Super Bowl Sadness

I can’t remember the last time I watched an entire NFL game, from start to finish. I don’t know if I ever have. And I say that as someone who’s been a fan, of varying degrees, over the last fifteen years.

I became a fan of the NFL in 2002, when I witnessed Tom Brady lead the Patriots down the field – with no timeouts left and 90 seconds on the clock – to win the Super Bowl by a field goal. I had never seen anything like it. It was a furious race against the clock.

I guess you can call me a Brady Boomer. That moment made me a fan of his and the Patriots.

Though as the years went on, I was a bit confused. I didn’t know who to cheer for. There is no Canadian team in the NFL. I always thought team allegiances had to do with your geographical location.

Trying to figure out which team I was supposed to cheer for in Formula 1 was hard enough.

My Dad always wanted to know how the Buffalo Bills were doing. To this day, he will ask me: “How are the Buffalonians doing?” I hate that question so much. He knows it, too.

So for a while, I thought I was a Bills fan. I’m a hop, skip, and a one hour wait at the border away from Buffalo. But whenever I tried to watch their games, I was never interested. They were awful and still are. So I drifted away.

Between 2002 – 2009, I knew just about everything there was to know about the NFL. I read the magazines. I watched the two hour pre-game show on Sunday. I played the Madden video games.

Green Bay vs Minnesota in the snow, in the playoffs, is a memory I still have. It was cool to watch on TV.

The best football video game was Madden 2005 for the PC. Anyone who disagrees with me can fight me in a mud wrestling match. 

And then 2009 came and I moved away to university, where my Sundays were occupied with sleeping, eating, intramurals (this blog wouldn’t have a name without them), readings (I’m still keeping up the charade that I actually did my readings), and assignments.

On top of that, I had very few channels and all I could watch were the Buffalo Bills. I wasn’t interested in the Bills. I liked the New York Jets at that point. We broke up after three years.

Going away to university killed my NFL obsession. I never participated in fantasy football, so I didn’t even have that to keep me in the loop.

The video games got boring. The players didn’t run smoothly in them anymore. They all had a stutter step and the whole game was built around bone breaking tackles. I wanted Madden 2005, but it was 2012.

In the back of my head, I never stopped being a Patriots fan. They were the reason I got into the NFL in the first place. But I felt like I needed another team to cheer for – an underdog.

Cheering for the Patriots is like betting that Santa Claus is on the last float of the Santa Claus Parade. He always is. There’s no point in betting.

So over the last eight years, the NFL and I have had a distant relationship. I’ll watch a few minutes of some games, here and there, but it can’t keep my attention.

I read an article a few years ago that a 60-minute NFL game is only about 12 minutes of action. The rest of it is the clock winding down between plays. That bothers me.

The entire game is built around the strategy of “eating the clock” and “establishing the run.”

Do you know how frustrating it is seeing two running plays in a row, for a gain of two yards, and then hearing the announcers say: “They’re trying to establish the run, early on here.” Shut up. Spare me.

For the uninformed, Canada has their own football league – the Canadian Football League. The field is longer (by ten yards) and wider. There are only three downs. The play clock is only 20 seconds. Guess what? Everyone breaks the huddle and runs the play on time.

And when you punt the ball, the kicking team has to give a 5-yard buffer to the returner, so we actually see returns. WHAT A CONCEPT, EH NFL?

So it bothers me that an NFL play clock is 40 seconds and the last two minutes of the game can come down to the use of three ridiculous time outs.

The whole game is about the clock. Oh, and it’s about the defense trying to take everyone’s head off/shorten player’s lives. But that’s a topic for another day.

What also bothers me is all the commercials. There will be a touchdown. Then a commercial. Then we watch the kickoff sail through the end zone. Another commercial.

I just can’t handle it. I hate commercials. I hate commercials more than I love pizza. Think about that.

I felt the overall entertainment of an NFL game started to dwindle many years ago. It kind of put a smile on my face to see that ratings were down so much this year; it made me feel like I wasn’t crazy for turning away from “the best sport in the world”.

The league has gotten quite boastful, too. I don’t trust a word the commissioner says, and I don’t think he does either. The way they handle players with criminal charges is absolutely disgusting.

I’m afraid the idea of the Super Bowl is more exciting than actually watching the game. I could be wrong. I’ll see how I feel this year.

Since I mentioned pizza, let me just say that I think pizza is slowly becoming my favourite part of the Super Bowl. I don’t really care for Super Bowl parties, or even watching sports with a big group of people, actually.

It just ruins the experience for me. Anything more than 4-5 people is too much (unless I’m there in person). I leave afterwards and can’t remember a thing about the game because we carried on a conversation the whole time.

