Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Bowl XLII: Yes, I Enjoyed It!

I'm going to preface this by saying a few things.
1) I'm not a fan of American football fan. I haven't been in years.
2) Though I can't argue against the NFL being the best run professional sports league in the world - in terms of treatment of players, fans and teams - I'm of the persuasion that the Super Bowl is traditionally one of the most boring events in sport. Hate all you want, this is a preference.
3) Most of all, I can't stand how long the games are. I don't care about the different positions and following the game, to me, is about as dull as dishwater.

The point of all that is to show that, I'm probably the last person some would suspect to watch the Super Bowl and its ads, let alone clean the house and invite people over in its spirit. However, that's exactly what I did. My wife and I spent Saturday afternoon into the night cleaning, running to the store to get munchies and beer and I was simply buzzing with excitement for it.

How does that happen? Well many factors come into it. Even though I avoid the sport like the plague, I still couldn't escape hearing about Tom Brady and his Patriots as they destroyed teams. Sure they had a speed bump or two along the way, but they refused to be beaten. So, up to the final game, they were 18-0. If they win the game, they'll be the second team to go completely undefeated. The Miami Dolphins were the first back in the 70s. They only went 17-0 (More teams = more games = more perfect). So there's that, which is half of it. On the other side of the 50, we have the New York Giants, the team I got behind to win. The reason for that takes a story.

When I followed American football, the team I HATED was the Packers. Rich coming from a 49ers fan is the reasoning. I picked my team watching players like Roger Craig, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and John Taylor at different times. However, there was a game I saw when I was 4. It was in the regular season and I remember being in trance because of the red and gold uniforms that won the game. It was only later that I really learned what I could at the age 5 about the team and retain. By the time they won the super bowl in 1984, I'd watched them enough to call them mine. Now, I say that because when the Packers started winning again in the 90s, everyone and their grandmother started coming out of the woodwork saying they'd been Packers fans forever and every other team is garbage. Sure, a select few had seen their team be terrible and stuck by them, but bandwagoners come at you like there's no other option while the true fans will compliment their team, but don't get in anyone's face until they win because it's only fair.

Now that I've trailed off, my reason for getting behind the Giants to win was because they kept Brett Favre and his cheese-headed band of morons out of the super bowl. Win or lose, I was greatful when I read that piece of news and supporting them against the Brady-loving Patriots fans was the least I could do.

So, for the first time in a while I was excited to watch a Super Bowl. You know what? It actually delivered the drama that it's hyped itself up to be all these years. Usually, the game's over by halftime. This was a tense affair where no team gave up its pursuit of the trophy. In all fairness, The Patriots were clearly the better team, Welker was probably the most active player on the field. The Giants did what they had to do to win and that's all that matters. The commercials were once again average at best. This was not only the first Super Bowl I enjoyed in a long time, but probably the best one I've ever seen. Sure, I watched my 49ers win some doozies, but I wasn't old enough to care in '82 when "The Catch" won it and I don't remember the '84 game all that well anymore. Even though they won more, the games were never the crescendo that this one was. Eli Manning pulled that game from the jaws of defeat in that last drive and it was brilliant. He deserves any accolades he'll receive.

However, it's not over for Tom Brady. If the Patriots don't break apart in the post season, they'll be back in force and he'll be in the driver's seat again. He's a great quarterback and will get better. All of 'em have moments where they blink, unfortunately his was on the biggest stage possible and on the brink of perfection. The future will see him as one of the greats and his career isn't even over.

As a neutral, I enjoyed the hell out of that game. But I'm happy to go back to hating it and enjoying 'proper' football, or as Howard Rogers would say, "Euro-style kick ball." But all congrats go to the Giants.