Sunday, February 5, 2012
The "Super" Super Bowl
The first Superbowl was played in January 1967. The game was played to lend credibility to the newly merged AFL into the NFL. Following the two league mergers the old AFL became the AFC, or American Football Conference. The old heads in the NFL had, in the beginning, snubbed the idea that the old AFL would ever be a threat to the three-decade old NFL. Then came Darrell Lamonica throwing 80 yard bombs over in Oakland and Lenny Dawson's masterly quarterbacking for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The old AFL was exciting football! While the Bears and Detroit and the Giants were grinding it out; "three yards and a cloud of dust", the AFL was throwing "carpet bombs" long and deep....and they were winning over the traditional football fan.
The big discussion leading up to the first Superbowl was whether or not the flashy new AFC was as good as the boys of the NFC. That question wasn't answered by the first Superbowl. Lenny Dawson and the Kansas City Chiefs ran into a buzz saw in playing the superbly coached Green Bay Packers. The AFC would eventually get revenge a couple of years later when Joe Namath led the Jets to an improbable victory against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts.
That first Superbowl was just really just another game. If you wanted to attend the game you paid $12 dollars for a ticket. If you watched it on TV you saw no special commercials designed just for the event. You likely saw commercials for Old Spice Afershave and Eight Track tape drives, the latest electronic innovation. Few women watched the Superbowl, but if they did they saw few commercials aimed their way, except perhaps for the leather faced Marlboro Man riding across a Montana plain.
Now we have Superbowl Week. Players must participate in a huge week long dog and pony show leading up to Super Sunday. Events are carefully choreographed and a price tag hangs on everything. I just read that a ticket to this year's Superbowl averages $923 to $1100 dollars and if you are pursuing a seat on Stub Hub it'll cost you $2700 dollars for a seat. One of Bob Costas's Superbowl eve guest coaches complained that a night at the Hampton Inn in Indianapolis will cost you $1900 for one night's stay.
If you are a big Superbowl fan you'll see six hours of programming leading up to the Superbowl. Women watch the Superbowl now. According to the advertising gurus, 66 percent of women tune into the Superbowl just to watch the commercials. Those commercials are all sold out by Halloween and run at $2.5 million dollars per minute.
America will consume today a hundred million pounds of chicken wings, leaving 50 million chickens earth-bound. We'll eat 40 million pizzas and consume 80 million bags of Doritos. We'll see funny commercials and laugh like hell at them.
The Superbowl has evolved into a garish, gaudy and over-hyped spectacle....and we love it! Warm up the chili, get the wings marinated and cool down the beer....baby! The kick off is only eight hours away!