SUPERB BOWL . . .
. . . and my introduction to the machinations of professional football was the Super Bowl played in February, 2008, between the New York Giants and one man, Tom Brady, leading the New England Patriots.
Alone in New York on a Sunday night in winter my sense of anticipation for the evening stretched all the way to that evening’s episode of House. For company, I had a giant packet of crisps, some Sierra Nevada and Ben and Jerry. Perfect companions. Calories without cooking. From the sofa to the coffee table and back again.
Alas, no House as the television went over to Arizona for the Super Bowl. I had forgotten all about it, if ever I had remembered. I particularly remember not caring. However, something in the game began to click and soon I began to care. Loneliness works in mysterious ways.
Led by QB Eli Manning, the Giants were the outsiders, the wild card team. The Patriots came to the finals without having lost a game throughout the entire season. Why would they lose this one? But lose it they did in a game which went to the brutal edge of a sharp knife. At the end of the 3rd quarter the Patriots were leading the Giants 7 – 3. It took all the action of the 4th quarter for the game to go from one to the other and back again and, with 2.42 mins remaining, the Patriots took the lead to 14 -10.
So much, however, can happen in a minute and indeed it did. The Giants took the lead with 35 secs left on the clock and the Patriots took a beating. Their first, and only, loss of the season.
Well, that was exciting, I thought to myself with a nod to my Sierra Nevada. A brief silent pause was all that existed between the end of the game and the roaring cheers from every corner of the neighbourhood.
Taking to the street with coat and camera I was not alone. Sports bars up and down Second Ave in the east 80’s emptied out on to the street bringing traffic to a complete stand-still. Not only did the Giants win but, more importantly, they had beaten bitter rivals, the Patriots. In freezing temperatures, topless men, and some near topless women, made merry with the chant that Boston Sucks.
Covering this wonderful mayhem was an NBC news crew from an outside broadcast van. Back at the apartment I tuned in to watch this live broadcast. The young, blonde signed off “reporting live from Third Avenue, somewhere near 83rd and 84th where the fans have gone crazy!”
So she mixed up her avenues, a slip of the tongue. No big deal. However, this was given as information to the public on the NBC no less. A simple enough fact.
This Super Bowl was only part of a bigger picture being played out on the national stage. This was election year and the primaries to nominate candidates for both the Democrats and the Republicans were just beginning. America was still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hillary Clinton voted in favour of going to war, Obama against. Debates were fierce and campaigns became the sport of choice, for both participants and spectators.
Remember the Weapons of Mass Destruction? We, in the UK, were told by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, that deployment of such would reach their target, the UK, within 45 minutes. We all went to war and still the WMD remain elusive.
Hospitals and civilian neighbourhoods in Iraq were bombed. Accidentally. Misinformation and screwed up co-ordinates. Someone’s slip of the tongue.
The war limps on. Super Bowl has come and gone. The next election campaign is way down the tracks. Keith Olbermann is no longer stirring the pot at MSNBC.
All is not lost however. We will always have Seinfeld . . .