A Final Thought From Tampa ….

Dateline Tampa …

It’s a strange feeling as I wrap up Super Bowl week and head towards Super Sunday and the Steelers vs Cardinals. Here I am at the biggest party in America and there is nothing but bad news surrounding me. Every time I turn on the TV and watch local or cable news and each time I reach for the newspaper, I see it. It’s the grim economic news that is no longer shocking to the system.

Each day this week, while I have been asking Ben or Troy about Sunday’s game, there has been news of layoffs at major corporations. A few thousand here and a couple of thousand there. It adds up. At last check, nearly 100,000 people been laid off during the time I have been here in Tampa.

You also here the stories from other media members here. They talk about their companies where furloughs and firings have become the norm. It’s frightening to all of us because we really do not know if we will be the next one to be shown the door.

What makes it’s so difficult for me is that I hear this news every day before I go out and talk to athletes about a football game. Yes, the Super Bowl is important because it is the single biggest one-day sporting event in the world. That being said, whether Ben Roethlisberger will be nervous on Sunday matters little when compared with whether a father of four will be able to feed his kids. The Steelers drive for a sixth Lombardi Trophy pales in comparison with the fight for a small business to stay open.

Is it fair … or just … to have this exercise in excess amid these difficult economic times?

Sometimes I feel like Caesar fiddling while flames are burning all around me ( I think that is the narrative, correct me if I am wrong ). It’s just such a strange juxtaposition. Still, this is the Super Bowl and perhaps a chance for America to forget all its fears and anguish ,… if just for a few hours. For  the people of Pittsburgh, winning the game may not make their economic lives better, but it will make them happier …. perhaps until the recovery happens.

There will be a recovery, right?

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