What It Is, Is Football – (or at least it’s supposed to be)

Probably one of the first questions posed to a significant percentage of Americans upon arriving at work this morning was, “What did you think of the Super Bowl?” or some variation of that query.  I think an appropriate follow-up question would be, “Did you watch the whole thing?

As the Super Bowl was being discussed this morning where I work, an interesting trend began to reveal itself.  A number of my co-workers indicated that at some point during the game, they had switched from watching the Super Bowl to viewing the latest episode of “Downton Abbey” on PBS.   This piqued my interest because my wife and I had done exactly the same thing.    

Before anyone makes an unsubstantiated assessment regarding the depth and breadth of my interest in sports, let me state categorically that I am a sports fan.  Frankly, I’m a follower of more sports than your average Joe.

A few years ago, unbridled corporate avarice resulted my unplanned and unexpected early retirement.  Having to find some way to continue to put bread on the table, I turned a passion for sports photography into a business.  As a result, I’ve spent an inordinately large amount of time kneeling on side lines, base lines, foul lines, and goal lines over the past few years.  Without question, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

Back to the topic of last night’s NFL spectacle.  I haven’t watched an entire Super Bowl in years.  There are certain elements of the NFL Championship game that I now avoid by design.  You see, my problem is that I’d like to watch a really good football game, not a media circus complete with multiple side shows.

First of all, I never watch the pre-game coverage.  This might seem to be unavoidable given that this coverage now routinely begins no later than the Tuesday or Wednesday preceding the Sunday on which the game is played, but I manage to successfully channel surf around most, if not all of it.
Super Bowl XLVI
On Super Bowl Sunday, I don’t tune to the network carrying the game until 6:31 p.m., just in time to see the coin toss quickly followed by the kick-off.  This strategy proved it’s worth this year as I was able to avoid having to endure Alicia Keys singing, what others have told me was, the longest national anthem in recorded history.  It’s our national anthem.  It’s not an opportunity for the latest chantreuse to dazzle us with her vocal virtuosity and range.  Let’s leave that to the Grammys; which I also never watch.

Likewise, I haven’t seen a Super Bowl halftime show in years.  I don’t have a compelling need to be entertained during halftime, much less endure wardrobe malfunctions.  To my way of thinking, halftime is intended to give the athletes a break from the exertions of the game, time for coaches to make adjustments in their game plans, and time for those watching the game to grab another beer and a refill the chip bowl.

As the saying goes, I didn’t really have a dog in the fight that was last night’s Super Bowl.  If pressed, I would have admitted to hoping to see San Francisco come out with the victory, but that was due to them being the team more closely aligned with the original pre-merger NFL than anything else.
After having to endure the 49er’s sputtering offense and their almost non-existent defense during the first half, switching to PBS and the latest episode of “Downton Abbey” seemed like a very logical option; particularly after Jacoby Jones returned the opening kickoff of the second half 109 yards for a Baltimore TD.

I was pleased when I learned this morning that the 49ers came back and made a game of it.

That’s what I’d like to see every Super Bowl turn out to be, a great game of football.  That’s more than enough for me.