There is probably more interest in NFL Football and the college farm teams that it depends on than in any other single thing in the United States of America. And a significant proportion of the population really cares about and has some basic understanding of what is going on there.
The Wall Street Journal Sports Page (Yes, there is just one page.) today features an article about the existence of high-level video coverage of the entire field for the entire game for all NFL games. It is known as the “All-22” footage and is available only to NFL insiders. The only thing the public ever sees is the close-in shots of plays in action. Former head coach Bill Parcells is quoted: “I don’t think you can get a full understanding without watching the entirety of the game. The zoomed-in footage on TV broadcasts only shows a fragment of what happens on the field. Without watching the All-22, analyzing football is impossible.”
The first thing that popped into my mind while reading the article was that what we need is All-536 coverage of what is going on in Washington DC. Even that wouldn’t be enough considering how the power of the executive branch has expanded with the tendency toward passage of license-to-kill legislation and appointment of executive branch czars with almost unlimited power to interpret and implement such legislation.
And of course the Washington DC scene is slightly more complex than an NFL game and has no geographical boundaries so such broad and comprehensive coverage is pretty much an impossible dream. The NFL has the advantage of professional observers who really do understand the game and know how to interpret the full coverage. Few if any have the ability to achieve such understanding of what is going on in the Federal Government. One thing we can be sure of though: It is one giant interactive system and every thing that happens affects everything else.
So, with the combination of ignorance and complexity reigning, we have to be satisfied with close-ups of something Herman Cain might or might not have done fifteen years ago and whether Mitt Romney is currently in flip mode or flop mode while the current leaders fiddle away their time and our economy while raising money and campaigning for the next election.
Maybe if we had just a single “National Politics” Page instead of the 24/7 frantic news cycle, we could get to some big picture views, shovel out the trivia, and develop some common understanding of what is going on.
But maybe not, since the ignorance and apathy absent from NFL activity seem to be predominant in matters of national governance except when the political equivalent of recruiting and drafting are underway. And even then it is mostly apathy, a welcome companion to ignorance, that wanes.