Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Big Game

Levi's Stadium (Source)
I confess to being a fan of the American version of football, which I will admit, has little to do with the foot and is more about blocking, tackling, and long boring commercials. It is a violent game and I very much enjoyed playing the sport back when I was a lad.

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...


  1. Your college comments sparked a memory. When I was in chemistry lab, my partner was an AF sarge. She was mostly female from the neck down, but her head sent mixed messages. She smoked, wore glasses, and was very gruff. I figured she was a few years older than me, maybe 10. Chem Lab was from 0800-1100 if I remember right, and she asked me one day," you want to go get a beer or something after class?" That always struck me as a bit strange. We didn't talk much during class, but I guess I made an impression!

    1. So did you have that beer with her?

      You certainly must have impressed her. I mean, we sergeants won't drink with just anybody.

    2. "we sergeants won't drink with just anybody."
      Well...that depends on whose buying.

    3. Heh. Juvat knows NCOs.

      It often depends on who is buying.

    4. I once (or twice) had a beer with a female Air Force NCO. She was stationed at Giant Killer at the time and was the USAF version of a scope dope. She was pretty cool and kind of exotic in a green-fatigued sort of way.

    5. I'm sure Juvat would want to know who was buying...

    6. That was a long time ago. I'm reasonably sure that I bought, but I'm also reasonably sure that I made her work for it. As a naval aircrewman I had certain standards to uphold.

    7. Whew. Glad to hear you maintained the high standards of the Navy in dealing with the junior service.

    8. Leadership. It's a burden.

      Hahaha! ;)

  2. We seem to be on the same page, football wise. Other stuff too, but we're talking football today.

    1. Yes, I read your post regarding this topic. Seriously, Domino's? I mean I like it okay, but where you're at? That's like going to Taco Bell in Sandy Eggo.

  3. Agreed pretty much all. I did like the Doritos/sonogram commercial though.

    1. I did like the Doritos commercial.

      Many of the others were disappointing, tedious, and/or lame.

  4. I was a ginormous football fan for most of my life. College more than pro (one word: Cornhuskers), but I enjoyed the pro game too. Spent a hell of a lot of time watching the game, played in sandlots and upon the Jr. and Sr. High gridirons. Made it to the second round at state my junior year where we got smashed by a Catholic semi-pro team from Omaha. Now there's a digression!

    I unplugged from the television grid some years ago when I realized that 99.9999821 percent of the carp on the box has been folded, spindled and mutilated to fit the national progressive narrative. Not that I feel strongly about that or anything, but I recognized that the tee-vee wasn't going to change just because I yelled at it. For me it was a waste of time and money and gave me a bad case of grumpy so I unplugged and took the sets to the recycle center. Yet another digression!

    Cut to the chase. I like the Broncos even though I call 'em the Donks. I like Denver even though... Well, strike that. I don't like Denver.

    At any rate, no television and no football for me, with the exception of Army-Navy which I follow on the internet and watch at a neighbor's hacienda. So I did not even consider following the superbowel.

    I was surprised, however, to be alerted to the results of the game by my smart(@$$)phone. JC Penny sent me an "alert" (apparently I forgot to deselect something) within moments of the game ending -- "Congrats to the world champ Donks, now order some shirts!"

    What a country! ;)

    1. Later this year all the poor kids in Third World countries will be replacing their 2015 Super Bowl Champion Seahawks shirts and hats with 2016 Super Bowl Champion Panthers shirts and hats.

      At the end of the game I was heard to exclaim "Thirty dollars for an effing hat!!!! YHGTBSM!!" At which point The Missus Herself told me to "calm down and go to bed."

  5. It's kind of ironic that Brady was booed.
    (this is the first place I heard about it, but I digress [grins]]
    His football career began there.

    I've made my feelings about the NFL known.
    I won't belabor any further, because I hate it when others do it.

    1. The irony of Tom Brady being booed in Santa Clara was no doubt lost upon the ee-jits doing the booing.

      Thank you for not belaboring, though you're always welcome to do so here. :)

  6. As usual, I tend to agree with you Sarge. As an old (I stress OLD) defensive lineman O thought it was a pretty good game. I'm all for seeing three short runs, fourth and four, and a punt. Particularly if it's the other guy. I thought that Snickers, Doritos, and the obsessive father took the ad sweepstakes - but I thought that they were ALL petty disappointing.