Anyways, pizza. I once ordered 15 pizzas from Papa John’s on Super Bowl Sunday, circa 2011, and put it all on my school meal plan. 12 people wanted a large pizza for themselves, with their own toppings, and I ordered 3 extra pizzas for “everyone else”. It was glorious.

The year before, I watched the game with a group of people and sat there with my Astronomy notebook because I had a midterm the next day and knew absolutely nothing about Astronomy.

I still didn’t do well on the exam. What’s a solar system?

I understand that the Super Bowl is meant to appeal to all people, which is why the halftime act normally appeals to demographics of those not interested in football. I get it.

But enough with the social media updates of: “If there are 11 minutes left in the first quarter, how long until halftime? I’m only here for halftime.”

Don’t you remember from last year?

Even though I probably won’t watch every minute of the game, I’ll be cheering for the Patriots on Sunday. For two reasons.

1) I started watching the NFL because of them.

2) If Roger Goodell has to hand a trophy over to Tom Brady, it’ll be more awkward than when Obama handed the White House over to Trump. Book it.

Happy Super Bowl to those who celebrate!

Happy Superb Owl to those hoo don’t!

And happy Supper Bowl to those who are just here for the pizza.

Fun Fact: If you were wondering why some companies/pizza places refer to it as “The Big Game”, it’s because they don’t have the rights to call it the Super Bowl. There, I had to put that in here to prove I learned something in school.

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33 Responses to Super Bowl Sadness

  1. Quinn says:

    I’m gearing up to watch Ireland play Scotland in the rugby today (no pauses, almost no commercials) and I can honestly say I’ve never watched a game of American football, mostly because somebody once told me a game can last four hours and honestly who has time for that?

    I will however watch the halftime show on youtube the next day. So.

    Maybe I should just give it a try some day when I have nothing better to do but watch an hour’s worth of ads about medications and supersize sodas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I love rugby! Unfortunately people here don’t pay attention to it because it’s only on TV a few times per year. I follow the 7s series – highly entertaining.
      American football games are normally about 3 hours, college football goes on for 4 hours though and that seems to be more popular. It’s crazy. I’ll take a 2 hour rugby match any time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I could not agree more, Paul! Excellent post. I became a football fan late in life when I randomly decided to start watching it in 2008. I just happened to catch the game where Aaron Rodgers took over for Brett Farve and lit up the field. I was hooked and was an avid GB fan for years. But then I too began to get disillusioned. The off-field antics by players that were swept under the rug. The rise of refereeing as a way to take away big plays. And, yes, the new obsession with the run game has virtually destroyed my interest in the game. And really, what is an emphasis on the run game other than just another way to milk time off of the clock? But finally, it was just the commercials that killed football for me. How they can take 60 minutes of game time (which you rightly pointed out only contains 12 minutes of actual playing) and stretch it out into a three-and-a-half hour Roman orgy of consumerism and hucksterism, is beyond me. But at the end of the day, I have better things to do than watch a 3.5 hour infomercial that is broken up intermittently by ho-hum football plays. I have watched virtually no football this year and probably by next year I will have all but given it up as a diversion. And as a side note, a few years ago during the NFL strike, the networks began airing CFL games down here. I thought they were awesome and was really enjoying them for all the reasons you mentioned. But then the NFL strike ended and CFL disappeared from American television. That’s a shame. I probably would have continued watching them.

    Thanks for a great post! Maybe if enough people stop watching the NFL, Herr Goodell will get the message.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      What a rant!
      I forgot to mention referees, thank you for doing so. Obviously I’ve never been to an NFL game before so the in-game experience in some places may be incredible, but I’m not sure it’s as exciting as advertisements make it sound.
      I think the CFL still airs some games on ESPN in the U.S. but only a select few. The league is currently going through a transition – all the old quarterbacks are on their way out (most of them were all-time greats) so it’s been a struggle finding new stars to make the games entertaining but at least there is more action shoved into a 60 minute game. In the last 3 minutes, each team could have 2 possessions each, sometimes more. There’s more suspense and hope than NFL games.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. rebbit7 says:

    Even if one doesn’t like the Super Bowl (personally, not a huge fan), we have Lady Gaga’s concert to look forward to, if you know what I mean! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Squid says:

