May 28, 2018
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The Super Bowl: Everything but the game

By Eddie Adelman, Special to the BDN

It’s Super Bowl time again. As a red-blooded American male, my pulse should be racing. Yet, all I can generate is lukewarm interest. Even so, I’ll probably end up at some Super Bowl party because that’s what I’m trained to do on this, the holiest of sports days.

There is an upside, though. You have to admit that the food at Super Bowl parties has gotten a lot better over the years. When Green Bay first played Kansas City in the first Super Bowl, it was pretty much beer and chips. Maybe bean dip, if you got lucky.

But nowadays, an enterprising mooch can show up at several parties and sample some great food. Last year, I watched the first half of the game at a party serving Tex-Mex. At halftime, I bolted for another party. Shrimp cocktails? Touchdown! I was praying for overtime. I still had room for dessert.

The only downside to all this activity is that at some point I’m obliged to watch the game. But if I time it right, I can sit down just as the real action gets underway. Of course, I’m talking about the commercials.

As the quality of the food has gotten better over the years, so has the advertising. It’s been estimated that up to half the viewers regard the commercials as the true highlights of the game.

And who can blame them? Some of the ads can be more entertaining than the game itself. I still remember the 1999 ad, where a young boy looks into the camera and says, “When I grow up, I wanna claw my way up to middle management.” Me too, kid.

Let’s see. I can quote Super Bowl ads verbatim from 15 years ago, but I can’t remember the final score or even who played in last year’s game. I think one of the teams wore red.

Hey, wait a second. I just had a wacky idea.

What if…we shrink the NFL to just 12 teams? Then we shorten the season to 12 games. The winner of one conference would host the winner of the other conference. The game would be played in mid-December.

All tickets would be $20. No corporate logos. No fireworks. No rock bands. No instant replays. No six-foot chickens. Scoreboards would simply tell the score. And best of all? The game would be over in 2 ½ hours. Or less!

You know, this idea is just crazy enough to work. If I’m not mistaken, a similar experiment was tried once before in a country much like our own. The players had names like Unitas, Brown, Luckman, Robustelli and Van Brocklin. And wasn’t there a coach named Lombardi?

There’s just one drawback to this bold new vision. The food. Goodbye, Tex-Mex. Goodbye, shrimp cocktails. Looks like its beer and chips once again.

“Anyone seen the bean dip?”

Eddie Adelman lives in Belfast.


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