Well, there you have it, folks. The New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams put on an exhibition Sunday that once again confirms football is God’s greatest invention. (Runners-up: beer, the remote control, Anna Kournikova-)
A great thing about Super Bowl Sunday is that it gives everyone, even people who could give two craps about football, an excuse to take a Sunday afternoon off, do a little drinking and celebrate the institution known as professional football. Being somewhat of a veteran of these parties, I decided to include some observations from this year’s Super Bowl bash:
Sunday, Feb. 3, 2002; 2:45 p.m.
I arrive at my party. The hosts have made some pleasing accommodations for the football fans today. Strategically placed throughout the house are seven televisions so everyone will have a good seat. There are even TVs in the garage, which is furnished for the comfort of the smokers with space heaters, a grill and, most impressively, a professional quesadilla maker.
The game is under way and the Rams have the football. I caught a glimpse of Marshall Faulk in the player introductions and got scared just looking into his eyes. Early game thoughts: the Rams are going to stomp all over this defense.
The first set of Super Bowl commercials roll out. At this party, there is clearly more interest in the commercials than in the game, and some of the people in the room are so charged up about it they laugh at stuff that isn’t even funny. Anyway, Budweiser clearly won the ad wars with a mix of comedy and melancholy as it paid homage to the World Trade Center losses.
It’s midway through the second quarter and the Rams are up 3-0. I am actually surprised the Pats have held it this close. They have kept the Rams out of the red zone and foiled all of their big play attempts. My friend James and I have been preaching for the last 20 minutes about how the Pats aren’t blitzing enough, and that Warner will soon burn them. And then, as if Bill Belichick had been right there in the living room listening to us, Mike Vrabel lines up at on the weak side, blitzes and causes Warner to make his first mistake. Ty Law intercepts the pass and motors down the sideline for the touchdown. The living room goes bonkers.
Sometime after 6:00 p.m.
After the emotional halftime performance by U2, I returned to the living room a little drunker, but very fired up for the second half. As the game wears on, there is so much focus on the fact the Pats are winning; no one cares about the commercials anymore. That’s one reason why this was a great Super Bowl. The ad wizards cannot steal the Patriots’ thunder, but everyone is still waiting for the Rams’ dramatic comeback.
Somewhere around 6:45 p.m.
I’ve lost track of time, but I am totally devoted to the game. The Rams are at the Pats’ 2-yard-line, with a fourth and goal. When the ball popped out of Warner’s hand and Tebucky Jones gathered it up, the house went nuts. There was this guy from Massachusetts sitting across the room screaming at the top of his lungs “Yea %#*” and “You like that *%&$?” in the most obnoxious accent in the world. It got even worse when the play was called back, and the kid spouted out multi-syllable, non-humanistic names at the officials that I would not dare repeat. The Rams score their first touchdown on the following play.
Adam Vinatieri drills a 48-yard field goal as time expires. Pandemonium breaks; the “Massachusetts Kid” starts bouncing off the walls, ripping his shirt off, parading around the house. No need for postgame. The Pats have done it, and in the process have made this one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time. As I went to bed last night, I rested easy. Sure, the Broncos weren’t there. But if all games could be like this one, it wouldn’t matter who was playing because it was close, it was emotional, it was drunken and it was memorable.
Lee is a senior journalism major.