Thursday, February 2, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Super Bowl XLII & This Year's LI

Have you ever wondered why Super Bowls are numbered using Roman numerals? This year it will be Super Bowl LI, or 51 if inscribed the usual way we write numbers.

I used to think that Roman numerals were used because NFL Football is attempting to identify itself with the gladiators of ancient times. The argument can easily be developed that the games are a modern form of "bread and circuses." In point of fact, the use of Roman numerals was an attempt to create less confusion. For example, if they used the year, as in Super Bowl 2016, which is technically a final playoff for the 2016, this would be confusing because the game is held in 2017. That, however, does not explain why they couldn't just call it Super Bowl 51.

For the record, this year's Coin Toss will be conducted by former president George HW Bush and the former first lady Barbara B.

The big stories this year revolve around the Patriots. Tom Brady has an opportunity to get the most wins of any quarterback in Super Bowl History, passing (pun intended) Joe Montana. Bill Bellicek is aiming toward the most wins, a record currently held by the Steel Curtain's coach Chuck Noll. (Trivia: I was walking thru a suburban neighborhood in Pittsburgh back in 1976 when the young woman I was with said, "This is Chuck Noll's house." It was quite nondescript and non-ostentatious. Just a house in a nice neighborhood. I touched his mailbox.)

In theory, this should be a great game. The Atlanta Falcons looked so dominating this year, and the New New England Patriots looked like a team with a mission. Can the NFL's top offense break the NFL's top defense?

One match-up to watch will be the Patriots defense vs. Julio Jones. Jones is the Matt Ryan as Jerry Rice was to Joe Montana. The Pats have built a tradition around defanging "top weapons" though, so we'll see what they have up their sleeve. (Maybe a car accident before the game? Deflated tires? Sliced brake lines?)

Terry Bradshaw is the only other quarterback to have garnered four Super Bowl rings, besides Brady and Montana. Will he be rooting for the Falcons then? Will he be a good sport if Brady acquires his fifth ring and lifts that Lombardi Trophy skyward this Sunday?

All in all, it should be a good game.

* * * *
Meantiime, for Throwback Thurz, here's my post from nine years ago going into Super Bowl XLII.

Super Bowl Sunday In Cincy

GLENDALE, Ariz.–Most Super Bowls never live up to the endless barrage of hype and tonight's 42nd version, held in a large Airstream trailer of a stadium parked in the desert, might not, either. But we'll either get history being made by the New England Patriots, who are on the verge of a level of perfection unknown in football, or we will see history denied by the New York Giants in a monster upset. ~ Dave Perkins, The Toronto Star

Well, there's nothing quite like having your own team in the Big Game. The Browns are not there, but Bill Bellicek, unquestionably one of the greatest pro football coaches of all time (unless they discover his brain is on steroids) used to coach the Browns early in his career. I liked him then so I will be rooting for him today. Go Patriots.

In case you have not heard, the Patriots are living a dream season. There are one step away from the magical undefeated season, only the second in NFL history, and the longest run yet. Supposedly football is a game where "any given Sunday" either team can win. But despite the era of free agency and huge egos, Bellicek has assembled a no nonsense, awe inspiring record of dynastic proportions. It's not supposed to happen this way, yet it has. Which means this guy is the real deal, worthy of being compaed to the greats, Lombardi and Landry.

For this reason, all eyes will be on Glendale. Or a least, seventy million will be... or is that seven hundred million? Who knows. I am sure the talking heads who host today's game will be letting us know.

In the meantime, however you spend the day, enjoy it. Preferably with friends. By tomorrow this game will be history, but a good friend is for ever.

EdNote: The Super Bowl logo on this page is posted in accordance with Fair Use registration, Wikipedia Creative Commons.

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