Sports Snobbery, Episode Seven: Super Bowl? What Super Bowl?

As I’m prone to do on slow nights behind the bar, which are fortunately becoming more and more infrequent, I’ll strike up random conversations about this or that with my customer base.  With the Super Bowl approaching, I chose the Saturday before to poll drinkers on who they felt would win the game.

The answers came back as you’d expect, many taking the heavily favored Carolina Panthers, fewer taking Denver but most everyone wanting to see Peyton Manning ride off into posterity with one final victory.

Peyton wins Super Bowl in Denver

Then there was this one guy.

Like I had with so many others before him, I asked him and his party who they had in the big game.

“I don’t even know who’s playing,” he responded rather glibly.

Hmmm…

Okay, I guess that was bound to happen if you poll enough people.  I mean, not EVERYONE watches the Super Bowl.  Those people are called Communists.  But I couldn’t tell whether this gentleman actually knew the two teams playing and was protesting my question as part of his desire to be some sort of off the grid, neo-hipster douchebag or whether he honestly had no clue which teams were playing, which in this day and age would require a great deal of conviction.  I mean every supermarket, television show and social media outlet over the past two weeks has focused on the Super Bowl.  In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s kind of a big deal.  One must be incredibly disinterested or wholeheartedly oblivious to not know the two teams competing.

I’ve spent time in Brazil during World Cup.  When a soccer match goes on, there is no traffic.  Few stores if any are open.  Every man, woman and child is glued to their television set.  Their national team takes on the utmost importance.

I didn’t take to the roads this Super Bowl but I can only imagine there wasn’t much traffic, unless of course my new friend was traveling freely along the interstate with his convoy of pigskin protesters, honking his horn and enjoying the freedom of the empty lanes.

I took a yoga class only hours before the game and even they were talking about the Super Bowl.  So don’t pretend to be off the grid with me.  I’m not buying it.

Super Bowl yoga

An estimated 120 million people watched the Super Bowl this year.  That’s more than one-third of the US population and nearly the amount of people who vote in presidential elections, which is by most accounts a far less enjoyable and entertaining undertaking.

Maybe I’m the sports snob.  Perhaps it’s wrong of me to judge a person just because their interests don’t coincide with mine… or a hundred million other, red-blooded Americans.

The NFL’s not perfect; it has its warts.  I get if someone wants to protest the Super Bowl for the sport’s sheer brutality.  Maybe it’s too much to expect every living American to understand that the Super Bowl, like it or not, is an indelible part of our nation’s heritage.   It’s not just about football.  It’s about spending time with friends and family and watching a part of history and a sport uniquely our own.

My buddy Croshere sent me a text right before game time with all his wagering tickets lined up neatly in a row.  His message read simply “God, this is the best day of the year.”

You know what?  I couldn’t agree more.


29 thoughts on “Sports Snobbery, Episode Seven: Super Bowl? What Super Bowl?

  1. 115 million individuals watched the Superbowl with another 1.3 billion worldwide . Something had to have been going on beyond the ads and CBS wanting us to see the new summer blockbuster movies due out ? The game itself , was pitted with errors by both teams, as well as the officials. At the end of the day , it was a hyped up event which failed to meet certain expectations .

    Now the NFL will try and bilk the Peyton Manning issue of his impending retirement and whether or not, it will actually take place.

    So Derk Fisher and Barack Obama will both be out of a job at the end of 2016 . albeit , Obama won’t officially leave office until January , 2017, with their having to be a smooth transition for his successor. Do you believe it will be the same with Fisher out and Kurt Rambis succeeding him , presumably as the interim head coach for the rest of the season ? I can tell you this , Phil Jackson can’t spot talent much less pick a credible head coach for the Knicks’ franchise. It was the same with David Griffin and his choice of David Blatt to coach LeBron “Me-Me ” James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron insists he had nothing to do with Blatt’s firing ? Really LeBron, is that the story you will be sticking to ? Hell , you all but called Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert , a punk @ss bitch after he fired Mike Brown without your consultation.

    Should we now take LBJ at his word ?

  2. Quit spending all of your time on your back big guy 🙂 Pretty unremarkable game, but glad Peyton won. The most horrible thing in the game was Cam not diving on the fumble. I mean c’mon. It is the biggest game he will ever play in, you dive on it period (even if injury may happen). He is just gutless. I was seriously blown away by a pro athlete just basically shrugging off the biggest moment in his career. On the flip-side, I had no problem with his Superman antics throughout the season. Just very disappointed with his press conference and even more so with his lack of effort on the fumble. He is getting rightfully ripped by everyone.

  3. My wife wasn’t sure who was playing until I told her but she damn well knew she was going to be watching it with a cocktail in her hand. Super Bowl parties are definitely a tradition whether we hold one or visit a friend’s. The other tradition is the hangover / lack of sleep I always experience on Monday when I drag my ass to work.

