Today is one of the great unofficial holidays in America, a day when families and friends gather to share in a single professional football game that has evolved into the annual spectacle known as the Super Bowl. It’s truly one of my favorite days of the year, having displaced my birthday years ago.
I have studied the Super Bowl since I was a kid, soaking in the telecasts and immersing myself in its history. Thanks to hours upon hours of watching NFL Films I know that no Super Bowl has ever gone into overtime. I am also the only person I know who can list from memory the winner, loser and location of every Super Bowl ever played. Today’s game will be No. XLVIII (no self-respecting Super Bowl historian would dare count its games without using Roman numerals). If only I would have applied my powers toward good. If pressed, I bet I could even score around 85 to 90 percent on remembering MVPs as well.
So today, in chilly New Jersey, the Seattle Seahawks will battle the Denver Broncos for the Vince Lombardi trophy. It’s one of the most evenly-matched title games I can remember, a No. 1 defense going up against a No. 1 offense.
I usually formulate a reason to root for one team or another in the Super Bowl, but I am having trouble with this one. My son is a huge Seahawks fan. I don’t know how. The only thing I can think of is when he was born I had a general interest in the Seahawks because I had attended high school with their quarterback. When my son was a baby, I’d often listen to Seahawks games that were picked up here in Goshen on WKAM.
Or maybe he just liked their uniforms. No sense in overthinking it.
I would like to see my son happy, but I’m also a Peyton Manning fan and Manning is the quarterback for the Broncos. Manning will go down in history as perhaps the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and a win today would bolster that argument. Manning is also a great guy who played 13 seasons without missing a start for the Indianapolis Colts, turning that franchise into a winner.
This game is truly a toss-up.
What I do know is my all-time favorite Super Bowl was Super Bowl XX, played on Jan. 26, 1986, just two days before the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Growing up in Goshen I was raised a Bears fan. And there wasn’t a finer time to be a Bears fan than the 1985 season. The Bears were prodigious that year, completing a 15-1 regular season primarily on the legs of the late running back Walter Payton and the shoulders of one of the most intimidating defenses in NFL history.
I was in eighth grade at the time and watched every game on television. My great friend Kris Kurtz and I would turn down the volume on the TV and record our own play-by-play of the games. There is a unique joy in re-listening to biased junior high commentary. I wish I still had those tapes.
The heavily-favored Bears, who hadn’t allowed a point in its two NFC playoff games, fell behind to the Patriots 3-0 in the opening moments of the game. Kris and I sat on the floor with our jaws hanging open. Our anxiety wouldn’t last long as the Bears went on to win 46-10. It was the first, and only Super Bowl title for the Bears. It was also the last time two first-time Super Bowl participants have faced each other.
So, back to today. Seahawks or Broncos? Tough to say. I won’t even bother trying to guess a score. Since the first Super Bowl was played in 1967, there have only been three common scores — 21-17 (Super Bowls X and XLVI), 27-10 (Super Bowls XII and XV) and 27-17 (Super Bowls XVII and XXX). That’s remarkable.
Well, here it goes. My prediction for today. … Overtime.
We got the beats
Another tradition of the Super Bowl is what happens when the teams take a break. Millions of people tune into the Super Bowl each year just to watch the commercials. Madison Avenue ad executives have elevated the commercial to an art form during the Super Bowl. This year a single 30-second spot during the Super Bowl will cost more than $4 million, and that’s just for the air time.
One commercial to look for this year is an advertisiment for Beats Music. A couple weeks ago The News published a story about Goshen native Ian Rogers, who over the past two decades has emerged as one the most revolutionary thinkers in the music industry. Rogers, a 1990 Goshen High School graduate, is the CEO of Beats Music, a streaming music service that launched on Jan. 21 and is backed by Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine and Trent Reznor. Ian was a good friend of mine in junior high and into high school. I have never met anyone who has a greater love and respect for music than Ian. Therefore, his success is no surprise to me.
Expect some prominent Beats Music commercials during this year’s Super Bowl. And check out the service on your smart phone or tablet at beatsmusic.com. It’s outstanding. I’ve been on since the launch and am blown away by its impact on my life. Follow me @wanbami71
In honor of the Super Bowl, I threw together the following Super Bowl playist on Beats with songs or artists with connections to Seattle, Denver or New York/New Jersey where the game is being played. I've also tweeted it. Check it out @mwanbaugh.
Star Spangled Banner -- Jimi Hendrix
Rocky Mountain High -- John Denver
Alive (Mookie Blaylock - The Moore Theater, Seattle) -- Pearl Jam
Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of -- U2
Game On (Seahawks Version) -- Disciple
New York, New York -- Ryan Adams
Ride Cowboy Ride -- Bon Jovi
Come as You Are -- Nirvana
Mighty Mighty -- Earth, Wind & Fire
I Can't Ride The Broncos Anymore -- Chris LeDoux
Little Wing (Olympic Studios, London) -- Jimi Hendrix
Who Do You Love -- Ronnie Hawkins