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February's Biggest Holliday (it ain't Groundhogs Day either...)

By Bob Heaning
February 2, 2006

I think the only purpose the week after the AFC and NFC championship games serves is to prepare us for the eventuality we like to pretend doesn’t exist. The football season is coming to an end. The week before the Super Bowl actually feels like football season with the endless stories about Matt Hasselbeck’s sister-in-law, where brokers are getting their tickets now that Mike Tice got fired, Bill Cowher’s being in danger of turning into the modern day Bud Grant and how many types of bacteria can be found in Jerome Bettis’ fat rolls. But, that first week is a real slap in the face. I used to think it was just me, but I was reassured when literary luminary Hunter S. Thompson lamented the end of the NFL season in his suicide note. Instead of starting my Sunday with two hours of “What Did Michael Irvin Just Say?“ and then a full slate of NFL, suddenly there is time to do three loads of laundry in the same day. Or take the dog to the park in the middle of the afternoon. Or watch the weeks worth of Daily Shows and Colbert Reports I have TiVoed. All in an effort to bide time until Super Bowl Sunday

How huge has the Super Bowl become? As far as national holidays go only New Year’s, 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas surpass Super Bowl Sunday in terms of the participation of American citizens. To further illustrate my point I am probably throwing antsmarching.org into a large pot of boiling water by even referring to it as the Super Bowl. This may need to be edited and “Big Game in Detroit” inserted in it’s place. It has become about so much more than football. Super Bowl Sunday introduced us to a young Winnie Cooper as well as the very flexible Ali Landry. We have seen Bob Dole use sexual innuendo after watching Britney Spears, and we all, in retrospect, should have been watching in horror as Michael Jackson performed at halftime surrounded by thousands of little kids. I imagine he felt that day like I did the day I hung out at the pool at the Hard Rock in Vegas. The magnitude of the game has been known to crush some players. We have seen a guy go on a coke binge (Stanley Wilson), have a mental breakdown (Barrett Robbins), get caught with a hooker (Eugene Robinson), miss the first series of the game because he couldn’t find his helmet (Thurman Thomas) and miss a last second field goal (Scott Norwood) that left such an indelible mark on a city that it inspired a very underrated movie (Buffalo ’66).

Super Bowl parties are a slice of Americana, excessive amounts of food and alcohol, gambling, commercialism, violence, and the flashing of a breast I would have given up my big-wheel to see when it was attached to a character named Charlene on Diff’rent Strokes. Obviously, the Charl…..I mean Janet Jackson boob flap (pun intended) was a seminal moment in American culture. Just my luck, I looked away to make a snide remark to my cousin just as Janet’s fun bag was exposed. Blast! And am I the only one that was more offended by Kid Rock wearing the American flag as a poncho then the sight of what looked like a old, worn-out mini-beanbag chair?

Either way, enough people that like to call and complain about things made their feelings known and evidently something had to be done. The demand for a “safe” halftime show that our kids can enjoy was obvious to all of us that watch 24 hour news channels. Granted, I am without child, but if I had one I would have been diverting his/her attention from the screen right around the time Nelly was trying to get the ketchup out of the bottle through his pants. Let’s not pretend it was an episode of Dora up until the time Janet’s booby came out. So last year we got McCartney and this year we get the Rolling Stones. The message as always? Drug abusers- good, women’s bodies- evil.

Halftime shows suck anyway. The time I saw the Florida State marching band play Ants Marching excluded. What the Super Bowl needs is some quality halftime entertainment that will keep me from loading up on another plate of the old man’s world famous Shepherd’s Pie. This year the game is in a city that manages to simultaneously be a large market city (Red Wings) and a small market city (Tigers), Detroit. There are a lot of ways to go that will provide synergy with the host city. How about a hot dog eating contest between Refrigerator Perry and Aretha Franklin? The winner gets a shot at Kobayashi. How about giving Stevie Wonder ten chances to catch one punt? If he is successful the federal government agrees to fully support stem cell research. Or have recently fired Ford employees play gay chicken for grocery store gift cards. All I’m saying is that the biggest sporting event of the year deserves a more compelling halftime show then a bunch of 60-year olds whose pathetic attempt to cling to relevancy rivals Danny Bonaduce’s.

The thing that brings the Super Bowl to the next level is that just like you don’t have to go to church to celebrate Christmas or be a raging alcoholic to celebrate New Year’s, you don’t even have to be a football fan to participate in the festivities. As a matter of fact, judging by the Super Bowl parties I go to not caring about the game is a rerequisite.

Yes, I am the freak at the Super Bowl party that actually wants to watch the game. I am the wacko that spends every Sunday possible at the corner bar because they have the NFL package. At Super Bowl parties I fall out of the loop early on because I go fill up my plate during the commercials when everyone else seems to be gathering around the TV to see what clever idea Budweiser is going to regale us with this year. Friends and relatives I rarely see think Super Bowl Sunday is the time to “catch up”. I find myself walking the line between trying to watch the game and not having my aunt’s boyfriend think I’m a jerk off. In order to please I do find myself in conversations I am looking for the trap door to. To close our time here together I am going to share with you some of the survival lines I am spending my Sunday off practicing.

I don’t know who made the onion dip.

Oh, it’s spinach dip? I didn’t know.

I think it’s pumpernickel.

I just never found people singing really poorly that entertaining

Madden is going to NBC and God knows what Michaels has up his sleeve.

I can’t imagine what the ref could have been looking at.

Did Mick Jagger’s helmet just pop out?

That’s Bill Cowher, not Sgt. Slaughter.

De-Caf! De-Caf!

I have no idea what happened to that Heather Graham show.

Yeah, X-Tra Large, I get it.

How about I tell you when I’ve had to much to drink, Grandma?

Pittsburgh -4 and under the 47 and a half.

Jurevicius hasn’t been on the Giants in 4 years.

I think TO is a jerk too.

I wouldn’t mind seeing a muff right here.

…..or even a long sack.

The views and comments expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of antsmarching.org.


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