  4. PEP,
    While I certainly don’t get your patron acknowledging he didn’t know who was playing, I mean really? Anyone walking into a bar of any kind, over the past two weeks at and minimum, let alone a sports bar would have, should have known, most assuredly by game time, who was playing.
    That being said, the outcome was not what I had thought or preferred, as I am not a Peyton fan, (He’s a Tennessee product and Gators don’t do Tennessee). I was, however, certainly astounded at the tenacity of their, (Broncos), defense. The one call that was correct all night was Mr. Miller getting the MVP.
    I began having flashbacks to Florida football under Muschamp, where all we did on first down was run up the middle. Similar to Florida’s unsuccessful results, the Panthers did the same thing, leaving them with 2nd an long most of the night. Given the weapons at their disposal, I’m not sure what happened to the real Panther’s. Maybe this was a set up to send Peyton off in style. While I am not a fan, I do have to acknowledge his contributions to the profession, and wish him well from here on out with whatever he decides to do. Clearly, the Panthers will be back.

  5. Yogabowl huh?

    Can’t say as though I’m opposed to yoga pants on a fit female frame.

    The wife mentioned having an interest in starting yoga the other day and asked if I’d be interested…I said it might be something I’d consider if she follows through. I figure working on flexibility can’t hurt the basketball game, right? …And eye candy is never a bad thing…Except if you’re with wifey…Hmmmm…Maybe I should re-think this.

  6. Yoga? I think that will make my point in that I don’t judge anyone who takes yoga classes or thinks the Super Bowl is a stretch. I hate the hype and this year I didn’t even tune in until an hour or so before kickoff. Considering five times more people watch it than a regular season game we can also guesstimate that those who “watched” the Super Bowl really didn’t care who won either. Glad to hear biz is up!!!

  7. Yes, my wife and I watched it; we both rooted for the Broncos, although I was mighty disappointed to hear Manning, after the game, call out Budweiser as one of his post-game to-dos. Wonder how much Budweiser paid him to say that.

    I’m not nearly the fan I was even a decade ago. The NFL has pretty much ruined the game for me, with instant replay that proves that they can STILL get the call wrong, constant rule changes—what a catch was last year isn’t this year—the fact the NFL remains a very profitable non-profit, Goodell’s ignorance in the face of spousal abuse, Michael Vick, etc. With more and more parents refusing to let their boys play in high school, the game is going to go downhill and might not exist in its current iteration in ten or fifteen years.

    Baseball was the sport in my youth, but even MLB is going all out to destroy the game I grew up wanting to play. But I’ll leave that for another day…

  8. As always, I love your posts! Always entertaining. I can’t remember the first Super Bowl I ever saw, some time in the mid 70’s. I think Minnesota played in it. I’ve only missed one Super Bowl since then. I took my soon to be girl friend ice skating at the Omni International Hotel, part of the old Omni sports arena in Atlanta. That was my senior year in high school. There have been several others I would have preferred to see a movie because I just didn’t have an interest in either team to win or lose. But I caved to the pressure and didn’t want to be called a communist! Unfortunately, the number, quality, and topics of the commercials along with horrible half time shows makes me even less interested in the game itself. Just my two cents.
    Dan

  9. Yeah, and concerning the halftime show, I really must be behind the times. I had no idea Beyonce’s backup singers were dressed as Black Panthers. But now that I know, I can say, what the hell was the NFL thinking when they allowed that, or were they, like me, ignorant?

    It’s the Super Bowl for crying out loud. Can’t we have one day free from political statements?

  10. See, Al, I enjoyed the game.

    Denver’s defense was lights out. They forced Carolina into those mistakes.

    And again, we knew Denver wasn’t going to air it out. That’s not what they do.

    I had no problem finding the game entertaining… although that’s probably because I won money on it.

    And the Knicks, meh. As I’ve said, it doesn’t matter who coaches that team. There’s not enough talent on the floor to pose a threat.

  11. D…

    Have you seen that Andy Griffith video meme about Cam yet? Pretty damn hysterical.

    I questioned him not diving into the pile on that loose ball as well. My first thoughts were that he saw other people closer and, in his position, he would have had to dive in hands first, head second to get that thing, of which there was no guarantee he would even recover.

    I’m not saying he shouldn’t have done it. At that point of the game, with the season on the line, it’d make sense to give it one last shot… as long as he doesn’t break his throwing hand while doing so.

    But the kid’s head clearly wasn’t in that game. You can blame two weeks of talking smack, a probable lack of proper preparation and some smash-mouth Denver defense for that.

  12. Moose…

    Someone told me that the least productive work day in America is the day after the Super Bowl.

    Surprised, not surprised.

    I would imagine the two that rank directly behind it are the first Thursday and Friday of the NCAA Tournament which are coming up very soon. Awwwww yeah!

  13. Mony…

    After his walk-out, I didn’t jump on Cam all that hard like the rest of America did.

    He had a chance to man up later but still didn’t.

    That’s okay. I’m not gonna judge the guy. Let’s keep in mind, he’s only 26.

