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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Basic Biittner : The Super Bowl

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rumor has it there is a BIG pro football game in Indianapolis this Sunday. I think it's the 'New Commercials Bowl.' What's that you say - That's not the official name of the game? Back when it started 46 years ago, it was called the AFC-NFC Championship Game or something like that, but along about the third year of the game, when the "brash Joe Willie Namath" (I think that was actually his full name, but I'm not sure of that) led his upstart AFC New York Jets to a victory over the then-Baltimore Colts, people started calling the game the Super Bowl, and that soon became the official name of the championship game, which has been gradually moving on the calendar from mid-January to late January and now early February.

Well, 'Super Bowl' is not the full name of the game, of course. For some reason, the powers-that-be immediately began attaching a Roman numeral behind the 'Super Bowl' tag, so we would all know which particular game was being referred to.

I don't know about you, but if someone mentioned "Super Bowl XIV" to me, I would have no idea which game they were talking about. Now if they were to say something like "the one where the Cowboys beat the Rams" or "the Steelers beat the Cowboys," I MIGHT have some recollection of it. Oops, poor example. "On further review," as they say, I'm sure there has never been a Rams - Cowboys Super Bowl, because both teams play in the NFC.

My point (yes, there is one) is that the Super Bowl is seldom about the game itself, unless you're a huge fan of one of the teams. More often, it' has become about all the 'hoopla' surrounding the game, the Halftime celebrity performer, etc. Many people just hope for a decent , competitive game. And often, they haven't gotten their wish - although there have been a few games in recent years which met that criteria, for example, the Steelers- Cardinals game a couple of years ago.

At any rate, when it comes to the NFL, unlike baseball, my personal favorite team seems to fluctuate from year-to-year. I used to be a Colts fan and then (in order) I was a fan of fan the Packers, the Jets, the Steelers, the 49'ers, the Packers again,the Colts again ... you get the idea (and yes, I know that my favorite team seems to be the current dominant team)

As for this year, early on I liked the Lions, because: a) they have been so bad for so many years, and b) because two men who played in the CABA baseball tournament in Aurelia many years ago (Jeff Backus and Dominic Raiola) have been regular offensive linemen for the Lions for more than a decade.

When the Lions were eliminated, I went with my old favorite Packers, but they, too, were defeated in the playoffs. Going into the two Division Championship games, I discovered that I was rooting for the Ravens (because i've admired the careers of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed) and the 49'ers (because I thought it would be "cool" to have the Harbaugh brothers face each other in the "big game"). I also realized that one of my reasons for pulling for 'San Fran' was that I really dislike the "New York Football Giants-" always have and probably always will. It started 50+ years ago when they lost to the Unitas/Berry/Moore/Marchetti Colts in two straight NFL Championship games (pre-Super Bowl) and continued through when they played the Bears in the '63 Championship game. I have just never warmed to the Giants.

I think I once liked their opponent this week, New England, but you know, because of their years of success and the nature of their Head Coach, the Patriots seem to be in danger of becoming what "my" Yankees are to many people - "the team you love to hate."

My "Rogues Gallery" of former New York Giants includes Hall of Famers Frank Gifford (above) Sam Huff, Y.A. Tittle and Lawrence Taylor - all pictured here in their glory days. File photos from AP.
So, it will be hard for me to really care who wins this week's game. I guess I'll just be rooting for a "good game" when I get together with my friends this Sunday.

Lawrence Taylor
Y.A. Tittle
Sam Huff
What else is new?

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner