Big Game Theory

     My knowledge of sports could fit in a thimble. I could give a play by play review of the Super Bowl, but I’ll leave that to the armchair quarterbacks. I became a football fan when my oldest son was finishing college and my living room became the place to go for Sunday football parties. Food, drink and a big screen TV became the highlight of my weekends from September through January. We had a blast. And that was just the regular season.

     On Super Bowl Sunday, football parties are ramped up a few hundred notches. The game is bigger, the entertainment factor is stellar and some of the commercials are worth watching. Add the New England Patriot’s and Tom Brady to the mix and the party is elevated to the stratosphere.

     This year, my Super Bowl party was scaled down a bit since it was just me and my wife in attendance. Sure there were lots of crispy potato skins, sour cream, chicken wings and bleu cheese dressing. There were chips, dips and a few drinks. Everything in moderation (lots of everything). The night was quieter without the kids but we had food left over.

     The game itself was an agonizing nail-biter. The announcers, as usual, downplayed New England’s expertise. Instead they extolled the virtues of the speed of Atlanta’s defensive line. Okay, maybe they had a point. How’s your back, Tom?

     The commercials never lived up to the hype. Maybe I’m jaded because I’m an advertising person. Nothing I saw was memorable enough to mention.

     Lady Gaga was the perfect half-time show choice to keep the momentum going. The Patriot’s seemingly channeled some of Gaga’s adrenaline to make those amazing final plays.   

     I don’t know why the New England Patriot’s are hated by every fan outside of New England. A cousin of mine who lives outside of New England told me his favorite football teams are the Buffalo Bills and anyone playing against the Patriot’s. This feeling is rampant among football fans all over the USA. Is it because of Bill Belichick’s inimitable winning coaching style? Maybe people in other states  don’t like Tom Brady’s laser focused intensity and penchant for good, clean living. Maybe the haters are annoyed by the youthful enthusiasm of James White, Chris Hogan and Martellus Bennett or the pit-bull determination of Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. Even our back-up quarterback, Jimmy Garappolo, looks as good as he plays. On top of all this, we have a Gronk. The team motto, “Do Your Job”, might be the best advice ever given. Football fans across the country are jealous of what we have in New England. And there’s a fine line between jealousy and hatred.

     Tom Brady’s touching press conference the week before the Super Bowl epitomized the heart and soul of this team. When asked who his hero was, he paused thoughtfully, got choked up, and answered, “My dad. My dad is my hero…”. There was a longer pause as a teary-eyed Tom turned away from the microphone. How can anyone hate that?

     Tom Brady’s Super Bowl win was not just another football game. It was a fight for redemption of past wrongs. It was a finger in the eye of Roger Goodell. It was the visualization of the American dream. The New England Patriot’s symbolize how great our country can be. Even their name is pure Americana. After a game like that, we’re all patriots now.

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