Paul Jacob

Something must be done — and now, on Super Bowl Sunday, before it's too late. The threat is not Al Qaeda. Not illegal aliens, bug-eyed aliens, or even global warming. It's far more subtle and insidious, infecting the very fabric of the heartland. The threat is halftime.

Halftime? Yes. It is growing like a cancer, taking over the game we love.

A normal person might not notice this, but I'm not normal. My football fanaticism could be viewed as an obsession. I get chills when I hear the Notre Dame fight song. I bleed Arkansas Razorback red. I can whistle the Alabama fight song (and don't even like the team). I still can't believe the Colts lost . . . in 1969. Soldier Field shines for me as a sacred shrine. I view Owen Field in Norman, Oklahoma, as a Texan views the Alamo — with honored reverence. I suppress the urge to pull over and watch any pick-up football game I drive past. My perfect Friday night is staying at home and watching the high school game on cable access. And yes, I cry at the movie Rudy. (Well, that might not be true. But if I were more "in touch with myself" I no doubt would.)

Still, whether you're a fanatic or a casual fan, our beloved football is being hijacked by alien forces upstaging the game itself.

It started innocently enough. A few well-meaning musicians wanting to support the teams in the style of a military band. But even that doesn't make sense. There's just no need to march. Playing a musical instrument is a precise and delicate talent. Marching just adds nonsensical difficulty to an already difficult activity. Do we ask doctors to swim while performing surgery? Artists to windsurf while painting? Cheerleaders to perform regression analysis while forming the pyramid?

Unfortunately, it didn't stop with the marching band. The rigamarole has become so complex that most of us wouldn't be shocked to see an on-field séance resurrect Ed Sullivan only to introduce David Copperfield to make football forever disappear from view.

And are we really so starved for entertainment that we can't go a few moments without some no-talent has-been fresh out of rehab banging out an alleged song that you've already heard too many times through your car window at the nearest intersection?

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.