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Hoopla, Hype and Hypocrisy

And now for the Super Bowl.
Bill Bidwill, inept, incompetent and insensitive, is the single clear reason Arizona has "won" the Super Bowl for 1993.

After two full seasons of play in Sun Devil Stadium, it was obvious to other National Football League owners that the Cardinals franchise was turning into a disaster for the entire league.

Bidwill brought his Cardinals to a place where people were willing to pay any amount to see a pro football game. Incredibly, he found a way to make them understand they were being gulled.

"My God," people screamed, "why in hell do you make these prices so high?"

Bidwill grinned: "Market research tells me you want us so bad you'll pay anything."

And so Bidwill set the ticket prices higher than any other in the league.

What did people get for that? They got a losing team. They got Gene Stallings doing bank commercials with his mother. They got seats in the 115-degree heat under the lethal weapon which is the broiling Arizona sun.

And they were told they were among the chosen few lucky enough to be able to see NFL football live. Marvelous. Bidwill had taken years to alienate St. Louis. He did it here in Arizona in just two seasons.

The news that Bidwill was on the verge of failing wouldn't bother the other owners if it didn't affect their own economic fortunes. Ownership in the NFL is a fraternity only in that they share television profits. The other owners recognize Bidwill as a schlemiel who would be unable to run a pizza parlor on his own. Some people are handed silver spoons. Bidwill was handed an NFL franchise.

The other owners have simply attempted to bail him out by handing him the Super Bowl. They saw the handwriting on the wall. If the Cardinals tickets sales kept falling, their share of the visitors' take would shrink to the infinitesimal.

What better way to shore up a shattered franchise than to hand it a Super Bowl date?

The Super Bowl is, I suppose, an interesting spectacle if your taste runs in the direction of bread and circuses. But it has seen better days. It no longer qualifies as either an outstanding visual spectacle or an event with social panache.

One thing is certain. The local dailies will pound the greatness of this achievement into our psyche virtually every day until THE GAME finally has been played.

By that time, I guarantee that everyone in Arizona will never want to read the words "Super Bowl" again.

The matter of the holiday honoring the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. will be an instructive exercise in hypocrisy.

But I can see how the local bigots can swallow the potion. After all, Johannesburg freed Nelson Mandela from prison after thirty years for business reasons.

Arizona can stoop to conquer by doing the same thing. The other NFL owners have simply attempted to bail Bidwill out by handing him the Super Bowl.

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Tom Fitzpatrick