Print Edition: February 8, 2012
As a Canadian, the Super Bowl presents somewhat of a challenge. Who to cheer for? Why is the field so small? What on earth is Madonna doing – isn’t she like 50? Why do the Americans get all the good commercials? The confusion and frustration can often be too much for one Canadian boy to handle.
It’s interesting how Super Bowl parties in Canada work. In my experience (limited as it may be), they generally follow a similar pattern. First, the guests arrive and the question is asked: “Who’re you going for?” Ninety per cent will declare a side, (in our case, Giants or Patriots) and quickly qualify the statement by saying “…but, I don’t really follow football too closely.” The other 10 per cent give a puzzled look, likely unaware that there is even a football game on.
It’s actually quite funny to watch a group of people, who are not really all too invested in the outcome of a game, subtly start acting like they’ve been following a team all year long. The Patriots take the lead and one yells out: “Thats my boy! Tom Brady! MVP! MVP!” Meanwhile, the “fans” of the Giants have migrated to the snack table to converse about how Luongo finally won in a shoot-out. “Time to trade him,” suggests one soon-to-be-GM.
The convergence of hockey and football was inevitable. “The Patriots are definitely the Red Wings of the NFL. I hate them.” The comparison between the NFL playoffs and the Stanley Cup playoffs is made. The cup is way harder to win, it’s decided. I suggest that maybe NFL refs should start using flags – one could imagine Bob Cole puzzling over where the brightly coloured flag came from. “Well folks, it looks like there’s a flag on the ice… Uhm, I think it’s against the team in the white jerseys.” But I digress. In all seriousness, it would be nice if NHL refs explained the calls they make like NFL refs. Take note, Gary Bettman.
Madonna sings, jokes are made about how old she is and someone references the need to make sure that Justin Timberlake is nowhere near the stage… or the building, for that matter. Halftime is over, to the relief of many, and play continues. Then, ironically, the collective ignorance is shown when someone asks a question: “How many quarters are in this thing? …How many downs are left?” Even worse is when the collective begins to try to answer the questions being thrown out into the abyss: “No, I think he has to have both feet planted… It’s a safety. It means he’s safe.” Snippets of conversations come and go and the game wears on. The Giants take the lead and the embryonic fans of said team begin to shout and holler that they knew it all along. “What was the name of the quarterback again? …Payton Manning! I love that guy.”
Now, I am not one to talk. I am primarily a hockey fan. To be honest, the amount of football games I watch a year can be counted on one hand. Perhaps it is what makes the Super Bowl so… super – you don’t have to know a great deal, nor do you even have to follow the NFL season. You just show up, grab some Doritos and a beer, pick a team and hang on for the ride. This year, I picked the Giants. It was a good afternoon.