I’ve avoided all Super Bowl coverage this week.
It involves highlights of past games. Moments immortalized for all time.
There are incredible clips, of Joe Namath’s brash prediction, the crowning jewel of the Miami Dolphins’ perfect season, Eli Manning’s destruction of the New England Patriots’ bid for another undefeated year.
It also includes footage of Denver Broncos woes, shots of Craig Morton getting sacked, guys named Timmy Smith and Joe Morris ripping the Orange Crush defense, and, two numbers: 55-10, the final score of a nightmarish Super Bowl date with the San Francisco 49ers.
There are good moments, too, but I don’t like the chance I’ll see images of Dan Reeves whole-heartedly overwhelmed on the sideline.
Super Bowl woes also extend to the Arizona Cardinals, Marie’s team.
We went nuts when Larry Fitzgerald broke away for a long touchdown to put the Cardinals ahead of the hated Pittsburgh Steelers. We were indignant when the Steelers won on a touchdown that wasn’t.
Honestly, when your team plays for a Super Bowl, to lose is devastation. To win is relief from devastation. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
I tossed together a group of NFL-themed Go Ask Daddy questions today. Let’s hope it helps us get a little relief to enjoy our burgers and salmon and apple pie on the big day, and avoid the need to dress in black to mourn on Monday.
(Yes, we Broncos fans do that.)
1. Why do referees wear stripes?
So it’s easy to pick out whom to yell at.
In the 1920s, refs wore white. Lloyd Olds, a referee from Michigan, decided to wear stripes to the next game after a quarterback in a game he officiated accidentally handed him the football, because he was wearing the same colored shirt as his team.
I went a couple of times to a haircut place that had sports highlights playing non-stop. The stylists wore striped shirts. As a coach, there’s that natural aversion, kind of like mail carriers and dogs, beta fish and other beta fish, and Oakland raiders fans and intelligent conversation.
I couldn’t trust her with scissors. She kept squinting.
2. Do they have to get the ball in the end zone for a touchdown?
By rule, teams must only break the plane of the goal line with the ball. Even by just a centimeter. I think this is wrong. To score six points, I feel like you should have to carry the ball into the end zone and emphatically slam it to the turf, like they do in rugby.
You shouldn’t have to go to replay to determine whether a 250-pound fullback “broke the plane.”
Even a stylist in a striped shirt can break the plane.
3. Why do football players slap each other to celebrate?
If I had my eyeglasses yet, I’d put them on, and push them to the end of my nose for this one.
My mom once told me football players smack each other on the arse because that’s one place that isn’t covered in pads, and they’d feel it. There’s an entire psychology on this, with theories that the slap might mean anything, from good job to I got your back (literally) to, just, hi.
The arse slap can prove costly.
NFL receiver Chad Johnson had to serve 30 days jail time after he smacked his attorney on the backside after a plea bargain was accepted. His judge revoked the bargain, and asked, “is there something funny about this?”
I didn’t get enough playing time to warrant many arse smacks.
I got one during a pickup football game in elementary school. How did I feel? I couldn’t have articulated it at the time, but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of the cocktail waitress who didn’t get a big enough tip.
4. Have Eli and Peyton Manning ever played in a playoff game?
Peyton Manning has played his entire career in the AFC with Indianapolis and Denver, and Eli has played only for the New York Giants, in the NFC. Teams from each conference can’t meet in the playoffs until the Super Bowl.
Can you imagine how cool that Super Bowl matchup would be?
Their father, Archie, yelled at me once.
As I wandered around the pressbox at Clemson’s Death Valley (following the smell of barbecue, most likely), I walked in between Archie and TVs showing highlights of Peyton, then at the University of Tennessee.
Cooper has been a fantastic big brother.
His career cut short by an injury when he played at Mississippi, Cooper doesn’t miss any of his brothers’ big games. In fact, Peyton wears 18 in honor of Cooper, who wore that number at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans.
5. Would you pay $50 for a Super Bowl ticket?
For Denver? Yes.
Also, for Arizona or San Francisco. Or Carolina.
I would not pay $50 for a Super Bowl ticket to see the raiders, ravens or steelers play. I couldn’t stand the prospect of shelling out $50 to see those teams celebrate. To a lower-middle-class working Latino like myself, $50 is a lot of clams.
That’s like, 50 dollar-store items. Well, plus tax.
That’s 50 two-liters of on-sale Coke Zero. Twelve pizzas from the café at work. I could probably find a fake Peyton Manning jersey on eBay, and a whole new (and fresh) wardrobe off the Target clearance racks, for $50.
But to see the Broncos win the Lombardi trophy?
Definitely worth 50 bucks.
Or, roughly our weekly grocery expenses. And two-week supply of cat litter. I could even get a couple haircuts from a place where the stylists don’t wear referee shirts.
Or four haircuts there, if a swat on the arse and a “great cut, Megan!” is enough of a tip.
You’re right. I’ll stick with the cat litter.