    As to the reaction to Tom Brady, I don't think that was a "Bay area" thing. I suspect that it was because of so many Bronco fans in the stands. I'm not a Pats fan, but I admire Brady. He is one heck of a quarterback.

    1. Well, having lived in Colorado a number of years, I don't recall Bronco fans being that, shall we say, boorish?

      Except if the Raiders were in town. Then all bets were off.

  7. We (the family) arrived in Denver back in the day of Craig Morton, Rick Upchurch, Randy Gradishar and Steve Watson. The "Orange Crush." Back when dancing and smirking and posturing in the end zone after a score was a non-thought. It's frankly very nice to see the old men of the game (a la P. Manning) showing the young bloods how a classy guy handles fame, fortune and, yes, loss.

    Haven't followed NFL for decades, and I, too, "Goodwilled" my TV some decades ago for lack of enough stimulating fare to justify the fare increase that my cable company demanded. Haven't missed it. OTOH, I did watch Sunday's game on my laptop (CBS graciously streamed it live.)


    1. Those names you mentioned? Those were good guys, Steve Watson (81) was one of the most clutch receivers I ever watched. I called him "Mr Third Down," need a first down, throw it to Steve. If it was physically possible to catch, he caught it. Even some of the ones which looked physically impossible, he'd catch.

      End zone celebrations can be pretty immature. I loved the Barry Sanders approach, hand the ball to the official and head back to the bench. Act like it's no big thing, like scoring TDs is what they pay you to do, not like it's some miraculous event. Some of the new kids don't understand that. It's too bad.

    2. Remember "The Drive"? "We got 'em right where we want 'em!" Ahhh, the "good old days."

      Wow. Wikipedia even has an entry on that. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Drive

    3. One of my all time favorite games. Second best was "The Fumble."

      Good times.

  8. I'm not crazy about football and yet I don't dislike it either. Yes it is a violent game but also a game of finesse - where it can be as tough gaining a few inches as a 90 yard return. I watched about half the game. Unlike many "super" bowls there was no blow out this time and both teams should be proud of a hard-fought game. Thought Carolina still had a chance until 5 minutes or so to the end when Denver sealed it.

    Everybody likes a winner.

    During the heyday of the 49ers, when Bill Walsh took a perennially losing team to make them a powerhouse, you could not find anyone in No CA who wasn't a 49er fan. And yet pre-Walsh you'd see maybe 5,000 people in the old Kezar stadium.

    Me, my absolute favorite team was the old pre-Los Angeles Oakland Raiders. From the late 60s-70s.

    With guys like Kenny Stabler and Gene Upshaw.

    Didn't matter what happened in the 1st 3 quarters - just the last.

    Didn't matter how far down they were, or how badly the game seemed to go for them.

    For the 3 of you out there who know nothing about the Heidi Game, look it up.

    Ever since that game, no network will leave a game for regularly scheduled programming.

    1. I was watching that game when they switched over to Heidi, I'm pretty sure my Mom heard words from me that she didn't think I knew.

      The 60s-70s Raiders were awesome. Seeing Biletnikoff using a cane before the game broke my heart, the man was so damn fast back in the day.

      The Silver and Black were the team everybody loved to hate back then. Why? They were so damn good, and they knew it.

  9. With a few exceptions, "Buncha overpaid thugs" sums up my thoughts on Pro Sports.

    1. College football has leaned that way in the past (think University of Miami, aka "The U") and probably will again in the future (if that behavior ever stopped).

      But yeah, not going to argue this point, there are exceptions and those probably prove the rule.

  10. Sister, daughter in law, and a ton of cousins are HeeHaw (donkey bray) fanatics. It will be a long year listening to them rub it in.
    Early sixties worked security at the Bronco games. Started disliking them then. The Raiders were the class of the visiting teams. A&M players actually went to class as opposed to the team to the South.

    1. I would think that working security at any large event where emotions run high and alcohol is served would expose a fellow to a higher proportion of a$$holes than might otherwise be apparent in "normal" times.

      Just a guess.

      Many fans, who didn't play in the game, will be insufferable throughout the year after a championship.

      Again, just a guess.

    2. Those days in the old Bears Park (AAA Affiliate) the legendary South Stand seats were $2 open admission, bring your own beverage. We earned our $20 a game pay. There was a group of pleasing plump ladies who arrived two hours early to insure they sat front row behind the goal posts. As strategic times, they would expose themselves. Come December, you had to admire their dedication.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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