Saturday, February 2, 2013

Super Bowl XXXVII

I've seen every Super Bowl since Tampa Bay blew out the Raiders at the end of January, 2003.

My girlfriend had recently moved into an apartment building across the street. It was a forlorn, dark little one-bedroom. She had a small color TV sitting on a chest of drawers.

The day was warm and sunny for Seattle in late January. In running shoes, a pair of shorts and a t-shirt I strolled the few paces from my building to hers; with me I had an International Publishers copy of Frederick Engels' The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. I hadn't seen any of the action during the regular season or the playoffs. I knew nothing about the teams other than Rich Gannon, who was sort of a joke when he played with the Vikings, quarterbacked the Raiders and John Gruden, who had just come over from the Oakland, coached the Buccaneers. By the third quarter the game was a blow out. Gannon threw three pick sixes. I tried to read The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, but it's not an easy book to read; plus, the girlfriend didn't want to be inside watching television on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. So we shut the game off and went outside. (Interestingly, Super Bowl XXXVII was in the news again when Raiders great Tim Brown went on Sirius XM NFL Radio and accused Oakland head coach Bill Callahan of throwing the game.)

Somehow the year before I completely missed Adam Vinatieri's big last-second kick to beat the Rams. I think I was hung over. When you're doing a lot of drinking your short-term memory goes out the window. I went into work on Monday and several coworkers asked me what I thought about the game and wasn't it amazing that it came down to the final play; it was only then that I realized that the Super Bowl had been played. I do remember that missile batteries were set up outside the Superdome, it being the first Super Bowl since 9/11.

A lot of time the game itself doesn't live up to all the hype (though that hasn't been the case the last five years). This creates debate about the wisdom of having a two-week layoff between the NFC and AFC Championship Games and the Super Bowl. Joe Platania has a solid blog post putting to rest the theory that two-weeks off adversely affects the game's outcome. Michael Moraitis in a Bleacher Report post makes the uncontroversial statement that the extra week allows negative press to percolate; he provides Ray Lewis' Deer Antler Spray imbroglio and Chris Culliver's "Can't be with that sweet stuff" quote as proof.

One argument that I can make for the two-week layoff is it gives someone like me a trial run of what a weekend without football on TV is like (because I don't watch the Pro Bowl); it eases me back into a life without the NFL.

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