Monday, February 03, 2014

Post-Super Bowl Gripebook

• I realize that, technically and statistically speaking, there have been worse Super Bowls than Super Bowl XLVIII. But this was the worst one I've ever watched live in my lifetime (this includes all or part of every game since 1989, and most likely earlier ones as well).

Why was this one the worst? In past blowouts, you almost always saw it coming. Routs such as the Bears-Patriots in 1986 and the Ravens-Giants in 2001 were mismatches from the start. Even when wild cards weren't a factor, like with the 49ers-Broncos in 1990, it was still a dynasty vs. a perpetual also-ran. This one, by contrast, had equal No. 1 conference seeds, two teams that demolished everyone all season long. It should have been epic, but instead we got the 2013 Seahawks against ... the 1989 Broncos playing in 2014.

• On Sunday morning, I made a graphic to post as soon as the Broncos won, where Drew Brees promises to tell sad-faced Russell Wilson all about beating Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl. (Doing stuff like this early has never not been a jinx, so I apologize to all Denver fans.) I really, really, really wanted to use it. So much so, in fact, that I'm going to try to salvage it here with a couple of patches:

Yeah, not nearly as good. WILLLLSONNNNNN!!!
• Speaking of creativity going to waste ... I had a lot of witticisms ready if the Seahawks petered out. Two months' worth, in fact. Seattle has yet to play badly enough for me to use any of them. Rest assured, when the Seahawks eventually fall apart, I will enter Beast Armchair Comment Mode.

• I'm glad that a linebacker, Malcolm Smith, earned MVP honors. He had some pivotal plays in the game and defensive players are underrepresented for the award in general. Also, he's not Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman or the 12th Man, all of which are insufferable enough to Saints fans without the MVP nod.

• Some 9/11 Truther interrupted Smith's post-game press conference. I realize these nuts are generally not on the ball, but do they really think crashing unrelated events is the best way to get their message across? It's clearly the desperate act of people unsatisfied with the evidence because they just want to believe so badly. Smith showed remarkable restraint, I thought. I only wish he'd zinged the guy.

Derrick Coleman is an exemplary guy. No grudges against him.

• I kept an eye on the game with no sound while working, so I didn't watch any commercials. I'm sure they were clever/disappointing/cameo-filled and whatnot.

• One ad I did hear about was the Coca-Cola spot that featured people singing "America the Beautiful." Apparently, it really pissed off some people. Why? Because it was sung in eight languages. Horrors! 

I've been trying to wrap my head around this phobia of languages for years, and still I can't even begin to get a foothold. It's one of those points of outrage that I'm aware of only because others have complained about it. The only reason I can think of for people being threatened by a language is that they don't understand it. And that's their problem, not anyone else's. Languages aren't impenetrable vessels for secret attack codes; they are systems of expression that anyone can learn. 

Incidentally, I sang several American songs — including "America the Beautiful" — in French every morning in third grade. No one objected and we didn't become Commiebama zombies. But that was when Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Dan Quayle had our backs, so I guess it was OK.

Seriously, though, this is a big, diverse, culturally co-opting, melting-pot country with no official language and — I can't stress this enough — is strong enough to not have its freedom threatened by words. If there's a single argument against multilingualism that isn't rooted in bigotry, I'd love to entertain it.   

• Getting back to football: This game made me feel better about the Saints' losses to the Seahawks. At the same time, however, it also frustrated me that the Saints weren't there to blow out the Broncos. One more win on New Orleans' part could have reshaped the playoffs entirely. Oh well. Coulda shoulda woulda. 

• In any case, this football season is in the books, and I can close that book forever and go back to being a rational human being — at least for the next 213 days.

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