Super Bowl XLVIII. . . I am sure looking forward to a much shorter title.
Super Bowl L sounds pretty good, with the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears meeting in Santa Clara, California. It is not like I have anything against a championship game being played in New York. It is just that, like so many of us, I want to forget about the weather outside and get to the commercials, I mean the game.
That image of players with no sleeves on in the cold, breath hanging in the air, fans in parkas, reminds me of the regular season and the early rounds of the playoffs. By the time the big game rolls around, let’s stare out at the fans in the stands wearing short-sleeved shirts and basking in the sunshine.
In my humble opinion, that allows the folks back home to think in two general ways.
The first group could care less what the weather is like, this is the Super Bowl! They hearken back to those fond memories of the Super Bowl Shuffle and that ferocious Bears defense of 1985.
A friend of mine from high school hosted a party for that Super Bowl XX. The year before, the Bears had made the playoffs, but their recent history before that was checkered.
So, we gathered in Barry’s basement and sat down for the inevitable pounding that the Bears were going to put on the Patriots. There were snacks, beer and good cheer.
Before we could settle in for the coronation, the Patriots took a 3-0 lead. The room became very quiet and the pacing began. The game turned out to be a lopsided 46-10 victory for the Bears, but that early score reminded us just how incredible that defense was.
The Patriots, who had become the first team in the history of the game to win three playoff games on the road, had scored the first points on the Bears defense since the end of the regular season, almost a month’s worth of games.
This was the same Super Bowl that featured William “The Refrigerator” Perry scoring a touchdown. From that point, a run of Super Bowl blowouts extended for more than a decade.
This brings us back to the second group of people, the social organizers and commercial watchers. For so many years, the games were really over by the first quarter or so. It is hard to get excited about a four- or five-touchdown blowout, unless you are a fan of the team scoring all those points.
So, many of us started to get into the commercials, the halftime show and the wonderful food set in front of us.
In that basement 28 years ago, we eventually cheered the Bears win indoors at the Super Dome in New Orleans – seeing Walter Payton get his only ring was pretty special for those who had suffered through the lean years. I remember an incredibly spicy dip, plenty of cheering, high-fiving and screaming.
Because we won, many of us can still remember where we were when that game was played, while the commercials hardly mattered.
This year, party planners have been laying the groundwork for weeks, lining up just the right food and beverages for the right mix of guests. Blowout or close game, most of us will enjoy XLVIII.