It’s almost time for the Super Bowl, the holy grail of professional football, the only professional football game that takes two weeks to prepare for. It’s coming Sunday about 3:30 p.m. our time, but by the time kickoff arrives we will have been bombarded by hype galore.
It’s going to be New England vs. the New York Giants for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, but is the Super Bowl losing its appeal? Is there still that “everybody must watch this long-anticipated game” attitude?
The first Super Bowl was played in 1967.
Green Bay beat Kansas City 35-10 in Los Angeles. It wasn’t until the 1969 game that interest began. That’s when Joe Namath predicted a win over Baltimore for his Jets and the Jets won, 16-7.
Winning players in the first 11 games earned $15,000, the losers $7,500. Pay went up in 1978 to $18,000 and $9,000, and then spiked up to $36,000 and $18,000 in 1983, the year Washington beat Miami, 27-17.
Interest in the game seemed to become larger. It seemed that everybody attended some sort of Super Bowl party. Sometimes it was in a home where the host provided two or three television sets, the host arranged sort of a pot luck affair for food, many brought their own beverages and it was three hours of cheering, groaning, eating, drinking and having fun.
Many taverns and bars hopped on the bandwagon and held their own parties, providing food, drink specials, special contests and the ever-present “board” which contained squares. Squares were sold individually and the buyer put his or her name in a square. After all were sold, numbers were drawn.
If a quarter ended with your number, you won a quarter of the pot, etc. I don’t remember ever winning a quarter, let alone a final prize.
One of my most memorable Super Bowls was being guest host at Smitty’s Restaurant one year when the boys decided to include a chili cook-off contest prior to the game, and then all the fans were treated to the free chili at halftime.
I don’t remember who won the chili contest, or the game, for that matter, because in those days my “fee” just included food and drink. I walked up Cedar Street to my home … I think.
Players on the winning team Sunday will make an additional $85,000 and the players on the other side will only get $42,000 as a bonus for the season.
That’s how big the money game has become, but those parties and other social events have seemed to disappear in recent years, probably due to the much stricter drinking and driving laws.
For the past few of years I have stayed home by the fire with a variety of snacks and beverages. Not a lot of cheering. Mrs. Chapman watched some of the game, but she doesn’t enjoy football as she claims she can never find the ball once it is snapped.
This year I am throwing caution to the wind and will be reunited with the Smithson Brothers at 7 Cedars Casino for their big bask which features Sonny Sixkiller, the television and radio spokesman for the casino.
Maybe I’ll even wear my new Washington sweatshirt to dazzle Sonny.
The Giants and Patriots met in 2008 and the young Eli Manning bested Tom Brady 17-14 in Arizona.
Manning was the MVP and did you know that 23 of the Most Valuable Player award winners have been quarterbacks?
Just as a bit of trivia, a defensive end and tackle shared the award once and a safety has won the award twice. Running backs copped seven awards.
New England was unbeaten going into the 2008 game and they have revenge on their minds, but I think Manning has really come into his own this past season, winning critical games the last couple of weeks on the road and he seems to be more calm and collected in his team’s offense.
Defense, of course, and special teams will probably decide this one and I’m leaning toward the Giants to win, say 32-24. The game will be indoors and that means weather won’t be a factor. That will result in more scoring.
Green Bay won last year. I must be getting old, folks. Which team did they beat?
The Super Bowl is losing interest.
One more thing … raise your hand if any of you watched any of the Pro Bowl.
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