    Splendid! OK, I have to confess that I’ve watched the Superb Owl (wonderful job with that and the pun, BTW) simply for the commercials before. I don’t watch cable ever, sticking to Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix for all of my TV experiences minus the Olympics, Presidential stuff, and this big game. (That fun fact blew me away!!) The commercials are so foreign to me now that I kinda like them, excepting of course the medicine ones that have the hurried list of potential side effects that are usually worse than the problem you’re trying to solve. Ugh.
    However, now that I’ve asked questions about what in the world footballese translates to, I think I can actually enjoy a game. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I heard that the commercials this year aren’t going to have as many celebrity appearances because they realized there wasn’t much of an impact with them. Well, duh. lol. People only watch them to be entertained, not to be something.
      This is the first time I’ve ever heard the word “footballese”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Squid says:

        Huh, I never really realized that there even were celebrities in any of the commercials… Shows how much I pay attention, lol. I just like the Doritos ones, esp. the time machine one and the fetus who wants Doritos. Both were awesome, hehe.
        You’re welcome, my made-up word has now enhanced your vocabulary. Football lingo is so confusing that I think it is its own language. I want to say the same about ballet, but that’s actually French, lol.


  5. AWESOME post! “Superb owl!” What a “hoot.” Hehe! ;o))

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jflem81 says:

    As an avid sports fan, I agree on all counts except being a fan of the Patriots. How could you?

    Football can be very boring and since Canada has its own league that is essentially the same sport (and more entertaining, I’ve heard) but without all the sensationalism and over marketing, I would adopt a CFL team if I were you.

    I call myself an Eagles fan because I always root for my city. look at my blog for two seconds and you will see. Having said that, I still can’t get into the sport. Philly is undoubtedly a football town, but I prefer to follow the other sports more. I don’t watch all their games and usually don’t watch the Super Bowl, if you can believe it. Tomorrow, the Super Bowl will be on in my house. My wife and brother are big football fans. I will probably be working on my next post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Oh don’t worry, I cheer for my hometown CFL team, even though it can be hard at times. Haha I know, being a Patriots fan is like cheering for the Yankees or Cowboys – I blame Tom Brady. Enjoy the game…or at least hearing others yell at the TV for 4 hours.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. OMG YOU DID NOT ORDER 15 PIZZAS, WHERE WAS I?? Unfair! The Super Bowl has been a family tradition since like I could remember. And this year, I actually like in the home state of the Patriots 😉 So if they win…my city is going to go absolutely crazy and I’m gonna get to witness it! So excited. Also, my Super Bowl food was also always pizza- but this year, I’m going to do nachos 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I only watch playoff games. I watch CFL games more.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Barb Knowles says:

    Not liking the NFL can have serious ramifications in our friendship. But, then again, I don’t like basketball and my marriage has survived. My team is the NY Giants. I’m with your dad with Buffalo, though it’s because they’re also a NY team. I don’t like the Jets. I also like Buffalo because they’ve had players and a coach named Harvey, which is my maiden name. But the Patriots are my team for the Super Bowl. And as for commercials, I agree with you in principle about commercials during NFL games, but the Super Bowl commercials are usually awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Until this year, we weren’t allowed to see the US commercials. We would get Canadian ones which were boring. The NFL is apart of American culture while the NHL is Canadian culture.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barb Knowles says:

        That’s interesting. And you’re right about NHL being Canadian culture, although I hadn’t thought of it that way. I thought a lot of the commercials were lame this year, although some I really liked. You must admit though that the second half of the Super Bowl was crazy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        I was in and out of sleeping during the first half – had to rewind to see the coin flip and the halftime show. It’s only when I was fully awake and the score was 28-3 that the Patriots started making their comeback. They have me to thank and they don’t even know it. I was quite entertained. That was the kind of football games I used to enjoy watching.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Barb Knowles says:

        I didn’t watch the first half because I was reading and I could hear Tim’s negative comments. I watched the second half from the kickoff so I think they have me to thank. Super Bowl featuring Paul and Barb.
        I just put up a new post.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I have watched at least one football game each season (usually Denver Broncos cuz I’m from Colorado) since I was too young to form memories.

    This is the first year I haven’t seen a single one. You know what… I think I’m gonna be OK.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Shhh…don’t say that too loud!
      Actually, I think more and more are becoming like you – slowly moving away from the sport. It’ll be interesting to see if the NFL does anything to win some fans back or if they don’t care because they still make billions of dollars.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. thatzimgirl says:

    LOL but how we know you learned that fact in school though? I heard it on a podcast. Yeah I can’t actually watch any huge sporting events with too many people because I just can’t be who I wanna be when some guy named jim next to me wants to tell me about how his three year old picked Brady as the winner and then I miss a touchdown. lol I can’t stand it

    Liked by 1 person

  12. MattWeil says:

    Wow, nice article! I couldn’t stop reading! I’ve been a Patriots fan also, and it started kind of like yours.

    Liked by 1 person

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