At 8am on Monday of last week I was getting ready for work in the gym locker room.  As usual, I was putting on my clothes while half talking to some of the other guys and half listening to the television mounted on the far wall.  Usually the TV, set to ESPN, is hosting a 3-5-way argument about which sports teams are going to win that week or what caused a team to lose or win.

This day was no different.

Three gentlemen were furiously arguing about the events of the previous night’s event.  Just as I was tying the laces on my shoes, one of the sportscasters began a long-winded tirade about “unforced errors” and how you can’t expect to get elected if you make so many mistakes.

Wait, what?  Elected?

I looked up from my shoes and after 15 minutes of listening to the television discovered that someone had changed the television channel to NBC.  The three ‘sportscasters’ I heard arguing were really political pundits talking about the republican primary debates.  They made so many sports analogies and they argued just like the sportscasters on ESPN that I actually thought they were talking about sports!

This was quite an epiphany for me – sports, especially football, are some of the most popular television events around.  Every year networks make hundreds of millions of dollars off advertising during sporting events.  It’s obvious why NBC would want to turn this:

into this:

The more we make politics like sports, the more people will get interested in politics.  The more people who are interested in politics, the more people will watch politics and the more advertising dollars will go to the TV networks – everyone wins, right?

The only problem is that sports, by nature, are based on adversarial events.  There are two teams and there is always one winner and one loser.  No one has ever proposed that two football teams put aside their differences and work together toward a common goal.

Happy super bowl Sunday!

Unforced Errors