Questioning Authority: Lee Bowie on the Super Bowl

Questioning Authority tracked down Lee Bowie, dean of the College, philosophy professor, and die-hard football fan, to get his thoughts on this year’s Super Bowl.

QA: Why do so many people with no interest in football watch the Super Bowl?

LB: They watch to check out the ads. Some who truly don't understand football watch because they imagine that, being super, it will be the best of all football games. (True aficionados are much more interested in the divisional and conference championships.) And then there are some fine Super Bowl parties--often annoying to the true fan because some people are actually talking while the game is on.

QA: What's the significance of having two black coaches in this year's game?

LB: It is very welcome that the first two black head coaches ever to coach in the Super Bowl will both be in the same game--that spares us the media drama of Black vs. White. But important as this is symbolically, and as great an achievement and recognition it is for Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith, let's not be drawn into excessive self-congratulations. The NFL has had a dismal history of black coaches having access to head coaching positions; and in the top college ranks it is even worse.

QA: What are Super Bowl parties for?

LB: Super Bowl parties are for good food. They are for engendering an illusion that people are watching football. They are for aggravating real fans. They are for cheering loudly when something exciting happens--whether or not you saw it. They are for social critique of the ads, the ad industry, the media, the sports industry, sports, popular culture, TV. Oh, and they are for watching a football game.

QA: Who do you pick to win this year?

LB: I'm picking Indianapolis but I'm rooting for Chicago.

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