You’re sitting on the couch thinking how much you hate the New England Patriots…
How the whole event seems long in the tooth. That the commercials aren’t funny anymore and Lady Gaga is boring. And you’re just letting it play out, because with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick you just never know.
Then they started to come back.
I remember when the team was a joke, when they were still called the Boston Patriots and their stadium was a suburban dump.
I remember when our nation was shocked when Joe Namath not only predicted a victory, but pulled it off.
I remember when MTV counterprogrammed the halftime show. When all of America was addicted to television and football reigned.
Before the players were revealed to beat up their spouses and an overpaid commissioner in bed with the owners didn’t know how to respond.
Before it was clear that a life in the game meant a hobbled one thereafter – certainly physically, and oftentimes mentally.
Before our whole nation decided they just did not need the NFL anymore and ratings tanked.
I’ve seen the X Games peak and fade.
That’s right, the Boomers believed in football – baseball was their parents’ sport – and then Gen X’ers cottoned to extreme sports. However now snowboarding is dying and video games are everything. We live in a virtual world where busting up your body for entertainment just doesn’t play anymore.
And then Tom Brady and his band of merrymen turn over the table and you just don’t know what to think.
It was good to see the Atlanta Falcons winning. The unheralded faceless team made the Patriots look like amateurs. But like the Pinkertons chasing Butch and Sundance, with Brady and Edelman on the field you just could not relax.
Then they were back in it and then they were gonna win – you just knew it.
As Bob Costas famously says, sports are a metaphor for life. So what lessons did we learn tonight?
Never give up. And the truth is most people do. Because of peer pressure.
The Patriots were never defeated in their brains. They knew they still had a chance to win. Even as the minutes kept ticking and victory looked more and more impossible.
As for the Falcons, they were playing not to lose, and that’s rarely a winning strategy.
So you’re sitting in front of the television, a passe pastime if there ever was one. You’re enduring the commercials. You’ve taken hours out of your Sunday. And you feel smugly justified believing this ritual is over the hill.
And then the Patriots start to move the ball and you tune out the penumbra – the commercials and the commentators cease to exist – and you know Brady, et al, are going to win, because that’s what they do.
We trumpet those with little of it.
Sam Smith is a good act, but an arena tour on the first album?
How about Lady Gaga, whose most famous song is a Madonna rip-off.
She doesn’t have a manager who knows the rule; which is you never let someone upstage you. The chances of dominating the game are insignificant. Prince did it – he got the trophy – and now it’s been retired. Conquer new worlds.
But in today’s environment no one can give up the exposure, everybody wants to be seen by millions and no one has any self-respect.
The big winner tonight?
Which went from unknown to known in an evening. They got their money’s worth with their sponsorship.
As for the commercials, everyone mostly broke the number one rule, which is you’re supposed to remember the product, which was rare. Then again, after Apple established this paradigm in 1984, no one could equal it. But they keep dyin’ tryin’.
Which brings us back to the game.
What you want from entertainment is surprise.
You want to be caught off guard; you’re ready for the unexpected.
And Gaga didn’t deliver on this whatsoever.
She flew down like Pink into a sea of sycophants we’ve seen at every recent Super Bowl and then she sang songs that most people don’t care about.
Because she could – there was no art there.
Remember when it was a badge of honor not to dance? To let the music speak for itself?
Then you’re over 50; music has become about the trappings, sold with less than memorable tunes, which is why the whole scene is second-rate. Do you really think that anybody cares about Gaga who didn’t before?
I think you’re wrong.
And the crass commercialism of the NFL makes one barf.
They’d sell signage at a funeral. It’s amazing they even give time to the game anymore.
And there are so many rules that not only is the game hard to comprehend, it turns on whims.
The penalties. The resulting first downs; the moving of the ball into touchdown territory. It seems that the infractions are more important than most of the plays.
However it is a sport of human beings.
And when you saw the Patriots move the ball down the field, it was a thing of beauty. It made you a believer. Had you thinking you could win in your own life, which is a message that needs to be heard.
So that’s it ’til fall folks.
Since the Patriots came back we’ll remember they won, whereas if the Falcons had emerged victorious we would have instantly forgotten it.
However the institution of the Super Bowl needs a rethink. It’s long in the tooth. It’s waiting to be superseded.
But when played right the game still works.
It worked right tonight.