Super Bowl LIV notes

I skipped the entire pregame programming, and watched the Ice Bowl (Packers-Cowboys: December 31, 1967), and then Super Bowl XI (Raiders-Vikings: January 9, 1977) on YouTube instead. I do this because: 1) I’d never seen the Ice Bowl, and viewing it offers historical perspective on the NFL; and 2) SB XI was the first one I watched, and I still remember a lot of the key plays upon review.

This is much different than going to a Super Bowl party, which is what most people do, but being a sportswriter means one has to take an alternate approach to big events. I tune-in to Super Bowl LIV just as SF kicker Robbie Gould is placing the ball on the tee for the opening kick-off. Perfect timing.

I’m not a gambler, but I am acutely aware that I’ve already missed a few important SB wagers. Heads or tails? Who will win the toss? I’ll have to look those up, if I ever need that info. That’s what you miss when you come late to a Super Bowl.

If you’ve been in Miami these past few weeks, enjoying the festivities as they say, then you can be excused for being late to the game, or missing it entirely– with all the parties, drugs & hookers going on. I know it’s difficult for some people to believe that the championship contest of such a violent ground acquisition game, whose point is to smash the opposition into submission, could be a bastion of hedonism & sexual exploitation, but it’s true.

I’ve never been to a Super Bowl, and have little desire to attend one. I generally keep the volume muted during any Joe Buck broadcast. Fox does that to you.

It was one of the better Super Bowl games. Back & forth, close to the end. That one big pass play (Mahomes to Hill) turned everything around in the 4th quarter. That’s what playmakers do, and that was the difference. Chiefs win 31-20.

I thought the 49ers were more physical, and did a good job imposing their will. But they could never pull away, and once they got behind late it was over, because that’s not who they are. Andy Reid is a great football coach. He had answers when his team was getting smashed in the mouth. His QB Patrick Mahomes delivered the big plays when it counted most.

That’s the game narrative, and it wasn’t too much of a surprise. It rarely is anymore, which says something. There were lots of concussions & other injuries that no one cares about. No controversial missed calls, blown plays, or wardrobe malfunctions– which everyone cares about. The Super Bowl is an annual carnival of madness & debauchery.

I watched a few seconds of halftime show headliners Jennifer Lopez & Shakira, and that was enough for me. I then switched back to the classic Columbo episode “Lady in Waiting” on ME TV. Susan Clark isn’t much of a villain, but it’s always great watching Richard Anderson get shot dead, and then seeing Leslie Nielsen play the boyfriend-caught-in-the-middle.

I did this for all the commercials too with the help of classic M*A*SH episodes and whatever else I could find. Way too much propaganda & virtue signaling at $5.8M per 30-second spot for my taste. I don’t see anything that I want. It’s as if so much fake money exists, that the propaganda & branding becomes more important than selling product. The commercials are all inane, overblown & unappealing. I skillfully missed them. One can get really good at that after 40-something Super Bowls.

Super Bowl hangover: Monday February 3, 2020 10:53 AM EST

Don Meredith was the Cowboys QB in the Ice Bowl. He was their original play-caller, and a party hearty 1960’s NFL star until he retired in 1969. Dandy Don then joined the Monday Night Football broadcast team in the 1970’s. As a color analyst he used to ramble on & say stupid stuff, which makes him comparable to Troy Aikman today.

Meredith was notoriously addicted to booze, pills & women– like so many others of his era. In retrospect, Meredith’s downward spiral can be seen as the reason the Cowboys lost the Ice Bowl to Bart Starr & the Green Bay Packers, as RB Dan Reeves threw the ball better than QB Don Meredith on that bitter cold day.

In the video linked at the top, we see decades later, Meredith still had excuses to blame others as to why the Cowboys lost twice to the Packers– before Super Bowls I & II. In many ways this mirrors the current Dallas QB situation with Dak Prescott, who is about to be franchise tagged by owner Jerry Jones. I don’t know his personal habits, but I do know Dak Prescott isn’t a very good NFL QB. But no matter, he will soon be paid as the “real deal” because he plays for the Dallas Cowboys.

I’ll finish up on the Cowboys by stating that their best QB ever was Roger Staubach, and their best QB to ever turn TV analyst is Tony Romo. Their best head coach was Jimmy Johnson, and their worst was Barry Switzer.

The NFL branded this past campaign as their 100th season with a marketing blitz we’ve never seen before. The NFL has so much history, that it’s easy to put together best-of lists, personal interviews & historical clips to legitimize the game. The NFL & ESPN are good at that. What they can’t hide is the horrible ugliness beneath all the glitz & glory. That’s the annual Super bowl hangover.