“If the Super Bowl is the ultimate game, how come there’s another one next year?” – Duane Thomas

Relax, Steeler fans. Thomas, then a Dallas Cowboy, said this in the run up to Super Bowl VI in 1972, which was III or IV Super Bowls before our boys arrived. Still, it created some controversy and a lot of people were upset at Duane Thomas. To the Idler’s way of thinking, though, it seems like a perfectly reasonable observation and not just because being a Dallas Cowboy is such an innately shameful state of existence. If you do something for a living, as a professional football player does, how wildly enthusiastic can you be expected to be about it? You don’t see barbers getting all fired up while sharpening their scissors in the morning. You don’t see garbage men dancing around the cans before they pick them up. You don’t see politicians high-fiving each other while they’re ripping off the taxpayers. What’s that? You do? Well then you’ve been spending too much time in Harrisburg.

SB XLVII

You can forgive a certain amount of emotion in amateur sports. They’re doing it for love of the game which, if you were willing to look it up, would probably be the definition of “amateur.” And it makes a certain amount of sense to become emotionally invested in the success of your school’s sports teams. Especially when all they have to do is beat the spread a couple of times and maybe, just maybe, you could catch up on the payments for your student loans. But no-o-o-o, they have to fumble on their own 15 yard line with a minute thirty on the clock and, . . . okay, where was I?

Oh yeah, cheering for professionals is a bit more problematic, and neither Super Bowl team has been involved in the “ultimate game” for quite a while. So, as a public service, and based on his years of experience in the field of televised sports viewing, the Idler will now saddle up the recliner and give these bi-coastal rookies some badly needed pointers:

1)  Avoid alcohol consumption. Ha-ha, just kidding, but you might want to be careful not to overdo it in pre-game warmups so as not to end up like the Idler’s buddy, Sober Charlie, whose name I’m not making up. On a tavern-sponsored trip to a Bengals game he spent the entire time passed out in the back of the bus. Two years in a row.

2) Use halftime wisely. This means visiting the plumbing while your significant other is taking in the Black-eyed Chili Peppers concert or Lady Boo-boo or whatever other trashy extravaganza they’re foisting on us.  She wouldn’t appreciate any of your devastatingly witty commentary anyway. Also, don’t go playing touch in the alley with your boisterous cronies. You don’t want to have to watch the second half on one of those low-def Emergency Room sets.

3) Wipe that stupid grin off your face. (Ravens fans only)

4) Keep in mind the Duane Thomas philosophy and enjoy it while it lasts,Ravens and Niners fans. Because they’ll play it again next year, and when they do, the Steelers will kick both your butts.

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