodgers, has played an almost Shakespearean sports life role.
Out of Chico, California, no major college was interested in Rodgers. So he went to play quarterback at Butte, Montana, Junior College. The Packers drafted him out of the University of California, an overlooked player by many teams. He sat on the bench in Green Bay, quietly waiting for the legendary Brett Favre to retire. He was quiet. Called upon for just a couple of plays in those years, he seemed injury-prone, showing no flashes of star potential. Then Favre left Green Bay, and Rodgers quietly stepped into this hostile environment. Many Favre loyalists even blamed Rodgers unfairly. He showed a steadiness, and became a team leader. And now, this quiet athlete, sits on top of the world.
Perhaps more amazing, is the story of the Green Bay Packers football franchise itself. Unlike just about 100% of pro sports franchises, the Packers are not owned by some egocentric billionaire who wants to play with toys and has the money to throw at it to have the best toys. Uniquely, the Green Bay Packers are owned by the public. Common people have purchased shares in the team, never to receive a dividend, just the honor of being a tiny owner of a storied franchise. Take a bow, garage mechanic, stand proudly, housewife, brandish your stock certificate, letter carrier, let everyone see your framed ownership certificate, factory worker. This is a proud and unique moment in sports history. The common men and women who own the Green Bay Packers have done something that today is unheard of in the U.S.: they have met the greed and selfishness of all other franchises, and won it all! Yes, it still can happen in America. Much as been stolen from the common men and women of America. The average Joe and Jane have been shut out in many areas by the wealthiest people in the U.S. This is a shining moment, a moment to celebrate the ownership of common people. There is still time. Let us all learn from this game. Sports can still teach you about democracy, fairness, equality. I thought it was all gone. I was wrong. Celebrate the people!