Schieffer: The Great Value Of Sports

1500x1125 2003/9/29 #834754: Soldier Field during Chicago Bears football game, photo
AP Photo
Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

News can be broken into two parts, what people NEED to know and what they WANT to know.

We usually concentrate on the news we believe you need to know. The Super Bowl on the other hand is big news that millions upon millions of Americans WANT to know. Since someone had to do it, we volunteered to help tell the story.

(Now how's that for a high minded excuse for being here?)

For sure, the Super Bowl has become an institution, as much a part of American life as the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving — even a factor in the national economy.

For all of that, for all the hype, whatever happens here doesn't really matter, and to me that is the best part.

We worry, we bet the office pool, we cheer. We analyze and agonize. But in the end, nations will neither rise nor fall because of what happens here. Soldiers will not die. Disease will neither spread nor be cured.

Some years back a weird Dallas Cowboy running back named Duane Thomas put it in some perspective when he said, "If this is the ultimate game, why are they playing it again next year?"

Yet, for a few hours, millions here and even some of our soldiers overseas will put aside what does matter and enjoy something that doesn't. Not many things in American life have the power to do that. And that is a good thing, the great value of sports.

E-mail Face the Nation.

By Bob Schieffer