James Lawton: Super Bowl build-up like a slick military operation

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The Independent Online

En route to George Bush Airport in Houston, and Super Bowl XXXVIII, the question is why?

Why celebrate an event so steeped in militarism that a few years ago pre-game entertainment included a fly-past by a Stealth bomber? And if you're going to do it, why choose a year when the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers have made it with such bone-crushing negativity that the big game is being billed as a demonstration of "Homeland Defense".

While coaching in North America something known as football in the rest of the world, John Giles was asked for his appraisal of the gridiron. The great midfielder said: "It really is astonishing in its speed and athleticism, but I'm afraid no game so dependent on the instructions of the coaches can call itself great. You need a little more originality from the top players to claim that."

The old French soldier Marshal Foch was more positive, saying: "Mon Dieu, this game has everything, it's like war."

Cue the Stealth bomber. But also give the speeding behemoths their due. They shake the earth with their competitive intensity. And no one can ever remember seeing one of them take a dive.