    But I will say this. This is now his opportunity. How will he respond from this? Will he use it as motivation as his Dr Dre headphone commercial says, always doing one more rep than the next guy or will he not be able to recover?

    I’m with you. I don’t see how, under him, the team doesn’t continue to compete.

    But stranger things have happened.

    Whether he proves to be great in this league is up to one man and one man alone.

  14. Jim…

    We don’t know what goes on in that locker room but we’ll find out soon enough whether his team has his back. We never head him say the word “I” once in his post-game pout conference which is what I think everyone had a problem with most.

    He could have taken full responsibility, then walked off the stage and we all would have been fine with it.

    But he didn’t.

  15. Speaking of not caring who won, Burnsy, according to CBS Sports, an estimated $132 million in Las Vegas alone.

    That doesn’t include what’s spent on house pools or any other online services.

    I’m guessing that Vegas made a pretty good pay day with all the people that were so gung ho on Carolina.

  16. Dan…

    Thanks for the kind words, brother.

    Yeah, I don’t recall the last Super Bowl I’ve missed. It’s got to be about twenty or thirty years since I’ve missed one, at least.

    And speaking of bad Super Bowls, sure I guess that Denver-Seattle game of a few years ago was a bust but otherwise they haven’t been all that bad. The other one I remember being absolutely horrible was Niners-Chargers.

    46-29 and it wasn’t even that close. P.U.!

  17. I didn’t catch that either, Conrad. I’ve heard a little unrest but overall, I wasn’t bothered by it.

    Like I said in a previous post, have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees of that year perform at halftime.

    Done and done.

  18. The Boogie Man came to town and the Panthers were quivering. To paraphrase Johnnie Cochrane …… ‘ if the gloves don’t fit and the ball doesn’t stick, then change the fu@#ing gloves so you catch the ball ‘ . This is directed to the Panthers’ players on offense.

  19. Addendum:

    Like hundreds of million people around the globe, my wife and I watched Super Bowl 50. We both rooted for the Broncos to win. I was pleased with the outcome for the simple reason I’d always respected Peyton Manning as a player and, especially, as an elder player. I forgave his comments immediately after the game, tacky though they were, about drinking some Budweisers after kissing his wife and their kids, and thanking God. The NFL has a policy about their athletes plugging alcoholic products, but apparently looked the other way given that Manning owns stock in two Anheuser-Bush distributors in Louisiana.

    Carolina quarterback Cam Newton got the lion’s share of post Super Bowl press for his poor sportsmanship behavior in defeat. Newton is young and has yet to learn, perhaps because he’s always been a winner, how to be gracious in defeat. Whether he never makes it back to the Super Bowl, perhaps in a few years, after he’s matured, he’ll look back and regret his actions.

    But then the news broke: thirteen years ago, USA Today obtained court documents on Peyton Manning, his father Archie, the University of Tennessee, and Florida Southern College that revealed allegations of a sexual-assault scandal with a female trainer, and its subsequent cover up and smear campaign of the victim.

    Today I’m wondering why USA Today never released those documents.

    After paying off the young woman, they each signed a non-disclosure to never speak of the incident, Manning wrote about the incident in his 2003 book Sports Great Peyton Manning. He downplayed the incident, calling it horseplay. But he went further, labeling the victim as foul-mouthed, intimating that she was trailer trash, as if that justified his actions. His credibility is now in question in light of the fact that no other athlete has ever spoken of the woman as anything but professional.

    Now if any mere mortal was found guilty of such “horseplay”, they’d have been fired and likely be required to register as a sex offender. Yet Manning has enjoyed the notoriety of being one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever take a snap from center. Furthermore, he’s parlayed that notoriety into being a spokesperson for Nationwide Insurance, DirecTV, and Papa John’s Pizza.

    Only time will tell whether Manning will follow Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle, who Subway dropped after allegations of sexual improprieties.

    Which begs the question: Did Manning get a pass from the NFL?

    Given that Michael Vick, Adrian Peterson, and Ray Rice were held accountable for, respectively, a dog fighting ring, child abuse, and spouse abuse—as was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell—I’d say, resoundingly, “Yes!”

    Immediately after the Super Bowl I was happy for Manning, and wished him well, hoping that he’d retire from the game a winner.

    Today I’ll forever look at his “aw, shucks” demeanor in his T.V. ads as a lie, a façade behind which he hides what he really is: a sex offender who was never held accountable for an unforgivable act he defines as “horseplay.”

  20. All very well said, Conrad, and I can only think this is the last thing the league ever wanted: its top player if not ambassador for the game being brought of of allegations such as these.

    Whether it’s Kobe Bryant or Peyton Manning or Jameis Winston or Mike Tyson, we never know what goes on behind closed doors. It’s probably best for athletes not to put themselves in these kinds of situations but are we asking them never to get laid? I think that’s a little bit much.

    I’m not saying these guys are innocent. But they’re certainly guilty, at a minimum, of using bad judgment.

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