Super Bowl XLVIII – Age Before Duty

I swear I could hear my older brother screaming from my mother’s house last night.  Mom only lives five minutes away but there’s a bodacious hill (which will soon be leveled in the service of Affordable Housing) between her house and my condo.  But my brother’s agony could not have been contained by mere granite, dirt and trees.  And he’s not even a Bronco’s fan.  He’s a Giants boy, all the way.

Still, when he sees an idiotic play in the first 15 seconds of a game, it’s enough to break his football-loving heart.  My friend and I missed the first half-hour of the game.  Not being football fans, we didn’t realize that Fox was airing the game on its local channel, not its cable channel.  We missed what was probably a fantastic rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by opera singer Renee Fleming.  Maybe her performance is on You-Tube.

Instead we tuned in just in time for those first 15 seconds when the Broncos kicked the ball to the Sea Hawks and their receiver ran the entire field with it to the fastest touchdown in Super Bowl history.  You have to be a high school football fan to see such incompetence on the part of the defense.  To his credit, the receiver ran like Forrest Gump, dodging and twisting around every defense player and right into the end zone.

My friend and I looked at each and said, “Well, that’s that.”  I asked him if he wanted to return to the replay of the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet, which I’d seen but he hadn’t.  If Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had tried something different after seeing his game plan fail after the first quarter, they might have at least scored one touchdown before halftime.  The score was 22-0.  As in zip.

Manning is said to be the best QB in football.  My mother sends Valentine’s to his younger brother, Giants QB Eli Manning, 33.  The Sea Hawks QB, Russell Wilson is 25; Peyton is 37 and suffering from neck injuries.  He didn’t dare try to run for any ball.  Meanwhile the Sea Hawks had their hawk eyes’ on every receiving.  Two defense for every offense player, especially if the offense had the ball; down they went.

The Broncos also must have set some sort of record for fumbles.  They just couldn’t seem to hold onto the ball.  In one play, a Sea Hawk just pounded the ball right out of the player’s hand.  It seemed like the Sea Hawks were committing an awful lot of offenses – interference, handling (I think that’s what it’s called).  Yet there were no whistles or flags.  What happened to the rules?  I haven’t watched a football game since I was in the high school band.  Have the rules changed.

The Sea Hawks won, but they had their problems, namely, running into one another.  Watching them was like watching the old Keystone Cops.  If had just happened once, you could call it an accident.  But the Sea Hawks ran into one another just as often as the Broncos fumbled the ball.  Half-time entertainment?  Who needed half-time entertainment when you had clowns on the field?  Pardon me, football fans for the insult.  I’m not a fan and if I have to miss my favorite show, Downton Abbey, I want to see two equally-suited teams of gladiators giving it their all.  If I wanted to see rookie mistakes, I’d have bundled myself up to go and watch the local football star crawl out from under the pile-up at centerfield, run all the way down to the end zone with the ball, and come back, still unnoticed and untouched.

If Peyton is that seriously injured that he doesn’t dare run with the ball, maybe it’s time for him to hang up his football helmet.  At 37, if it hasn’t happened for him by now, it’s not going to get any better as he gets older and the injury turns arthritic.  The Sea Hawks were able to exploit that injury and plan their game around it.

The younger team won, and pretty much skunked the older guys.  They probably could have scored more touchdowns.  Happily, the Broncos defense finally got it and started playing like professionals.  There was some unnecessary roughness on the part of the understandably frustrated Broncos.  But they only had themselves to blame.

A young, 25 year-old QB against a crippled, 37 year-old QB?  What did the Broncos expect?  Congratulations to the Seattle Sea Hawks for an – interesting victory.

There are always two other elements to the Super Bowl:  the ads and the half-time entertainment.  Suffice it to say, when Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers took to the stage, I took to the remote and hit mute.  We watched them dance around like lunatics.  I often wonder what someone from another century (19th or earlier) would have made of their gyrations.  We think they would have been condemned as lunatics or blasphemers and burnt as heretics in the fireworks that engulfed MetLife Stadium; it certainly looked like the fires of Hell.

As for the commercials, only a few captured either the heart or the imagination.  One, of course, was the Budweiser Puppy spot.  The highlight is when the dog’s owner, driving the pup away, finds himself surround by about 14 tons of horseflesh.  Budweiser did well with its soldier’s homecoming ad, too  The Budweiser wagon really does participate in parades; we’ve seen them and even gotten up close and personal with the steeds.  They’re magnificent – and huge.  My friend was a little upset by it since the Big O still hasn’t brought everyone home, as he promised he would.

The next best was Audi’s Dober-Hua-Hua spot.  Some people were upset and thought it was bizarre.  I thought it was funny.  Number 2 for my friend was the Seinfeld Reunion.  Never having watched the show, it didn’t register with me.

The Radio Shack ad, which one website gave a thumbs-down to, was another great ad.  The website master must not have been born yet.  To us oldsters, it was great fun seeing all the famous icons of the Eighties show up to take back their era.  It does send the wrong message about Radio Shack, though.  Is that what they’ve been selling all this time; dated technology?

