Monday, February 8, 2010

Why Super Bowl is America's Answer to the FA Cup

As it got closer to Super Bowl XLIV, my plan was to watch the game at home, eat pizza, and drink Red Stripe beer.
Then I realized I had a replica Archie Manning jersey, a "Go Saints" placard and a CBS Super Bowl hat.
You just can't let that go to I didn't.
I went to the MVP sports bar at 17th and Capitol, and had a great time. I was allowed to drink three glasses of lemonade at the bar, and enjoyed a nice view of the game. I also discovered its bathrooms have TV's just above the sinks. That way, you don't miss a thing. I don't think any other sports bar has that, but it convinced me to come back soon.
It was really noisy, and I didn't get an idea of how the Who did. The stage looked cool, though. As I am typing this, I am hearing the band through YouTube (before they take it down, of course). They do sound old, and I am sure anyone younger than 50 must have thought the show was really a 12-minute ad for CSI. It also makes you wonder who has aged more gracefully, the Who or the Rolling Stones. Now, halfway through "Baba O'Riley," Roger Daltry is recovering well.

I had suggested through Twitter than getting someone who is, say, not quite 40, should be the halftime guest. I remember a classic performance of "Message in a Bottle" with Sting and No Doubt in Super Bowl XXXVII. Damn the Wardrobe Malfunction that ruined everything, the NFL should trust musicians younger than 40 to perform at halftime. Let's have Pink do her act that she did at the Grammys. She'd still be covered up. Green Day is approaching statesmen status with a Broadway show coming up. My guess is the closest they'll get to having a current star at halftime is Taylor Swift, especially when Super Bowl XLV comes to Dallas. She can lip-synch through the event, as others have before. If her real voice improves in the next year, so much the better. The only other possibility would be the Dixie Chicks, and wouldn't that be interesting? It would also make more sense because they're from Texas.
And as I type this, Daltry is now in the zone with "Won't Be Fooled Again". Pink would have been in the zone, too, and the stage wouldn't be more impressive that she was.

The Super Bowl seems to be the one sporting event where people are compelled to see it at a bar rather than at home, unless you're at a friend's hose with chips, buffalo wings and such. I've seen the game a few times from bars, even if they were usually parties sponsored by radio stations. One of the my favorite memories was Super Bowl XXIII, where I saw the game at a bar in Chico. It was the same day as the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which means a pro-life protest. I covered that for my radio station in Oroville, killing two birds with one stone.

The Olympics are coming up this week, and I have to wonder if bars will be filled when we see out athletes skiing, bobsledding, or even figure skating. I doubt that's likely, but you can expect those events to be on the TVs anyway. If Canada meets the US in the ice hockey final, then you'll see filled sports bars. Canada has a different approach: getting people to see HD coverage at local theaters for a small fee. We, of course, prefer seeing the Olympics at bar for a small fee, also known as buying a round.

It's likely the next big days for sports bars will be the NCAA Basketball Final Four and the World Cup. The latter event will be a bit different because you can expect pubs, rather than typical sports bars, have watching parties. I remember when the US was in the quarterfinals of Korea 2002. The pub close to my house was filled with people eating beans and eggs at 5 AM, hoping the Yanks will reach the semifinals. Since the event will be in South Africa this year, expect a few long lunches when the Americans play.

Make no mistake: the Super Bowl is our version of the FA Cup, Grey Cup, Copa Libertadores final or UEFA Champions League final. It's something that's no fun if you watch it alone. I know that now.

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