A lifetime of memories from an annual game
Super Bowl Sunday! My favorite American holiday. All across the country, and in many parts of the world, people have gathered in celebration of our favorite game. We love the food and the beer. We love being around so many of our friends. We savor the memories that are created by our experience of watching each game.
Where were you in January 1973 when the Miami Dolphins beat the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII? I was sitting on the shag carpeting in the basement of my parents home in Big Flats, New York. I was 9. My face was wet from tears because the Redskins were my favorite team and they lost.
How about 1982? When the San Francisco 49ers’s squeaked out a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, I was a senior in high school, having recently found out that I would attend Arizona State University for college. I watched the game on our family’s wooden TV console — a cross between a television and a big piece of furniture.
Where were you in 1986 when the Chicago Bears blew out the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX? I watched that game on my rented TV, alone in my apartment complex in Tempe, Arizona. I didn’t want to be around anybody during the game. It was the Bears. I wanted to be able to yell and scream and curse and if necessary, cry, in privacy. I was angry at my dad because he chose to use his tickets to the game on a business associate instead of his son. It was frustrating because I had been a part of the Bears championship run that year. Home to Chicago for the holidays, I had secured media passes for both the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Giants and the NFC Championship Game versus the Rams. I got to meet Mike Ditka, Walter Payton, Richard Dent, Jim McMahon and the rest of the charismatic bunch that comprised the greatest football team ever gathered!
Where did you watch Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 when the Patriots beat the Panthers? I watched the game at my home in Ocean Springs but I have an interesting memory about that game. I had just invented “The Strength Coach” persona and decided to go to Media Day at the Super Bowl to collect interviews and to get videotape of myself interacting in that environment for use in the documentary film “On A Roll.” I traveled to Houston alone. It was a frigid cold day in Houston. When it’s cold, my hands don’t work. I could not use my cell phone to communicate with the film crew and we never made the connection.
In 2001, I was living in the Super Bowl city, Tampa, and attended all the festivities that week. I enjoyed the game at a big party with several of my closest friends. I was pulling for the Baltimore Ravens, who beat the New York Giants 34-7.
When Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLI in 2007, I was screaming with joy at my 50″ plasma. I was with my family at home and we were celebrating too early. When the game was over, I turned the TV off and went to bed. Final score: Peyton Manning’s Colts 29, the Bears 17.
Today’s game is a family affair once again. Football is such an important part of our family structure. My dad played. My sons played. I coached and I watch. As far as I’m concerned, you can have the big Super Bowl parties. I’m excited about watching this year’s game on our 55″ with the surround sound turned way up and my father and sons within yelling distance.
For a fun exercise, go back and look at the history of the Super Bowl. Where were you? What was going on in your life? Who were you watching it with? What about your experience with this year’s game?