|Levi's Stadium (Source)|
I used to be glued to my television set every Sunday, many a Monday, and then many a Thursday for many, many years. Then a few years ago I just got tired of the hype and the nonsense surrounding the game.
I don't care all that much for the college version of the game. Probably because when I was in college, my alma mater's team was simply horrid. My professors would tell tales of going to conferences at other institutions of higher learning and being mocked by the professors there for being a professor at a school with a terrible football team.
Odd that as I don't recall any of my professors admitting to having played the game. In fact, most of them didn't seem very athletic at all, nor were their counterparts at those other schools. I guess it's all about "school pride." Something I can understand, but only peripherally.
For you see, I was a non-traditional student. I did go to college right out of high school but that only lasted a year. It seems that drinking beer was not an approved course of study in those days. In fact, I was attempting to major in Modern Languages at a school primarily known for engineering and the sciences. As a matter of fact, I was in no way ready to go to college. As I told my late father, "No, Dad. I'm not going back in the fall. It's a waste of my time and your money." He understood that, especially the latter point.
Anyhoo (and we all know what that signifies), I did return to college but I was married with two, and then three, kids. So I didn't hang out much with my fellow students. Especially because if they weren't in class or at the computer lab, they were working. For my part, Uncle Sam was paying my way, the Air Force to be precise. They paid for everything but the books (for which I did get a stipend) and I received my regular paycheck for being an E-5 Staff Sergeant.
So school spirit was, shall we say, underdeveloped in me. Very underdeveloped. In later years when my college actually became somewhat better at the sport they went to a bowl game. One in which they went up against the Midshipmen of the Trade School on the Severn.
Yes, I did root for the Middies. They won. The whole family was happy. Well, I don't think the cats cared one way or the other. They tend to be hockey fans in my family. That puck absolutely fascinates them.
So Sunday night (getting back on track after that rather long preamble) The Missus Herself and I settled in for a rare event these days, watching television. I will watch the occasional game during the season, rare because most of the announcers suck, the camera work is abysmal, and the officiating is beyond terrible. I know, I know, the refs are "only human" but they seem, with some exceptions, to get worse every season.
The league itself I find somewhat distasteful. They have finally managed to cram down my throat that "hey, it's a business." As they don't really seem to care about the fans, why should we care about them? If it's a business you wish to be, it's as a business I shall treat you. That is, with a certain amount of disdain and a great deal of skepticism. While I don't really think the games are decided beforehand, there are days I wonder.
(I have a friend who thinks the NFL is on a par with the World Wrestling Federation. Fixed, phony, and funny. While I don't go that far, there are days.)
Anyhoo (there's that word again), I have long been a fan of the Denver Broncos. Which means I like them, not that I have dedicated my life to them or anything. I like them because I spent a number of years in Colorado and they kind of grow on you. After all, I was there during the early part of John Elway's career. I am a big Elway fan. Other players come and go, the team changes, I don't live there anymore.
No, now I live in New England, home to the storied, loved, despised, and hated Patriots. The home team in these parts generates many and varied emotions across this land of ours. The boos which greeted Tom Brady at the introduction of the past Super Bowl MVP winners showed that. There were many here in New England who immediately pointed out that everyone in the San Francisco Bay area, where the game was played, are Communist sympathizers and sissies who felt threatened by the New England quarterback.
Well, I have friends in the Bay Area, so I know that's not the case. But the Patriots are one of those "hate them" or "love them" teams, there seems to be little middle ground.
And for those of you who didn't know it, all NFL teams "cheat." Some more than others. Grow up. It's about the same as when I do ten miles over the speed limit. "Hey, come on, everyone's doing it." For the most part they all are. Football is a multi-billion dollar industry. If bending the rules will bring home the bacon, it will happen. And no, I don't believe that Roger Goodell is the Antichrist, though I know some who do believe that. I don't.
At any rate (a euphemism for "anyhoo"), we watched the game and rooted for the Broncos. The Missus Herself and The Nuke are big Peyton Manning fans. I like the guy, he's a great quarterback and an entertaining guy.
I like Cam Newton as well. He's a bright young talent who will probably go far in this sport. He has the athletic talent and the brains to be in this game again. Yes, he lost on Sunday, his team lost, he was kind of a petulant child after the game. I don't blame him. I'm not going to throw stones here. I can just see the headlines if I had been Cam...
"Old AF Sarge drops F-bombs on national TV, punches out idiot reporter for asking the same stupid question over and over, then storms out of the press conference..."Yeah, don't blame you Cam, losing sucks. As you mature you'll learn. We all have.
Going into the game I wasn't sure which was the scarier of the strengths of each team: Carolina's high scoring offense or Denver's smothering defense.
Well, that Denver defense was scary. They dominated the game, the outcome was probably sealed when Von Miller strip-sacked Cam Newton which resulted in a Denver touchdown. That same defense made Tom Brady look pretty ineffective two weeks ago as well. They are fast and smart.
As for Peyton, he did enough to "not lose." Not a great ending to a storied career but a sweet ending nevertheless and the capstone to an epic career. (Provided of course he calls it quits after this season. I think he might. As Michael Corleone might say, "It's the smart move...")
Many years ago, when stationed in Germany, The Missus Herself and I watched John Elway finally lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory, the Bronco's owner, a very classy man by the name of Pat Bowlen, held the Vince Lombardi trophy aloft and proclaimed, "This one's for John!" A tribute to the team's earlier losses in three Super Bowls.
Last night, fittingly I thought, John Elway hoisted that trophy skyward and announced, "This one's for Pat!" Mr. Bowlen is suffering from Alzheimer's. The team remembered.
Sometimes football can be classy.
Still, I enjoy it from time to time, just try not to make as much of an emotional investment in the sport as I used to. I guess as one ages, one's passions aren't nearly as intense.
Anyway, I watched the big game Sunday night.
One final note, the commercials were a disappointment, the halftime show sucked big time, and I think CBS should be ashamed of themselves.
And it snowed again on Monday.
Like The Missus Herself is fond of saying, "Well, after all, it is winter." (Which translates to "quit bitching and go clear the walk.")
Life goes on...