The Super Bowl is tomorrow. I for one would rather have wisdom teeth yanked than subject myself to that. Nonetheless, I have a post about the occasion. NFL fans may feel free to call for my head on a platter at their leisure.
Millions Expected To Watch Bloated Pointless Game; One Time Player Wishes He Was There
Santa Clara (CP) For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, this is Super Bowl weekend in the city of Santa Clara, California, a short drive from San Francisco. The game, to be played at Levi’s Stadium (yet another example of the sheer tackiness that is corporate branding), pits the Carolina Panthers against the Denver Broncos. This game is also the fiftieth edition of the championship game; this year the NFL has suspended the tradition of using Roman numerals to identify the specific game (being one of the few organizations left on the planet to still use Roman numerals).
Fans are already pouring into the area in advance of Sunday’s game. They are a mix of Panthers and Broncos fans, but also fans from nearly every team in the NFL (with few sightings of Cleveland Browns fans being an exception). A raucous, drunken crowd, they seem nonetheless happy to be in attendance, with team jerseys and faces painted in garish ways. To this reporter, who finds football pointless and tedious, it is a mystery as to why it appeals to so many. Just as much of a mystery as to why this reporter’s editor dispatched him on this assignment (editor: one of these days, you rat, you’re going to get what’s coming to you! I still haven’t forgotten that you laughed at my mother-in-law’s funeral!)
This year the game is being broadcast by CBS, with pre-game analysis having already started three weeks ago. On Super Bowl Sunday itself, the pre-game program will start early, go hours, and eventually there’ll be a game. Along with lots of commercials, a halftime show featuring Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars, and a national anthem sung by Lady Gaga. Well, at least they didn’t bring in Roseanne Barr for the national anthem. The game itself will seem to go on forever, prove to be boring, and apparently be the swan song of Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, if you pay attention to the endless sports columnists who seem to know he’ll be retiring even before the game. Well, in fairness, Manning does look pretty long in the tooth, to use an old expression.
This reporter, doomed by a cranky editor to cover the festivities (editor: it’s because you hate football that I sent you, you ****ing jerk! It’s called punishment, because I hate you! Oh, do I hate you!) has been spending time digging up stories. Apparently the League has taken steps to prevent another blackout as happened at the game in 2013. In the opinion of this reporter, another blackout would be just the thing to liven things up. Or, since we’re in California, how about a nicely timed earthquake? (editor: keep at it and I’ll drop you into the San Andreas Fault during a quake) This reporter sighed, wishing to remind his grouch of an editor that she does not have the time to come to California during a quake anyway to drag this reporter off and dump him into some open spot during an earthquake anyway.
As is always the case with these games, spectacle is a big thing, and the stadium has been prepped and cleared by the crews who have been working here for weeks to get things ready. There’ll be fireworks, cheerleaders, massive production values on the halftime show. All of this will, of course, delay the game well past its scheduled start time, and given the creative way the League has of stretching out the game, it will last hours past its assumed end time.
Though he’s not involved in the broadcast this year, legendary player and broadcaster Terry Bradshaw is here to take in the game this year, and this reporter cornered him and had some questions to ask. “It’s all very simple,” the affable Bradshaw told this reporter in response to one question. “Everybody knows this game is as boring as all get out. I mean, if you just had the game, it would put everyone to sleep. That’s why the League’s worked with advertisers for years, and with grocers and liquor outlets and the networks, all on a program of getting people either drunk or overstuffed with greasy food or distracted by lots of spectacle during the game, just so they don’t notice how boring it all is. Wait, you’re not going to quote me on that, are you?”
Lady Gaga seems an unlikely choice to do the national anthem before the game. “They asked me to do the halftime show,” she admitted to this reporter earlier this week, for once not looking like the garish over the top chameleon performer she seems to be in her stage persona. “I don’t really know why.... I mean, I don’t really care for football.” This reporter nodded, surprised to have something in common with Lady Gaga. “The League didn’t really seem to go for my ideas for a halftime show though. Apparently post-modern Impressionism, flying lizards, fluorescent colours, and clothing made of meat puzzled them.”
This reporter found himself dazed just trying to imagine that. (editor: dazed? What’s that mean? Have you been drinking?) Lady Gaga shrugged and carried on. “So I get to do the anthem instead. I’ll just leave it to Coldplay and Beyonce and Bruno to have themselves a wardrobe malfunction moment at just the wrong time. Preferably all of them at once, because wouldn’t that just totally upstage the last time this game had a wardrobe malfunction?”
A post script to the story: last week while this reporter was in Las Vegas covering another story, a chance came up to speak to a former football legend, minor actor, infamous suspect, and convicted felon. The Lovelock Correctional Center is a prison in rural Nevada, and it is presently home to O.J. Simpson, convicted on robbery and kidnapping charges after a 2007 Las Vegas sports memorabilia debacle. The subject of the so called “trial of the century” in the murders of his ex-wife and another man (side note: shouldn’t the Nuremberg Trials be the trial of the century?) is looking worn down and old these days; prison clearly hasn’t done Simpson any favours.
Simpson sat down at a table across from this reporter in a visitor’s room. He was evasive with answers on many things- including the murder case, the kidnapping case, and his acting days, only saying, “Naked Gun would have never been half the movie it was without me. I don’t get why I wasn’t given top billing in the whole movie, but hey, studios are ****ing fickle.”
The subject of the Super Bowl came up, and Simpson seemed to brighten up at the mention of the game. “Man, I’d love to go out and see that. I tried to get the warden to let me out. I mean, just one day, right? And if you can’t trust O.J. Simpson, who can you trust? But the warden said no way. So I’m stuck here having to watch the game with all the other convicts in here. Damn, what I wouldn’t give.... hell, I’d commit murder to get to see the game live.” He paused, as if realizing what he’d just said, and his voice grew tense. “Hey, don’t you go quoting me on that, you hear?” Guards started closing in as Simpson’s voice rose. “Don’t you quote me! I'll kill you!” Guards were restraining Simpson by now, dragging him away. “If you quote me on that, I’ll cut you, mother****er!”
Simpson was gone, pulled out of the room, still hollering at the top of his lungs. Clearly his temper hadn’t gotten any better down through the years. This reporter made a mental note to have his life insurance adjusted. Between a convicted felon and a grouchy editor... (editor: one more word out of you and I’ll help the Juice finish you off)