Perhaps the wisest thing anyone has ever said about all the hoopla surrounding the Super Bowl came from former Dallas Cowboys running back Duane Thomas.
Thomas was as taciturn as he was talented, and he was very talented.
He refused to talk to the media before Super Bowl VI in 1972, a 24-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Finally, just before the game, he was asked if the Super Bowl is the ultimate game.
“If it’s the ultimate game,” Thomas replied tersely, “how come they’re playing it again next year?”
There have been many “next years” since that sixth “ultimate game.” For those of us who aren’t up on our Roman numerals, Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday is the 48th. If the Roman numeral stuff seems more than a little pretentious, that’s because it is more than a little pretentious.
It is a football game, after all. One team wins, the other loses. So, why is this game different ... or ultimate?
Well, for one thing, it’s the first one being played outdoors in a cold-weather location — MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. The forecast calls for temperatures in the low 30s for the 6:30 p.m. kickoff, with the mercury gradually sinking into the 20s, making it by far the coldest ultimate game ever.
Last year, more than 108 million people watched the ultimate game on television or computers, and more are expected this year. Those people will ultimately consume about 1.25 billion (that is not a misprint — “B,” as in billion) chicken wings this weekend, according to the National Chicken Council’s 2014 Wing Report.
We didn’t even know there was such a thing as the National Chicken Council’s Wing Report, but it says this year’s wing total will surpass last year’s by about 20 million.
We may assume that a great amount of alcoholic beverages will ultimately be used to wash down all those wings and vast amounts of pizza, and chips and dips. If you do have a lot to drink during the game, please watch the post-game show, or whatever else it takes to make sure you don’t drive home drunk.
Last year, various petitions were sent to the Obama administration, urging it to declare the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday to “promote camaraderie among the American people, keep the streets safer for our children on Sunday night and Monday morning, promote a productive workplace when work resumes on Tuesday, and honor the most popular event in modern American culture.”
The petitions didn’t come close to garnering the required 100,000 signatures to elicit an official White House response, but ultimately, it’s not a bad idea, not a bad idea at all.