For NFL fans, the week of all weeks is here: Super Bowl
For those who aren’t football fans, though, there’s always a
bit of trepidation, wondering what all the fuss is about. Fear not, my annual
guide to all things Super Bowl follows:
This year’s game is Super Bowl LIII. Kickoff is III:XXX p.m.
on the West Coast on all affiliates of the Columbia Broadcasting System,
including here in the Monterey Bay area, KION-XLVI.
The first and most important thing to know if you’ve just
been invited to a watch party is, who’s playing. This year’s contestants are
the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.
The Patriots are quite familiar to even the most casual
Super Bowl watchers. They’re making their 11th appearance in the
title game. This year’s game is their third straight appearance, having defeated
Seattle two years ago, but losing last year to Philadelphia.
No doubt that string of success inspired this outburst from a
member of our elite panel of football experts, Phoenix-area accountant Jamie
Heier, Internet-famous for her pants-pick method of determining winners.
“I never win the Super Bowl!!!! So now I’m in the ‘anybody
but the Patriots Club.’ I’m just sick of seeing them …”
The Rams? It’s like Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First”
to identify their hometown. They started in Cleveland in 1936, moved to the Los
Angeles area in 1947, St. Louis in 1995 and returned to LA in 2016 and the
storied Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Eventually, they’ll be in a stadium on
the site of the former Hollywood Park race track in Inglewood.
If this matchup seems familiar, it’s because we saw this in
2002, when the Patriots defeated the Rams 20-17 on a late field goal by Adam
Little could we have guessed, of course, that this game
would become the launching pad for the legend of Tom Brady, then in his second
year in the NFL.
Since then, he’s led the Patriots to nine Super Bowls,
winning five, and was named MVP four times.
Greatest of all time? It’s impossible to compare eras in the
NFL given the myriad of rule changes favoring offense, but in that one game to
decide the fate of the world, in this corner of cyberspace we’re giving the ball
to Joe Montana. But that should not deflate Brady’s place in NFL history.
Not to forget the Rams’ Jared Goff, of course, who will
become the fifth Cal quarterback to start a Super Bowl, joining Joe Kapp, Craig
Morton, Vince Ferragamo and Aaron Rogers. Of the five, only Kapp has taken the
Bears to a Rose Bowl.
These and other fun facts can be found in your local
newspaper, which if you’re not reading every day, you should in your effort to
understand more about the game. We understand a TV network or two may be there
as well. Check local listings.
It all boils down to Sunday, of course. You may want to
avoid the marathon pregame coverage on CBS – especially the obligatory
interview with President Trump – in favor of alternative programming, such as
the Phoenix Open on NBC or an interesting NBA matchup between Oklahoma City and
Boston on ABC.
If you’re not ready for sports, there’s always the Puppy Bowl.
But no matter if you’re watching at home, your local tavern
or with friends, beware of strange people wearing gold and brown clothing with
a fleur-de-lis. These are New Orleans Saints fans, still bitter about the non-call
in the NFC championship game.
Not that we encourage drinking and driving here, but feel
free to bring them a drink or two. Or three. Or four. It may not stop the
crying, but if Maroon 5 lays an egg at halftime, it might be entertaining.
During the game? Relax. Remember it’s 10 yards for a first down,
touchdowns are six points and yellow laundry on the field means bad things. Wow
your friends by mentioning the Rams are the first team in Super Bowl history to
have male cheerleaders. (Progress, there’s no stopping it!)
After the game. Relax. You’ve got a week or so until
pitchers and catchers report.