BY REBECCA AGULE
The Super Bowl is over. All is quiet in my world until March Madness. Well, until Rivalry Week, at least, or maybe when pitchers and catchers report. I will do my best to follow college hockey, with no help from the networks. Perhaps I could even give caring about the NBA a whirl. But for now, for the time being at least, I feel like a shallow casing of my former self.
Reading that, you might get the impression I am rather one dimensional. I might attempt to protest, making claims, fist raised, that I am more than a caricature. That I do my volunteer work. That I have a book on my bedside table. That I even have a little bit of an art-thingy going on. True as that may be, my cries of “passion” would be a sham. None of that provides the steady day-in, day-out routine of being in season. Be that baseball season, when I can watch a game almost any time I want. Or the NFL season, with each long week culminating in a glorious run from early Sunday to late Monday night. Or even college football, where, with the corruption of Tuesday and Thursday and Friday nights, it can sometimes start to feel like baseball season.
Don’t get me wrong. ACC born and bred, my boat is well-floated by college hoops. But with major networks providing real access to but that one major sport, hours stretch by like weeks. NBA and free market fans, protest all you want. But until I know for sure the comeback of one Jayson Williams fails, I cannot put my trust or my time into the NBA. When I speak of Jayson Williams, I do not mean he of Dooook heritage, nor he with Randy Moss connections, but the man who felt naming an innocent child Whizdom could balance out an egregious manslaughter charge and a laughable acquittal. Which makes sense, actually, because what is Tryumph, a.k.a. daughter number one, if it isn’t tempered by Whizdom. I do make one NBA exception, watching the Magic, because, like the art, I have a bit of a Grant Hill-thingy.
As minutes clicked off the clock Sunday, much too quickly for my liking, I felt a growing frustration. Frustration at Andy Reid’s lack of time management skills and frustration at the prospect of life after football, frustration much directed towards the continually-absent NHL. Throwing together a season, they could do so little and make my time so meaningful.
Easy to get swept away in the festivities, the real beauty of Super Bowl Sunday is that there is a little something for everyone. I am not just talking about the balance FOX tried to achieve with a fantastic blend of sure-to-be overpriced pre-hyped commercials, unexpected and undoubtedly stirring tributes to the Declaration of Independence, a random blend of poorly-miked pre-game festivities (what, the Black Eyed Peas, Gretchen Wilson, Earth, Wind and Fire, and pyrotechnics don’t seem like a preordained combination to you?) and some actual football. But flipping through the channels, other networks obviously have done their best to compete.
Animal Planet takes the cake. Admittedly, I am a dog lover. I look at other people’s pups the way biologically-clocked women gaze upon babies; I feel the need to have a one of my own down to my gut. But even the Puppy Bowl could not captivate me. Throw “bowl” onto the end of any word, and it seems you have Super Bowl-appropriate television. Imagine, if you will, an almost politically correct blend of breeds, running around, tackling each other for toys. Oh, and the yapping. For hours on end. I worry about landing a summer gig, yet someone was paid for this concept. Paid to broadcast unending shots of what might as well simply be a pet shop. At least they kept production costs low. My continued faith in mankind now hinges upon someone employing me.
Even before spring training opens, I found myself getting my baseball fix, being teased just enough to know remember what I miss. Joe Buck’s shining smile just will not go away. Useful as he was during the playoffs, how could anyone not welcome him back? Plus, the FOX NFL SUNDAY desk goes, ah, head-to-head against the Red Sox for the Sports All-Hair title. Combine the back of Terry Bradshaw’s head with the top of Howie Long’s, and you have created the greatest mullet in history. Or maybe that’s just my hockey deficiency bleeding out. Even Jimmy Johnson has enough room in his coif for Stephon Marbury’s ego.
When L.J. Smith scored, I felt my grandfather smiling down from heaven. And I think someone up in heaven must have gotten Smith through that hole after that first, second, third try. I kept hoping such divine intervention would continue, perhaps to make Freddie Mitchell’s hands as useful as his mouth. I prayed the four point differential between the Patriots first-and-goal resulting in a field goal rather than a touch down would rematerialize and come back to haunt them.
Watching the Eagles’ final drive, it appears God really did clear Owens. And got him up and ready. But now God just wasn’t going to give him enough time. It’s hard to understand why Reid was not rushing his men. They had no sense of urgency. I ached with a sense of urgency but could not pass it through the TV. I wondered what number I could call and scream, “IT’S THE SUPER BOWL.” Watching them go the huddle, again and again as seconds dwindled, everything went to pieces. I didn’t truly realize how much I had invested in the Eagles until I watched them botch it.
Interception. What an inglorious way for it all to end. Clock management to a turnover. That old familiar three-point Patriots margin of victory.
I still feel a sick combination of numbness and sadness. Not that I hold anything against the Patriots, but it’s family loyalty, you understand. I wanted this for my mother, for my cousins, for grandparents I never got to know the way a girl should know her grandparents.
In this day and age of free agents and salary caps, putting together three Super Bowls in four years is a feat hardly matched in sports. And I feel lucky to have witnessed it, blah blah blah.
Oh, and Freddie? Nice work. Thanks for that.
How much longer until Selection Sunday?