On Monday, February 3, 2020, I went for a run in the afternoon. The temperature was 70 degrees in Richmond. I ran in shorts.
This can’t be right. Something is out of wack. It should not be 70 degrees on the third day of February. But, it was.
That Monday was the day after the playing of Super Bowl game #54. The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs gave us a roller coaster of a game. I’m happy for Andy Reid, the coach of the Chiefs. I thought he deserved to win a Super Bowl game.
Deep inside, I was cheering for the Green Bay Packers. I think that can be traced back to my youth. I still recall Bart Starr, Fuzzy Thurston, Jerry Kramer, Elijah Pitts, Max McGhee, Willie Wood, Jim Taylor, and maybe you remember their coach, Vince Lombardi.
A long, long time ago, the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs played in the first Super Bowl game. The Packers won.
That was 53 years ago. Perhaps, you have noticed that the Super Bowl has changed just a tiny bit since that first game was played.
From my perspective, the focus of the Super Bowl is not the game. It is all the wackiness that is now associated with the game.
Two weeks of media hype, over analyzed analysis from sport commentators and former players who are now commentators, the much anticipated commercials, and the halftime show.
If you have not watched a Super Bowl halftime show recently, let me warn you—marching bands are gone.
Halftime shows are now a Las Vegas style production. I can only imagine the pennies, the logistics, and coordination it takes to transform the field into a stage. I am no prude, but the attire and gyrations by the two ladies who performed their music this year made Elvis’ gyrations look like a choir boy’s antics.
I enjoyed the short film just prior to the coin toss. The young man who did the acting, the running, and ran the game ball into the stadium was a winner. Whoever put this together did some clever thinking.
Having the four 100 year old Veterans from World War II to be honored as part of the coin tossing ceremony was special. But, how much more special would that moment have been if the players representing both teams at midfield had gone over to these men to shake their hands and thank them for their sacrifice?
From the commercials, I like the one with actor, Bill Murray. His honest wackiness make me laugh. Personally, I don’t think the commercials should be leaked out to the media before the big game. That takes away from watching them in real time.
We are a sports crazed society now. But, how much analysis does a fan need? Does all of this nonstop chatter really amount to a hill of beans?
Maybe, the NFL should ask the reliable Punxsutawney Phil. He knows a lot about weather forecasting. I’m sure he has some insights about predicting a winner in the Super Bowl.
All of the media hype is essentially about money—generating interest, creating attention. How much of this hyping do we need? After all this game has been played every year since 1967.
So, if NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, asked me how he could improve the Super Bowl, I would offer him this.
Roger, you need a rule change.
To score a touchdown a player’s complete body must be in the end zone, and the player must be holding, not bobbling the football. Do away with the pylons and the concept of breaking the plane of the goal line. That sounds like geometry to me, not football.
But, Roger, in all seriousness, you need to seek out Vince. I think he is probably rolling around in his grave about the game. You might recall, Coach Lombardi was pretty intense at times. I don’t think you want a midnight encounter with his ghost.
Also, I think you know, Coach Lombardi was pretty wise.
Think about this quote from him: “Morally, the life of the organization must be of exemplary nature. This is one phase where the organization must not have criticism.”
Well, Mr. Goodell, that’s what an unusually warm February afternoon will do to an old wacky runner.
Even with his imperfections, I hope you will take Vince’s wisdom to heart.