The 50th Super Bowl March Begins in California
by Amy Lignor
The planes have landed in California.
Yes, all the NFL fans, favorites, experts and wannabes are now watching every second they can of the march towards the much-coveted Lombardi trophy. Ears are buzzing and big screen TV’s are already being rented so that house parties can be enjoyed on Super Bowl night. The “Sheriff” – Mr. Peyton Manning – is smiling wide as he soaks in the whole event that could be his last. And Cam Newton, in his definitely striking wardrobe, disembarks from his plane to a slew of photographers already yapping.
The 50th Super Bowl will most definitely be representative of ALL the Super Bowls that have come before. This is the one where the seasoned future Hall of Famer will wave from his saddle looking for one last gasp…while the younger version of QB greatness – one who has perhaps paid his dues and done his time OUT of the NFL spotlight – gears up to score six TD’s (3 passing and 3 rushing, of course) in order to claim the Lombardi Trophy and then move forward to next season where he will try for back-to-back rings.
The sentimental favorite is Manning. His seasons with the Indianapolis Colts where he did get that triumphant ring…before being broken and battered and sent on his way, gave him some of the most loyal fans in the free world. Manning is among the elite – part of the “First Family” when it comes to this sport. He is always well-spoken, he does his commercials and makes people smile, while keeping his head above water and away from controversy. And, no, we will not talk about the investigation of the human growth hormone allegations against Peyton. All we will say here is that they are as dumb as “Deflategate” and it will be astounding to know one day why the NFL went after the ‘best of the best’ based on the word of some gossip rag mag, no less, when they had so many real criminals to choose from.
We will also not talk about race. Yes, this is already a sore subject among the fans and experts. Of course, it may not be as sore if the “experts” would stop ramping everyone up about it. On this side of the ball, the NFC side, it will be interesting one day to see what the people of the world really cared about when all was said and done. (Couldn’t it just be possible that people disliked Cam because of the dancing? Goodness knows that’s why they disliked old “Prime Time.”)
What we will talk about is the magic of it all. Whether or not you are from the Terry Bradshaw era (one of the best to ever play the game). Or you were born a bit later and remember the Steve Young/Troy Aikman time period as being the best, it really doesn’t matter. What the Super Bowl is all about is that the two best teams get to go against each other. Sometimes the two best may not have gotten to this platform. Perhaps one stumbled during the post-season and a Wild Card came up and knocked them out (AKA: Giants), but in the end the game was always a whole lot of fun. There is always someone to root for, there is always a team to stand by – it is one game where even if your favorite doesn’t make it, you still have to watch. Even if just for the commercials and the halftime show.
Super Bowls are unforgettable, and this one will be the same. Cam Newton has something to prove, perhaps within himself. He has had the MVP season all players want to have. Some feel he is the best in the whole league, while others are congratulating him on his success for this season only, keeping their beliefs in Brady or Rodgers. And when it comes to the “Sheriff” – well, there are millions hoping that a real Bronco will be there to escort him off the field after his final Super Bowl win so that the “old man” can leave like his friend Elway: standing upright, all bones unbroken, and looking forward to a future where fans will continue to see him in the world of football. Which is right where he belongs.
Enjoy it as much as the players do, because after the lights go dim and the stadium is cleaned the slew of other sports will move on in and take over…and boredom will set in.