Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday

As if I had to tell you that's what today was. One of the few events that basically shuts most of the country down for four hours, and causes water pressure to go down significantly for 30 minutes during that period!

I'll admit I'm not nearly as crazy about football and "the game" nearly as much as I used to be when I was a child. Biggest reason is I've been a season ticket holder for the local National Hockey League franchise, the San Jose Sharks, since they begin playing. But, they're a topic for another time.

Most people, if they spend any time, will probably come up with their first Super Bowl memory. I had to sit and think quite some time. The first game I can remember watching was probably Super Bowl V. But, all I really remember were the teams playing (Baltimore Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys).

We were always Raiders fans in our house, and it seemed like every year they'd get to the playoffs, only to be defeated. It looked like they were headed for a date in the AFC championship game. In fact they were only 22 seconds away from squeaking a 7-6 win out when it happened. The play that went down in history as the Immaculate Reception; a strange bounce that has been argued about in football circles to this date. It was back to Oakland for the Raiders, with the Steelers heading on, loosing the next week to the undefeated Miami Dolphins.

My parents invited my best friend at the time, Mikey, over and we had our first Super Bowl party that year. Nothing extravagant. Biggest thing I remember was having Spaghetti dip (mix a package of dry spaghetti sauce mix into sour cream, just like you do with onion soup mix), and potato chips. Probably had Coca Cola to drink. And that the Miami Dolphins won the game, becoming the first, and only, team to go undefeated through the 1972 season, playoffs and Super Bowl VII.

We continued to watch the game every year, but the next big memory I have was when the Raiders finally got to the big game, Super Bowl XI. The NFL was guaranteed of a new champion this year as both the Raiders and Minnesota Vikings had been to the Super Bowl, but never won. This was also the first time the NFL played the game at the Rose Bowl, the largest venue to hold the game up to that time, and the third largest crowd in Super Bowl history.

The 1980s were a wonderful decade if you were a Bay Area football fan. The Raiders returned to the Super Bowl in 1981, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles, and then the following year it was that team over in the West Bay, the San Francisco 49ers, to win their first Super Bowl after a last minute heroic fling from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark, known as The Catch. The Raiders and 49ers would appear in three more Super Bowls that decade, winning them all. The Raiders appearance was a little bittersweet as they'd moved to Los Angeles the prior year. I actually rooted for the Washington Redskins that year. The Raiders won 38-9….sigh!!

Another neat thing was that for the first time the game was played in San Francisco in 1985. I guess I shouldn't really say "in" San Francisco as it was played down in Palo Alto, on the Stanford Stadium campus. Adding intrigue to this was the fact that the San Francisco 49ers were playing (they won!!). Ironically, I was 1000+ miles away at college at the time the game was played, and as a poor college student there was no way I would have been able to fly home for the weekend, nor buy a ticket. While they were below $100 face value, scalpers were asking for a whole lot more around here.

The only Super Bowl memory actually from college was when the Bears played the Patriots. Everyone in my fraternity house was going for the Bears except for me and my friend Roger. When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE; from the brothers, to the Little Sisters to any house guests who were over. Became a really ugly game for Roger and I pretty quickly. The Bears were just that much of a better team.

For whatever reason our family never really did the big blow out Super Bowl parties that you see and hear about. Also, I generally never went over to any either. Probably watched a handful of games with my father. However, if the Raiders or 49ers weren't involved, there's a good chance he wasn't' there either. That's OK, because we did other father/son type stuff.

In fact, the last time I went to a party was a get together some of the men from church had, where we had an unofficial chili cooking contest. Nobody really received an award, but it was all good comradeship. I honestly don't even remember which year that was, but think it was a couple Super Bowls ago. The last few I've stayed at home and watched with my trusty sidekicks Jake and Sally. Not much for conversation, and if they had their choice they're rather be watching Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl instead.

You can probably count me amongst those that actually enjoy watching the commercials just as much as the game, if not more. It's crazy what they're paying for spots these days. But, they realize they can catch the casual football fan, and the spouses of those that are just tagging along, if they're memorable. Unfortunately, those are even being leaked by way of the Internet days before the game. What happened to suspense people!!?!?!?!?!I

And one comment. What's up with the design of Lucas Field? It looks like an old barn with it's boxy shape and huge window at the end.

Catch you later! It's less than 60 minutes before the kickoff.

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