Reflections on the game on Super Bowl Sunday

Reflections on the game on Super Bowl Sunday

This afternoon the AFC champion Denver Broncos and NFC champion Carolina Panthers are going to tee it up for Super Bowl 50.  When I sit and think about it this annual spectacle, probably the most watched sporting event in North America if not on the entire planet, has been a fixture in our life and times for half a century.  Think about that for a minute.  Most of the players on the field today were not old enough to remember and some were not even alive for Super Bowl 25.  When it comes popular appeal, the Super Bowl is the shindig all other sporting events aspire to be or to at least be on a par with.  It is anticipated that Super Bowl 50 will have some 189 million viewers tuning in.

Super Bowl 50

As it turns out, I do not have a dog in this particular fight.  I am neither a fan of Denver or Carolina and overall I am not really a diehard fan of professional football.  I am however a huge fan of college football and an Oklahoma Sooner season ticket holder since 1999.  I have missed few home football games in Norman since leaving active naval service in late 1998.  In that time I have come to accept that indulging in passion for a team and the game itself is a mere extension of the fan, an integral part of one’s character and a defining characteristic of who you are as a person.  Reasons for this are many and varied but it is not uncommon for those dedicated to a team to be the latest of their family to pledge such loyalty which sometimes goes back several generations.  Devotees of college teams are more easily understood.  Collegiate loyalties run far and deep and are often tied closely to state and town history as is the case with the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa.  I could provide a laundry list of other examples but those are the ones closest to home for me.  Even though I do not have a dog in this fight today, that does not necessarily mean I am indifferent to the match up or have no respect for those who are playing.  This will likely be Denver QB Peyton Manning’s final game as a player and this is shaping up to be a showcase performance for Carolina QB Cam Newton.

Super Bowl 50

I do like to follow former OU Sooner players in the NFL, especially those who had stellar college careers.  There are three former Sooner players between the two teams playing today.  With former defensive end Frank Alexander on injured reserve and his teammate former Sooner offensive tackle Daryl Williams not in the lineup for Carolina, I don’t expect to see them play.  Nor is former Sooner linebacker Corey Nelson in the starting lineup for Denver.  Despite the dearth of former Sooners on these two teams, the game carries no less allure for being the spectacle it is, the culmination of hard fought season for two deserving collectives.

Despite all the bluster and pageantry of an event resembling a holiday, I can’t forget what Bill Maher had to say about the Super Bowl a few years ago.  I remember discussing his very spot-on comparison between capitalist major league baseball and the socialist NFL in my Super Bowl Sunday post a year ago.  It is true, the NFL shares the wealth of TV revenues and makes the winner of today’s game pick last in the upcoming draft.

Capitalist major league baseball vs Socialist NFL

At the end of the day, being a fan of any sport and especially being a fan of football, pro or college, is fundamental to being an American.  There are few sports that are uniquely American and football, the fans, the spectacle, the pageantry, and above all the game itself defines America.  Here’s to the contenders of Super Bowl 50!

Super Bowl 50