Tag Archives: Super Bowl

Bill, I didn’t really enjoy the Super Bowl this year

Dear Bill Simmons:

Did you watch the Super Bowl? Of course you watched the Super Bowl, you’re the Sports Guy, you kind of have to watch the Super Bowl. But did you like it? I didn’t really like it. I think it’s generally acknowledged that the game was boring, an uneven slugfest. Peyton didn’t have any time. The Seahawks defense was too good. Blah, blah, blah, these are all just generic Super Bowl bites that I’m rehashing almost directly from Grantland anyway.


I stole this image from Grantland too. Sorry Bill. I’ll make it up to you once I’m one of your full-time employees.

But aside from the game, did you like the Super Bowl? Like, you’ve made a career out of following sports, writing about sports, so in many ways, this event is like the peak of everything that professional sports strives to be. Or, American professional sports anyway. Because the NFL is pure America, or it strives to be anyway. It more or less exists within the confines of the United States, and judging from the spectacle that was Sunday’s Super Bowl, it’s not a comfortable fit either.

Look at the NFL, and look at NASCAR, its racecar cousin. They’re both basically the same thing. They’re these giant sports that, for the most part, are totally inaccessible to the average American. Anybody can grab a basketball and head to the park for a little pickup, and it’s the same for baseball and soccer. But tackle football? The Daytona 500? You can’t go out and join a pit crew.

I guess you could join a pit crew. But you’d have to make it your job, like that would have to be your whole life. And so, unless you’re committed to climbing that ladder, unless you somehow find a way to coach or play football at some sort of a professional level, you’re really left with whatever the NFL or NASCAR decides to give you.

And, just like most of the writers at Grantland have been pointing out all season, they’re giving us these shows. The NFL has perfected football as an event, as sports entertainment. It’s big, it’s loud, and it’s got something for everyone.

Maybe it would have been OK if there were an actual football game to watch. But the one-sided assault that was Sunday night’s game brought into stark relief what a bunch of nonsense the Super Bowl is as a national event.

Commercials? Like, you have these increasingly rare moments when a large portion of the country turns its attention to the same thing at the same time, and the best we can do is a bunch of advertisements? I don’t care how entertaining you think you’re being trying to sell me Coca-Cola of Bud Light, it’s still a billboard, something that, if I were watching a regular TV show, something that I recorded on my DVR, I’d gladly skip over, one hundred percent of the time.

And I think about other sports, the finals in hockey, baseball, basketball, regardless of how we watch them on TV or follow them on the Internet, it’s all mostly centered around actual sports, fighting for the championship in front of actual fans. Maybe it’s just a natural consequence of the stop-and-go nature of professional football, and yeah, there were plenty of fans visiting New York from Seattle and Denver, but the whole event just felt fake, totally inauthentic. I was more interested in reading about the throngs of out-of-towners getting stuck for hours at some train station in Secaucus than I was in the actual game.

I don’t want to be a downer. But it was just really lame. The commercials were really lame. Yeah it was cool seeing Seinfeld and George act like Seinfeld and George, but was it really that funny? Was that cute puppy and horse Budweiser ad worth me tuning into Channel 5 rather than just clicking play on my computer?

I don’t know. Maybe if the Giants were playing I would have been a little more pumped.

Hey Bill, can I still have a job at Grantland? Please?



This is not the Super Bowl I predicted back in November

I made a big deal about predicting the winner of the 2014 Super Bowl way back when the New York Giants were 0 – 6. There was this whole blog post about how they were going to come back, make a run for the playoffs, and somehow win. And for a while anyway, it looked like I was right. Week after week, the G-Men racked up the wins, and sure, it was against mostly bad teams, but whatever, I looked like Nostradamus. I kept posting stuff on Facebook like, “I called it! It’s happening!” But then, toward the end of November, despite a ridiculous two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter, the Giants failed to stop the Cowboys from marching across the whole field to score a season-ending three-point goal.


It was humiliating. First of all, I don’t really know anything about football. And every time I talk about football, if the conversation gets past the three or four very current football talking points that I have memorized from a few carefully followed Twitter feeds, this fact becomes painfully obvious.

I’m trying as hard as I can to keep up. You know, besides actually watching entire football games, I’m really making a solid effort to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the NFL. I joined a fantasy league. So yeah, I wanted to win that, I mean, there was money on the line. But even with my fantasy team, I found that it was easy just to read fantasy blogs, to copy the strategies of real football fans, people who really watched football games.

And it worked, kind of. I made it to the playoffs. But then I got knocked out of the playoffs. Now there wasn’t anything left to really ground my interest in the rest of the season. If only the Giants had lived up to my prediction, I probably would have been paying more attention.

I’m kind of an accidental Giants fan anyway. Up until two years ago, I never even tried to be a football fan. I think I went to a few Super Bowl parties, but I remember it being like ever year, I wouldn’t know who was actually playing in the Super Bowl until a couple of days before the big game.

Two years ago I decided to really try to get in on the action. All of my brothers watch football, so do my friends. Nothing was worse than hanging out with a bunch of people when all of the sudden the conversation takes a turn toward football. Someone would say something and it would snowball into an all-out, hour-long NFL debate. And I’d stand there and try to look engaged, all while paying attention for any window where I might be able to steer the conversation toward a direction where I could contribute something more than standing there awkwardly and smiling.

I committed to watching the Sunday games, and I found myself with a pretty big dilemma. Which New York team would be my team? The Jets or the Giants? I decided that I’d give both teams the entire season to convince me. And as the 2011 season dragged on, I’d hem and haw, “I don’t know, I haven’t made a decision yet, I think I’ll need another week.” Even after the Jets got eliminated, I’d say stuff like, “Well, I’ve seen how the Jets react to losing. I want to see if the Giants are sore losers.” Bullshit like that.

In fact, I never really planned on picking a team, I wanted to extend the theatrics year after year, forever playing the role of an annoying neutral sort-of spectator, but that year the Giants won the Super Bowl, so it was kind of like, all right, if I didn’t pick the Giants, well, I’d just be a dick. I could picture Eli Manning being like, “Dude, you gave us each a season to prove it to you, and we won the Super Bowl! Come on man!” So yeah, color me blue, I’m an accidental Giants fan. Which is cool, I mean, it actually makes some sense this way, almost like I was destined to be a Giants fan.

Anyway, this year kind of sucked for the G-Men. Although, Eli Manning’s brother Peyton is in the Super Bowl. What if something happened to the Broncos? Like, the entire team? I don’t want to say plane crash, because that’s really morbid, I don’t wish them lasting harm. But maybe like a really bad flu. The whole team gets it, they’re in no condition to play. Could the Broncos sign Eli and the rest of the Giants to temporary Broncos contracts?

If this happened, and then they won the Super Bowl, would my prediction still count? No, that’s crazy. Is it crazy? Yeah, it’s crazy. I’ll just have to be content in the belief that, somewhere  out there in a parallel universe, the Giants are getting ready for the big game. Despite a terrible start to the season, they rallied, they did it.

“And this one guy called it, he wrote about it on his blog when they were 0 – 6.” That’s what all the sports anchors would say. Somewhere in the multiverse, I have to be famous for the prediction. Because, man, that would have been awesome.