What happens off the field can tells us much about the state of our shared culture. You can call it “pop culture,” but today, all of American culture is pop culture. For a start, compare the most recent halftime performers — The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and last night, Beyoncé, with some of the performers at the first Super Bowls: Carol Channing, Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Herman, Charley Pride, Mercer Ellington (Duke’s son), Pete Fountain, and Al Hirt. Those early performers were grown-ups; today’s are perpetual adolescents.Or perhaps, it's product differentiation gone mad.
I remember when tattoos went from being the province of middle-aged men who had survived World War II and picked up a tat on the night before they hit the beach in Normandy, and began to be worn on the arms (or butts, in Cher’s case) of “transgressive” pop stars. That was in the late ’70s and early 1980s, thirty years ago.And yet, the trophies are named for such squares as George Halas and Vince Lombardi, and next season's game might reprise the conditions of the 1962 title game.