Then there were the Muppet ads.  The problem is, when the Muppets show up, you completely forget what it is they’re selling besides their upcoming movie.  The Cheerios commercial just left me flat.  Billed to promote biracial marriages, it was much more dated than having 80’s icons reclaim their decade.  I wasn’t aware there was anything new about biracial marriages or biracial children; they’re everywhere that a cereal company felt compelled to promote it.

Super Bowl 48 was completely awash in totally forgettable ads, many of which were plugs for the Fox Channel.  Some ads, like GoDaddy’s Bodybuilder were just bewildering.  Then there were the offensive ads:  Coca Cola’s multilingual “God Bless America” and Bob Dylan telling us Americans can make a terrible Italian car.  Bob Dylan in anything is a guaranteed flag on the play, but to be pedaling a bad import whose profits go to a foreign owner is not the Great American Sale.

The British villains ad was interesting, although the villains were so obscure, that I didn’t recognize them:  Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3), Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers), and Mark Strong (Green Lantern).   Now if Sean Connery had been sitting in the helicopter.  Bruce Willis would have been happier in the hot car or the helicopter than he was with some nebbish clinging to him for the Honda Safety Hugfest; it was funny but weird.

Super Bowl fans had their fun in New York City on Super Bowl Boulevard.  Then, they took N.J. Transit trains under the river to East Rutherford, at their leisure.  No problemo, dudes.  Glenn Beck’s Stu Burguiere remarked at the ease he had in driving through the Lincoln Tunnel.  When he got onto Route 3, there was not a New Jerseyan to be seen on the road.  He knew better, he said, than to take mass transit.

Even though it was an awful game, the football fans at least had a good time yelling heads off.  They were so loud, you could hardly hear the referees’ calls on television.  But then, when it was all over, and the last piece of confetti had fluttered down, they all tried to get back to the Big Apple at the same time and that’s when chaos ensued.  Suddenly, they found themselves “trapped (as an ABC reporterette put it) in New Jersey.”  The line was at least four hours long to get back to the city.

And then, this morning, it started snowing here in New Jersey.  The thousands of out-of-town Super Bowl fans were stranded at Newark Liberty International.  Did they curse the Super Bowl planners?  No; they’re too in awe of them.  Did they blame Mother Nature?  Never argue with a woman.  Instead, they blamed the weather on New Jersey.  One of them told a reporter that they loved the Super Bowl but they’d never come back to “New Jersey” again.  Our state stinks, according to this Denver resident.

Perhaps, coming from a mountainous state, populated sparsely compared to New Jersey, Denverites are used to lots of snowstorms through which jet pilots regularly fly right through.  Well, New Jersey isn’t Denver.  We have an awful lot of people crammed into one little state, not to mention the 80,000 fans who stayed in New York City in order to avoid the stigma of having stayed in New Jersey, then returned for the game, went back to the city for the night, and then came back to New Jersey in the midst of a snowstorm to get back to Denver, Seattle, or whatever wildernesses they hailed from.

We may not have Rocky Mountains or volcanic mountains, but we do get bad weather.  Did the fans check their calendar when booking to come to the Super Bowl?  It’s February.  Did they check a map?  This is the New York Metropolitan area, not Greater Miami.  We get snow.  Sometimes a lot of it.  If they had stayed at a hotel in New Jersey (there are plenty in the Meadowlands area) and commuted over to the city for the day, then came back here to their hotel before the game, they wouldn’t have had to wait for a train.  They’d have gotten to the airport more quickly, although no matter how mad they might get, snow is snow and the planes can’t take off in it.

New Jerseyans did these visitors the courtesy of staying off the roads (particularly Route 3) during the Super Bowl.  We had hotels they could have stayed in that would have spared them the locally-known commuting nightmare of getting into the city.  Presumably, Denver and Seattle have satellite and cable television that could have told them a snowstorm was heading towards New Jersey and her main airport in Newark.  If they’d checked, they then could have booked the hotel for a longer stay and brought their skis.  New Jersey has some great ski resorts; we’re not the Rocky Mountains but it would have given Denverites and Seattlers something to do in the event of an extended stay.  There’s more to New Jersey than just The Turnpike and the New York skyline.

Just don’t think you can grouse at us and that we’ll be the country’s doormat.  You knew you were coming to an outdoor arena in a cold weather climate whose temperatures just a week earlier were in the single digits.  Cold enough even for someone from Denver.  You got a lucky break that the snow didn’t come a day earlier.  You wouldn’t have had any an easier time – in fact an even harder time – flying out of the area if you tried to fly out of JFK or LaGuardia airports.  This storm is a Nor’easter, which means it comes from the south and heads of towards the northeast.

Northern New Jersey is the home of millions of hard-working people, all cramped together.  We deserve better than to be cursed and defamed simply because 80,000 people all decided to “escape” from New Jersey in the middle of a snowstorm.

The sooner you sore losers go home, the better.

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Published in: on February 3, 2014 at 2:45 pm  Comments (1)  

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