Sunday is a national holiday of sorts with Super Bowl LI to begin at 5:30 p.m. on Fox-TV after a couple of hours of overblown and mostly unnecessary coverage. We should point out that the NFL, realizing that most of us are having difficulty in deciphering larger Roman numerals, has also been calling it Super Bowl 51.
And in the spirit of the game, the excess coverage and expensive first-run commercials, we will share a Super Bowl quiz with our readers.
Many football fans know about Garo Yepremian’s ill-advised pass after a blocked field goal attempt in the 1972 Super Bowl as Miami faced Washington. But who is the player who caught Yepremian’s pass and returned it for a touchdown for the Redskins?
The answer to that quiz question will appear at the end of this column.
This Sunday, the National Football Conference is represented by the Atlanta Falcons and their high-flying offense. The New England Patriots will represent the American Football Conference. The Patriots are accustomed to all the hoopla surrounding the Super Bowl. They have been here a few times.
New England quarterback Tom Brady is attempting to join some elite company. If the Patriots win, this will be the fifth time Brady has won the Super Bowl. He would join Terry Bradshaw, who yucks it up before the game and at halftime on Fox with other former football players and coaches, including Joe Montana. Bradshaw starred for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Montana won his Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49er’s.
Matt Ryan has had a standout season at quarterback for the Falcons. The so-called experts claim this will be a close game. Fox-TV is hoping that it will be a competitive game so that viewers will hang around long after Lady Gaga performs at halftime.
As for me, I can’t say that I have followed the NFL that closely this year. Maybe it has something to do with the fact the Chicago Bears were far from stellar this season. My weekends have been full of activities the past few months and did not always allow time to watch NFL football games on Sundays.
So other than what I have read about the Falcons and the Patriots, I can’t say I know a lot about either team. I didn’t see either team play this year.
But for the many people who tune in on Sunday, that’s not what the game is all about. The Super Bowl garners the most viewers for a national sporting event. They also have millions of people watching from many locations around the world.
While there are many die-hard football fans out there who are glued to the set to watch almost any NFL game or college matchup, there are a lot of us who fall into the casual viewers. Most Americans are watching the game not because the Falcons or the Patriots are playing; they are watching it because it is the Super Bowl. Families have parties and friends often get together to eat a wide arrange of food and drink. It really doesn’t matter if it’s the Falcons or the Patriots. The important thing is to pass the chips and the dips.
Some of us will tune in before the game to see those heart-warming interviews with players who have succeeded despite the odds. Some of us may even care who is going to sing the National Anthem. This year, country singer Luke Bryan will sing it. I have heard of him but don’t know much about him. I did read that he is honored to sing the anthem.
Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem at last year’s Super Bowl at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. She got some great reviews and will most likely perform some music from her album “Joanne” at halftime. She is a halftime act the Super Bowl now craves. Some costume changes, dancing and over-the–top productions are offered at the half. Lady Gaga can sing, but Adele declined an offer to perform at halftime. She was gracious and thanked officials for the invite, but she added the Super Bowl halftime performance has nothing to do with singing. She is right about that.
And that sums up the Super Bowl. The games are often competitive but they are often secondary. Most of us will talk about new commercials we liked or disliked. We will also discuss Lady Gaga’s performance, what she was wearing and whether she made any political statements.
That’s what most people will be talking about, not if Brady wins a fifth Super Bowl.
Back to that quiz question. With Miami leading 14-0 in the fourth quarter, Yepremian attempted a 42-yeard field goal and his kick was blocked and the football rolled back to him. He hurriedly tossed a weak throw that Washington cornerback Mike Bass caught and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown. However, the Dolphins went on to win the game 14-7 and completed the only undefeated season for a NFL team.
Yepremian had the last laugh. He was named to the NFL’s “Team of the Decade” for the 1970s.
Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.