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This One’s “Chiefly” in the Bag: TNR Editors Talk Super Bowl LVIII

Michael Tomasky and Alex Shephard on Taylor and Travis, Tony Romo, Colin Kaepernick, John Madden, Joe Paterno, Tommy Tuberville—and, you know, the game

Illustration by The New Republic

Today brings a special-edition Tomaskycast, wherein I jaw with senior editor and writer Alex Shephard about the Super Bowl. Well, when we say Super Bowl, we mean that in the meta sense—you know, the whole scene, the game as a pop-cultural (and this year, for insane reasons, political) event. We talk about what it is about Taylor Swift that makes Greater Wingnuttia seethe. We discuss the broader politics of football as spectacle. We weigh in on the great Tony Romo controversy, who will be Sunday’s color announcer. We take strolls through football broadcasting history and through the history of the Super Bowl itself.

I grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia—oddly enough a Chiefs fan, for two reasons: one, I was pro-AFL, which was the antiestablishment choice then (yep, even when I was 8); two, I liked their uniforms, which it pleases me to say have barely changed since those days. Shephard was born and raised in the Rochester, New York, area and was thus sensibly and responsibly a fan of the Buffalo Bills. He is, fortunately, not quite old enough to have a living, searing memory of those four consecutive humiliating Super Bowl losses in the early 1990s.

When it comes to football, well, we sort of know what we’re talking about. We both picked the same team to win, and by nearly identical scores, and for pretty similar reasons.