Too soon? The 2019 Super Bowl ended in February, but only now is the fever pitch beginning to ebb. Football fans will soon be able to catch a breath, if not a break, as football withdrawal sets in.
Sure, analysts groused that the game was boring, apparently just because the scores were the lowest in the game’s history.
We eventually did see some drama this year, but nothing like last year, when one post-game commentator crowed “another Super Bowl that ends on the last play of the game!” At least they were able to complete the game by the time it ended.
Having played on “both sides of the ball” myself in the distant past, I can appreciate the skills of defensive players and a good defensive strategy. This contest was actually peppered with exciting plays, even though it was the defenses who were executing them for most of the game.
It’s more exhausting to play defense than offense, since reacting to an opponent’s moves uses more energy than initiating those moves.
So when the Pats conducted a long, time-consuming drive, and came away with no points, it was a disappointment, but not a failure. They extended the Rams’ defense long enough to sap its energy. They also gifted their own defense with time to relax on the bench, boosting the chances that when the Rams’ offense finally got the ball, a well-rested Pat defense could impose a three-and-out.
Unfortunately, offensive output has become the primary standard by which a “good” game is judged. Lots of yards, lots of points. Especially lots of points.
Offensive ball-carriers get all the love, because they’re the ones who physically score the points. Place-kickers get some affection too, if they don’t botch critical — and conspicuous — field goals or extra points.
But people tend to snicker when they give a kicker a nod, maybe because kickers tend to look diminutive among the behemoths who protect them. Munchkins among elephants. Not only must they worry about technique, they also have to avoid getting stepped on. One kicker’s abrupt disappearance was resolved when an offensive tackle discovered him stuck in his cleats.
On the other end of the scale — is there a better nickname for a massive-aggressive football player than “Gronk”? Just pronouncing his name evokes the honks and grunts of some ancient saurian ancestor.
Although ABC once televised a game without anyone in the booth to explain it, no contest is complete without announcers. Their analyses are occasionally useful, and they can provide comic relief while some player is being strapped to a backboard in the middle of the field.
“We could have some freezing if temperatures drop below the freezing mark,” observed a Fox announcer during a pause in the NFC championship game. For this he received his network’s semi-annual Most Insightful Analysis trophy. (There were no other nominees.)
“They literally gift-wrapped the game,” said another announcer. One team had made critical mistakes that allowed the other to come from behind and win. I did see plenty of ribbons and bows, come to think of it. Or they might have been pom-poms.
Last-minute pre-game celebrations, we’ve learned, included Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Post-game he was busted for bargain-shopping among young Asian sex-slaves who were literally imprisoned in a massage parlor-cum-brothel. The thrill of victory was rapidly followed by the agony of getting caught.
When it’s Kraft’s turn behind bars, he might find himself holding the short end of the stick, sex-slavery-wise. Maybe his buddy will pardon him.
I didn’t pay much attention to the Super Bowl halftime acts this year, since for the first time in a long time, the performers were younger than me. They were OK, but nothing that reached out to grab me by the ears.
During a different recent game’s half-time show, snippets of the main act’s vocals were bleeped out. They were probably just ordinary lyrics — gratuitously sexual, violent, vulgar, misogynistic.
I tried to read their lips, but there were way too many sparkly lights to see well.
It must’ve been chilly out in the middle of the field where those halftime performers performed. One co-lead singer had to wear a fluffy fur coat to keep warm. He probably killed and skinned all those muskrats himself, so he’s baaaad. That makes his banal lyrics — edgy!
What’s a Super Bowl without the ads? CBS got $5.3 million per 30-second commercial spot; that would buy enough beer to last an entire game.
In closing, a word of caution: it’s prudent to record Supergames when we can. We’ll soon forget what we saw, thanks to ingesting traditionally large quantities of the Four Major Food Groups: grease, salt, starch and alcohol.
Jon Hauxwell, MD, is a retired
family physician who grew up in Stockton
and lives outside Hays.