Superbowl LI: Meh.Posted: February 6, 2017
I’ve not long woken up and am feeling incredibly bleurgh, so forgive me if I ramble. This is because I stayed up far too late watching the Superbowl last night. And it wasn’t worth it.
Don’t worry I’m not going to trot out the usual stupid British criticisms of “Rugby players don’t need those pads” or “why is it called football when they use their hands so much”.
No, the reason I fear it wasn’t worth it was because I didn’t really care that much about the outcome. I decided to watch because I like the sport, and because of the occasion.
Even non football fans have to admit that the Superbowl is one hell of a spectacle. It’s like the mutant baby of the the FA Cup final (or at least what it used to be) and Wrestlemania, with enough fireworks to open and close an Olympics.
But I had no strong feelings for either side. The Atlanta Falcons were a nonentity to me and while I have picked the New England Patriots to back in the past (I forget why) I’m hardly a fan. And it’s not the kind of sport where you can develop a feel for a team midway. In other games it’s easy to pick a team- you can be won over by skill, character or an individual player or turn against a team because of cheating, attitude or a specific player.
It’s for this reason that this season just gone my only real cares concerned three teams- the New York Jets, San Francisco’s 49rs and the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders are probably as close to having a team as I get, and this is built on shaky foundations. They have the coolest logo and colour scheme and were the favourite of nineties rappers.
The Jets are the team supported by a friend, so I like when they do well as he seems chuffed for them.
And the 49rs? Well that’s because of one man Colin Kaepernick. I admired his quiet protest against the violence and oppression of minorities in America and felt he carried himself with dignity amongst the backlash. For that reason, I wanted him and his teammates to do well.
Beyond that I find it hard to really get behind US sports teams because I don’t have connections with any particular state or city, and many don’t have an identity that shines through to an outsider.
Take football here in the UK. I’m a Swansea fan, but over the years have built up a whole heap of feelings for other teams. I have teams I have soft spots for (Bristol Rovers, Wimbledon, West Ham, Middlesborough, Crystal Palace) and teams I dislike to various degrees (Cardiff, Leeds, Arsenal, Chelsea). There are managers and players I like and dislike, and years of following the sport has built up these biases.
Maybe US sports fans have the same, but as a distant and infrequent observer, I’m oblivious to these quirks and the history of the teams.
But I watched the whole first half with no real connection to either. Some were pulling for Atlanta as part of a heavy handed resistance versus Trump angle, but I wasn’t feeling it. It’s not the Patriot players fault Trump is on friendly terms with Tom Brady and the higher ups. And there are probably lots of Pats fans who hate Cheeto Mussolini.
So, who should I pick. I could have been a glory boy and start pulling for the Falcons as they took a dominating lead in the second quarter, but I remained kind of neutral.
In fact I was more excited about the approaching half time show featuring Lady Gaga, as there was plenty of build up. Would there be guest stars? Would it be an attack on the new President?
It turned out to be a belter, with Gaga starting off atop the stadium with an obvious dig at Trump and a call for unity. She then leapt down and descended by wire to the centre where she blazed through a series of her hits. As for guest appearances? Nope, she didn’t need any.
In the second half I continued to not care.
The Patriots closed the gap, but it still looked like the trophy was heading to Georgia. I could have gone to bed then as with Gaga done, I didn’t care.
And then in the last quarter the Patriots staged a massive comeback. They added nineteen points without any response from Arizona, leaving scores tied at 28-28.
Still, I didn’t care. Part of me was hoping Atlanta could score as it would be a cruel twist for their fans to lose so late in the day. But on the flip side you couldn’t help but admire the Patriots for getting back into it, and does a team that throws away such a big lead deserve the win.
As it was the Patriots got the overtime winner and claimed the title. It was a dramatic finish but by this stage I was watching because I’d gone too far and it seemed silly to leave before seeing it through.
So, yeah, next year I might give the Superbowl a miss and just enjoy a good night’s sleep, and just watch the halftime show online the next day.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.