| The Super Bowl is here again. Normally, this is not the big event it used to be in my life. I lost a lot of my interest when football seemed to me to become more of a business than a game and became a vehicle for huge advertising campaigns and horrible half time shows staring celebrities I either didn't know, or failed to appreciate and appeared to me to be more about pyrotechnics than talent.
This year, however, I intend to watch it and with some enthusiasm. It isn't just because the New England Patriots are playing and I, duh, live in New England, but more because I want to see them thoroughly annihilate the other team, which I well and truly despise. It may be what might be termed a negative approach to the whole business, but it's mine, and I will be there, rooting for my team and calling down the wrath of a thousand gods upon the other guys.
The fact that the rest of the nation has made that opposing gang of wretched juvenile delinquents their sweetheart team bothers me not at all. I don't care if everyone else hates the Patriots and frankly, I doubt if they do either. I can't see them sitting around hoping for national approval or worrying about whether or not people are walking around in Oklahoma or Iowa wearing their logo somewhere on their person. Who cares what they like anywhere else? This is New England. We don't much care what anybody else is doing.
What I dislike about the other team is what I dislike about what has become of football generally, obnoxious behavior, carrying on like idiot children on the field, celebrating like rabid hyenas when they injure some player, doing stupid dances in the end zone. Actually, they have one player for whom moronic little dances isn't enough he likes to follow it up with grabbing his privates. I realize that they take some kind of twisted pride in being the poster children for bad behavior. They love to talk about themselves as if they were a pack of gangsters who also have a team minister and hold prayer circles before and after every game (go figure), but personally, my dream is to see them all thoroughly thumped and sent to the locker room without their Super Bowl rings.
It's funny how these things play out, but all of a sudden the guys who want so much to be thought of as the championship criminals have become America's sweethearts. That's fine with me, let them be. The press and everyone who finds themselves with a microphone in front of their face has spent the past 2 weeks accusing the Patriots of everything from cheating to being practitioners of black magic. It's all good. I get the feeling that no one in the Patriot organization cares much about it one way or the other. In fact, they are probably perfectly willing to be the evil empire, complete with the power mad emperor, Darth Vader, and all the storm troopers. That works. In fact, I am hoping that they throw open the gates to Hades and swarm onto the field followed by Cerberus the 3 headed dog, a dozen vicious harpies, and all the monsters and hounds of the underworld. I want them to fall upon their opponents like the 9 dark riders on their nazgûl, bringing with them all the black terror and misery of Mordor and a thousand hells. I could make a bunch more literary references, but I think I've made my point.
I remember sitting in front of our small black and white TV and watching the first Super Bowl with my father and brothers. I didn't have any serious investment in the business, but I liked it and had a front row seat in the living room for the next one. I can recall being totally invested in Super Bowl III when the jets beat the Colts. If you'll excuse the pun, it was a serious game changer and my brothers and I thought that Joe Namath, with his hair curling out under his helmet and his white shoes, was the bomb. My mother was so mad when they won that she told us that she wasn't going to make any of us supper, which we thought was kind of funny. We were a football loving family. I saw all the greats play over the years, Bart Starr, Roger Stauback, Gayle Sayers, Walter Peyton, etc. I've been to see games in various stadiums across the country, including near freezing to death in Soldier Field. But in all my football watching life I have never wanted to see any team thumped, bumped, romped, stomped and sent to bed without their supper more than the Seattle Seahawks. I don't even care if it is a good game so long as it is a humiliating defeat.
If it doesn't go my way I am going to be rather disappointed. In fact, it might mean the true end of my football watching life. I read an article the other day which was about a national survey taken by the Public Religion Research Institute that stated that 1 in 4 people believe that God will decide the outcome of the Super Bowl. I find this a little disturbing, mostly because from my point of view, there are a lot of ways God could make more productive use of His time and concern. On the other hand, if all the Seattle Seahawks are believers, there might be some satisfaction in knowing that next Sunday they will find out the hard way that they are not His chosen team.