Today is Super Bowl Sunday.
Millions of Americans will tune in to watch the game, and plenty will gather with friends for parties. Pizza, chicken wings, chips and dip, and beer will be consumed in vast quantities.
For me, though, the Super Bowl jumped the shark a long time ago. It used to be appointment TV, and I would carefully block off a few hours so I could watch the big game. Now I’m more interested in watching the commercials and the halftime show.
I’m old enough to remember when Up with People performed the halftime show four times between 1976 and 1986. I can also remember when the Super Bowl commercials weren’t “leaked” the week before the game. I refuse to watch the previews, even though they are hard to avoid.
My rooting interest in the NFL has fluctuated through the years. When I was kid growing up in the early 1970s, I liked the Miami Dolphins. They won back-to-back Super Bowls, including their perfect season of 1972.
Then I began pulling for the Pittsburgh Steelers, because they were the best team of that time frame and my mom liked Terry Bradshaw and Co. Then, at some point, I switched allegiance to the Cleveland Browns, because that’s who my dad pulled for and the “Kardiac Kids,” as they were known, were always exciting.
In the pre-Super Bowl era, the Browns were one of the most dominant teams in football history. Otto Graham and Jim Brown powered the team as Cleveland racked up eight championships between 1946 and 1964.
The Browns, though, have fallen on hard times since last being relevant in the 1980s. The franchise moved to Baltimore, which had lost its team, the Colts, to Indianapolis. The Baltimore Ravens have won the Super Bowl twice, and the Indianapolis Colts have prevailed once. The Cleveland Browns, though, are one of four franchises (Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars) that have never made the Super Bowl.
It was also fun to watch players with Aiken ties compete on the Super Bowl stage. Who can forget William “Refrigerator” Perry scoring a touchdown?
I used to be able to recite chapter and verse the scores and winning teams of the Super Bowl’s first XX years or so. (That’s not a typo; that’s my nod to the Roman numerals used by the Super Bowl.)
But on a recent drive to work, I struggled to remember who won last year’s Super Bowl. I looked it up and, yes, now I remember: The New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3, in what might have been the most boring game ever.
Today’s game pits San Francisco against Kansas City. The 49ers dominated the NFL from the early 1980s through the mid-1990s, winning five Super Bowls. The Chiefs played in the first Super Bowl, which was then known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game, but were blown out by the Green Bay Packers. They did win in Super Bowl IV, but that was 50 years ago.
My wife asked which team I was pulling for, but the bottom line is I don’t care who wins the game. I’m rooting for a good halftime show from J. Lo and Shakira, and I will consider the night a success if I see a team of Clydesdales and a cute dog in one of the commercials.
Thanks for reading.