He asked me if I ever watched professional wrestling. Yes, I admitted, “on TV when I just did not want to do or think of anything but zombie out.”
He asked me if I thought it was on the level. I laughed and said the matches were obviously scripted. He asked why I thought that. I said “they’re all somewhat predictable. The good guy wins in the end.” He asked, “how do they decide who is the good guy?” I responded “I’d guess it is based on who draws the best crowd, you know, who has the best following.”
He said did you ever see the crowds at those matches and how excited they become. I replied I was amazed how they really get into the matches cheering and booing all the time. “Sort of like professional football,” he said.
He explained how in professional wrestling he observed the matches seem to always follow the same script. The good guy starts off pretty well fending off his opponent who seems to be totally at the mercy of the good guy, then out of the blue the opponent comes alive. He starts to prove himself the equal of the good guy, then he gains the upper hand. Finally when it looks like the good guy is just about to lose and there is no chance for him, suddenly, at the last-minute the good guy miraculously reverses things, does some great moves, quickly gains the upper hand and manages to beat the opponent.”
Yes, I said, it reminded me of the old serial movies I watched as a kid at St. Monica’s. At the end of every session it looked like it was the end of the hero but the next week he’d have suddenly recovered. He replied, “it’s a time honored tradition, the young pretty heroine tied to the railroad tracks stuff.”
He said, “When you see that in wrestling don’t you think if the good guy could suddenly come back like that he should have used his great moves earlier to do it. I agreed but then it wouldn’t be entertainment. He said “absolutely, it’s show business.”
He asked if that script reminded me of any other sports event. I said I couldn’t think of it. He said: “You don’t recognize the same script happens in the NFL especially with the Patriots. They’re always down near the end but then miraculously win.” I said that seems to be the case. He said, “Isn’t it obvious to you that if they could do it at the end they could have done it throughout the game?” I admitted that I did wonder about that.
He then asked me if I noticed that the owners of professional wrestling were the same as the owners of the NFL. I said didn’t think that was the case. He said “I don’t mean the same people but of the same mentality. They’re in show business. They want to put on the event that would have the greatest draw. They’re all about money. They want to arrange the games that would put the most money in their pockets. They were even against gambling until they got a cut.” I said “If you are suggesting the NFL is not on the level, that it is like professional wrestling, I don’t believe that.”
Being an old friend he took a liberty and said: “You’re stupider than I thought.” I let it pass. He said “don’t you think it unusual the Patriots are in the Super Bowl almost every year and happen to attract the best audience in the NFL?” I said I thought that was Dallas or Green Bay. He laughed. He picked up a paper and read: “Based on the average total impressions of Tweets surrounding each game telecast, the New England Patriots were the most dominant team in the NFL from a social standpoint.” He added: “That’s where the money is, social media.”
Listen he said, “Tom Brady age 41 is the Hulk Hogan of the NFL. He’s loved and hated. A guaranteed draw. Sixty–six-year-old Bill Belichick’s an old guy but the best coach ever. Who do you want competing against them if you want the biggest audience? You want newcomers! You want the new vs the old. The 33-year-old kid coach vs the 66-year old, old guy coach. The young quarterback vs the old-timer. The future vs the past.
Where would you find that? Not in the New Orleans Saints. A 55-year-old coach and 40-year-old Drew Brees as quarterback. What about the Los Angeles Rams with the 33-year-old coach and 24-year-old quarterback”
“Nonsense,” I said. “They don’t set up games for the best entertainment value.” ”
He said, “I told you that you were stupid. Did you see the NFC championship game? Did you see the most obvious pass interference in the world which if called correctly would have given the Saints the win? Do you really believe all those officials missed it? If you buy that how would you like to buy the Brooklyn Bridge?”