It’s that time of the year again. It’s time for the Super Bowl of all football games. In case you haven’t guessed, I’m talking about the Super Bowl, which in the minds of some people beats out the Christmas season as The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. I don’t see why. I think we can all make the Big Game a little more subdued if we were all bombarded with sale items and decorations until we go out and buy Super Bowl presents for our family and friends.
I was born on January 29, 1983, the day before Super Bowl XVII. I would like to think that my birth and the Super Bowl have a common bond. It’s not just that both events took place on the same weekend, but that just like my immediate family stopped everything they were doing to celebrate my arrival, football fans all across America stopped everything they were doing to watch a football game. Super Bowl XVII was the day the Washington Redskins became Super Bowl champions defeating the Miami Dolphins by a score of 27-17. As you can tell from that last sentence (you know, the part where the Redskins won the Super Bowl), a lot has changed since then.
It used to be, “Honey, I’m going to watch this football game and I will only get what I need or use the bathroom whenever a commercial comes on.” Now it’s gotten to the point where people say, “Honey, I’m going to watch endless hours of a pregame entertainment and analysis program and several advertisements for products I don’t need and I will only get what I need or use the bathroom whenever the game comes back on.” Knock it if you want, but the commercials are the most important part of the Super Bowl. The same weekend that I wandered into this life wondering what the hell was going on around here, the cost of a 30-second commercial was a measly $400,000. In 2009, a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl cost anywhere up to 3 million dollars. Uh huh. That’s in American dollars, pal. This year, owing to economic woes, CBS has offered a discount for their 30 seconds. The commercials on CBS can cost 2.8 million, even as low as a very generous 2.4 million dollars. Despite the discount, the auto industry looked at their own financial situation and then the CBS offer and said “Thanks, but no thanks.” I guess that means Howie Long will not be pushing Chevys on the American consumers during the Super Bowl this year. Maybe he will take part in some game chatter and generously throw a shout-out to the Cobalt, the Equinox, the Impala, or my personal favorite – the Silverado. It all makes sense, seeing as how football players are known for their charitable nature. However, I am going to say that the American auto industry exercised their usual good judgment on this one. The reality of it all is that if I can’t afford something with the change I find in my sofa cushions, then I know in my heart, it’s probably no worth the expense.
No matter how you plan to celebrate the Big Game, I will celebrate it the same way I do every year. I will be celebrating the fact that the football season officially comes to an end. Don’t get me wrong. I love watching football. I especially love it when my hometown team, the Baltimore Ravens, is out of the playoffs. That way, I can enjoy the game for the sake of the game. I don’t have to listen to people try to hype me up for the inevitable feeling of disappointment I, along with every other Ravens fan, will get when we get so close to the finish line before we bend over and kiss ourselves goodbye. I had my fill of that after my last date. It’s not entirely the players’ fault. It is the way penalties are given out by the referees. The NFL every year changes the rules and then tries to explain them to the people who play the game and get hit in the head several times, sometimes suffering memory loss and a concussion. Is it any wonder that my boys in purple keep getting penalty after penalty? It also doesn’t help that Ray Lewis hits another player’s helmet with his own helmet and the only punishment he receives is it costs him five thousand dollars. This is the same Ray Lewis who received probation after he was charged with being an accomplice to a murder and went on to not only win the Super Bowl, but also become the game’s Most Valuable Player in the span of one year. Given this, I don’t think losing five grand will teach Ray a lesson considering made ten million dollars in the 2009 season. With that kind of money, you know Ray can easily find five thousand dollars in his sofa cushions.
I never hear about too many miracles taking place, otherwise I would be a well-adjusted contributor to society. The only miracle I can see taking place is whenever some lucky team actually defeats the Indianapolis Colts and their quarterback, Peyton Manning. I believe that Peyton Manning is made entirely of medieval armor. That is why I laugh at the notion of police protection whenever the Colts come to Baltimore. If someone actually wanted to sucker punch Manning, then they would break every bone in their hand trying to do so. The only other thing I will say about Peyton Manning is that with him and his brother Eli, who is a quarterback for the New York Giants, their father has to be the happiest guy on the face of the planet. Come on! You know the guy gets a hard-on whenever he says the following sentence: “Both of my sons are Super Bowl champion quarterbacks!”
I may not have very many talents, but I do possess the gift of foresight. I can tell you exactly how the game is going to turn out. The result: nobody really cares. Two teams enter, one team wins. Blah blah blah. The real action occurs not during the game itself, but at every point when the game doesn’t take place. I’m not talking about the sports shows featuring analysts who get paid millions of dollars to do something that many of my sports obsessed friends do day after day for free. There are too many friends that need calling to see if a get together can be arranged. There are endless amounts of alcohol, soft drinks, chips and dip to be purchased, preferably under a budget. People also need to find a bar that has multiple big-screen televisions projecting the game, which no one will be able to hear because everyone on the bar is creating a din by asking what is happening during the game. As a culture, we have not yet made Super Bowl Sunday about not watching the game, but we have made Super Bowl Sunday into an emphasis of all of the preparation that goes into not watching the game.
So, now that football season is basically over, I can hold my head up high whenever I dare utter those two words not proudly expressed in this area for a long time: Go Orioles! When the boys in orange take the field at Camden Yards, I suddenly get why some of my neighbors get excited whenever the boys in purple take the field at M&T Bank Stadium. When it comes to local sports, even if it is two different sports, we’re all equal. There needs to be an equal sense of pride with the Baltimore Orioles and the Baltimore Ravens. They have something in common. It’s not whether both teams win or lose. Being a realist, I know it’s when both teams know how to play the game … and let me down in style.