Though I’ve watched nearly all of them—I don’t remember the first two and missed a few while out to sea in the Navy—I’ve never been in a city that was hosting the big game as the big game was set to happen. That changes this year, as I am in my palatial digs down here in Mesa, which is part of the Phoenix megalopolis, as is Glendale, where the big game will be played at the home of the Arizona Cardinals.
I’m trying to get excited.
Not so much for the game, it should be interesting enough on its own given the teams, but the over the top production of things that have nothing really to do with a football game and are more focused on extracting revenue from visitors here for the scene rather than the game itself. The city is plastered with signs and imagery designated as allowable by the No-Fun-League less ye be summoned before the court of righteous lawyering. No dollar shall go uncollected; pro ball being an expensive business. (I don’t even know if I’m allowed to use the TMed term Super Bowl or the roman numerals associated with it without a license. Let’s see: Super Bowl…XLII. I think? Sorry, LVII.)
That doesn’t mean there won’t be a fun cat and mouse game of find the purveyors of inauthentic NFL gear amongst the authentic. It’s whether I want any. A buck’s a buck’s a buck.
Then there are the usual lamentations and exultations on the effect of prices here in the valley over things like ticket prices, the cost of a hotel room, and a decent meal. But that’s normal for this event: part of the buildup. There’s also the big economic upside debate between those who believe and their sceptics. Year in, year out, it’s all the same as the big game rolls through the same subset of NFL cities. Sadly, Green Bay will never get to experience this.
Then there’s betting! Perhaps the most interesting part leading up to the big event are the many, many bets you can place on the game, aspects of the game, possibilities of the game, and related ephemera. Props they’re called. I’m going with number of hair tackles and celebrities in the crowd.
The rest of it I have no interest in. I feel bad about that though I don’t know why. For reasons unknown, my interest in the buildup to the games—this includes all sports—the talking heads, the pregame, midgame, and postgame analysis, the recitation of clichés by the coaches and players, the singing of the national anthem, has plummeted.
I just watch the game.
Don’t care about the biographies, hagiographies, controversies. Just the game. Which makes my being here somewhat ironic. If it had been twenty-years ago when my kids were younger, I would have gone to stand next to a fake Vince Lombardi trophy, wrench my neck looking for former players, the unrelated concerts, and bustling about with all the other lookie-loos. Now it sounds like a big pain in the ass.
On the plus side, it ought to be a good game, and I have a nice big TV.
On a personal note: Unlike Aaron Rodgers, I will not be going on a darkness retreat to consider my future. This is mostly because I already have a small house and if I wanted darkness, I’d go back Seattle: it’s that time of year. I know we all have our own problems, but for someone so successful to let us all know he needs to go on a retreat to figure out whether to keep playing football is deeply unimportant and, quite frankly, silly. Just say whether you’re going to play next season and call it good.
©2023 David William Pearce