Many times in this column I attempt to keep my subject matter as up to date as I can, that is, I seek to bring current events into my text. In today's instance, with little doubt the most dominant activity that I could point to would be Super Bowl LI, the 51st engagement of professional football's championship game.
To the best of my knowledge, the National Football League classic was not known as the Super Bowl back in 1967 and 1968, the first two years that the big game was played. It was not until 1969 when the game was f
inally called Super Bowl--it was Super Bowl III--when the New York Jets, behind star quarterback Joe Namath, upset Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers.
The 51st Super Bowl, to be played Sunday evening at NRG Field in Houston, Texas, pits the New England
Patriots against the Atlanta Falcons, an NFL team that has not, as far as I know, appeared in a Super Bowl. Fox TV will be airing the game again this year, and personally, I'm rooting for the Falcons.
Over the years, the Super Bowl has evolved considerably, beginning basically as the championship tilt between the top team in the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC) leader.
But the Super Bowl has certainly turned into much more than just that. Almost as fascinating as the games themselves--sometimes even more so--are the commercial advertisements.
With pricetags of more than five million bucks per 30-second spot, could there really be any wonder at
all that so much focus has been placed on those TV ads? (My favorite commercials have revolved around those involving animals.) There are even 60-minute TV specials that review some of the more popular commercials that have appeared through the years.
Fox TV, in recent years, has also featured its lovable "Puppy Bowl," in which tiny, energy-filled pups are turned loose on a miniature gridiron as they grapple with each other to gain possession of the "football," just like the big boys do. This year, a number of other Super Bowl-related programs are being shown on national TV networks, especially Fox and the ever-popular NFL Channel.
Also as the years have progressed, there has been much talent exhibited at half-time, with big-name rock'n'roll performers starring in their own mini-concerts. Who could ever forget Janet Jackson's controversial "wardrobe malfunction" of several years ago? Yep, that was at the Super Bowl!
Right at this time I don't have in front of me an NFL data sheet listing the results of each Super Bowl from 1967 through 2016--I guess I could Google it!--but as far as statistics of the game of football are concerned, there are several teams that have won more Super Bowl rings for their players than others.
My favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, have won six or seven Super Bowls. If you follow the game--this year, I didn't follow it as closely as in other years--you'll know that the Steelers did make it to the playoffs as the AFC North Division champ, but in the last three games they played, their points could be credited only to the hoof of their very capable field goal kicker. In that last game, it was the Patriots who bested them. (But I'm not cheering for the Falcons out of a spirit of revenge.)
Other successful NFL teams that have accomplished several multi-win seasons are the Dallas Cowboys, the New England Patriots, the Green Bay Packers, the Denver Broncos, the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks and the Chicago Bears. (If I've omitted any, then "my bad!")
Yet another feature that is closely associated with the Super Bowl by the fans is the food--and the parties. One news item I heard just this past week was that a majority of the folks who really get into the game tend to watch it away from their own homes--at a local tavern or at the home of a friend. Some diehards have even suggested that the day after the Super Bowl should be proclaimed as a national holiday. After all, for any of them who actually feel physically able to make it to work, how many of them have their minds on working?
My one final wish for this time: Enjoy the Super Bowl!!!
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Today's Bible Verse: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."--II Chronicles 7:14