For me, the football season begins in mid-December (when everyone becomes serious) and it ends at the Super Bowl (when everyone becomes deathly serious). This year it ended with the longest Super Bowl in history. Though I am the epitome of punctuality, I let the season go into the Super Bowl’s first overtime without turning off the television so I could see if President Donald Trump’s prediction would be vindicated. He had predicted a New England win. He predicted that the team would win by eight points. They won by six, after being down by 28-3 in the third quarter! Another two-point conversion and the President’s prediction would have been right on the money.
From analyzing the timing of his tweets I have come to the conclusion that Donald stuck with his prediction through all the lonely quarters, the first, the second, and even the grim third quarter, when Tom Brady and his colleagues were still down 28-3. After all, Donald has endured lonely quarters of his own.
As 2016’s Election Day drew nigh, Hillary Rodham Clinton was still being touted as the Inevitable One, much as she was touted as the Inevitable One by the media in her first triumphal march to the presidency eight years ago. Why would she not now vanquish Donald on November 8? The New York Times gave her an 85 percent chance of victory. I like to think that Donald recognized something in the Super Bowl game that others missed. That would be superior coaching, superior training, and finally one thing more, character. The New England Patriots had superior coaching, superior training, and character. No one had these qualities in greater abundance than Brady, as his five Super Bowl rings now make manifest.
The American Spectator’s Editorial Director, Wlady Pleszczynski, recognized these elements of victory even in the game’s first three quarters. In his blog he reported, “The clear advantage Atlanta enjoyed in speed and strength was beginning to mean less and less as the game wore on.” And “the Pats were able to fall back on their superior coaching and training, which had a way of weakening Atlanta’s abilities [italics added].” Now we know why the Atlanta Falcons faltered. I like to think that Wlady learned about “superior coaching and training” from my tirades around the office after watching a great sports victory.
I have often reminded anyone who would listen of the 1962 National AAU Outdoor Swimming Championships. There, every one of my Indiana University teammates who won an event answered the dumbfounded (and disagreeable) ABC sportscaster’s query — “to what do you attribute your victory?” — with a terse “superior coaching” and “training.” By the way, Indiana won the majority of events that summer, as they would for years to come. The hapless sportscasters eventually gave up on them.
The sportscaster back in 1962 wanted something more uplifting and utterly irrelevant to sports. Perhaps he wanted to evoke a wholesome homespun reply, say, “I owe my victory to my mother’s meatloaf” or “my sister’s cookies.” After all, this was the pre-politicized 1960s. Today, as times have changed, the ABC announcer would settle for nothing less than a political diatribe, for instance, a salute to the abandoned immigrants, perhaps a Colin Kaepernick-like genuflection. Truth be known, I have never met a television commentator who knew much about competitive sport, though they all know about politics.
Which brings us to Lady Gaga’s halftime performance. I am told she spared her audience a political statement, though actually I could not tell. With all the fireworks, the lights, the marching or strutting or perhaps dancing hordes on stage, her lyrics escaped me. When she came down from the sky suspended by cords from a helicopter or a dirigible, I got a drink. By the time I returned, she was marching around, gasping and shouting. She might have uttered a political manifesto, say, “Save the Whales” or “Victory in Vietnam” — she is not, after all, known for her grasp of public affairs. Yet I am told she restrained herself.
Good for Lady Gaga. And by the way, she kept up a Super Bowl halftime tradition. She sweated as much as the guys on the field. I hope she retired to the showers or perhaps a bubble-bath. I rather liked her.