If I added up the time I spend watching football, researching players, and writing weekly fantasy recaps for my league, it would probably be at least a part-time job.
After the 49ers heartbreaking loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game, I was devastated. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that when Kyle Williams fumbled the punt, setting the Giants up for the game-winning field goal in overtime, I started sobbing. Head-in-hands, chest-heaving, uncontrollable sobbing. My dream of the 49ers going to the Super Bowl was over. I was crushed.
I was unable to get out of bed the next day, but soon my depression turned to anger. Screw the Giants AND the Patriots, I thought. They just HAD a stupid Super Bowl four years ago! I’m not going to watch. No one can make me. (Insert crossed arms and foot stomping here.) Except, ugh, what kind of Sports Editor boycotts the Super Bowl? Isn't it kind of my job to put my emotions aside in this case?
But as I write this, it occurs to me that maybe you guys don't even care! I mean, I'd be doing it for you, so if you don't even want Super Bowl coverage, maybe Jane won't make me Live Tweet it. Thoughts?
Just in case though, I decided I should make some sort of effort to get stoked for Super Bowl XLVI. So I decided to look back on some moments that are reminiscent of happier times. You know, times when I didn’t feel like throwing up every time Eli Manning’s mug showed up on my TV.
Read on and then share yours in the comments.
5. XXXVI (2002) – New England Patriots, 20, St. Louis Rams, 17
One of the reasons I love football (and sports) is the race against time. With the game on the line, the last two minutes of football can be nail-biting, heart-stopping, and deals-with-God inducing.
Down by seven, Rams QB Kurt Warner threw a TD pass with 1:30 left to tie the game 17-17. It looked like this Super Bowl was going into overtime. But with no timeouts remaining, Tom Brady put together several great passes to drive the ball down field to the St. Louis 30-yard line, at which point he spiked the ball and stopped the clock.
There were seven seconds left in the fourth quarter.
And then, just as time expired…Kicker Adam Vinatieri came onto the field and effortlessly drilled a 48-yard field goal through the uprights to win the game.
It was the first-ever Super Bowl win for New England and I happened to be dating a Patriots’ fan at the time. We went straight to the bar and did what seemed like a bazillion celebration shots.
I woke up the next morning fully dressed on my living room floor. He was passed out on the couch next to me, snoring, a trail of drool trickling from his permanent smile. If the 49ers couldn’t be in it, this was the next best thing. (Don't ever tell anyone I admitted to that.)
4. XXXVIII (2004) New England Patriots, 32, Carolina Panthers, 29
You may remember this particular Super Bowl better as “Nipplegate,” or the origin of the phrase “wardrobe malfunction.” I was in graduate school at the time and invited a bunch of friends over to watch on my teeny-tiny television, so we somehow missed the infamous half-second when Justin Timberlake exposed Janet Jackson’s breast (adorned with a “nipple shield”). However, as word of the incident spread, I realized that a DVR was something I had to have…just as soon as I could afford it. (Sadly, it took a few years.)
This was also the halftime show that ensured we would have to suffer through utter crap for the rest of eternity since after the incident, the NFL announced MTV would never be involved in another Super Bowl production. (And yes, I am saying that MTV-produced better half-time shows.)
3. XX (1985) Chicago Bears, 46, New England Patriots 10
For me, this memory isn’t about the fact that the Bears pummeled the Pats in the most lopsided win in history (until the Niners destroyed Denver in Super Bowl XXIV). No, no. This memory is all about, that’s right: The Super Bowl Shuffle.
What’s amazing about this “rap song” (that’s what the kids call it, right?) is not that it was performed by players on the Chicago Bears, or that it sold more than half a million copies. It’s not even that it was nominated for a Grammy award. The most amazing thing about this song?
The video and song were recorded days BEFORE the Bears won the championship title.
Now that takes balls.
2. XXV (1991) New York Giants, 20, Buffalo Bills 19
You may have noticed that most of my “favorite” Super Bowls have really close scores, but that isn’t why this one made the list.
In 1991, my 8th-grade class took a weeklong trip to Yosemite. While we were there, the First Gulf War was waged. I remember finding out the U.S. was at war during our cafeteria dinner and freaking out. I was only 13 and when I thought of war, I thought of being attacked. It didn’t even occur to me then that we could be on the offense.
That year, my relationship with my mother was precarious at best. It had already been determined that she was sending me to boarding school in seven months, and I despised her for this (amongst other things). But in that instance, with the threat of war looming, I did something completely out of character: I called home collect to get my mother’s reassurance.
The phone call did not go well. She blew me off. Told me I was silly to worry. That the war was far away. That it wouldn’t ever affect us at home. Those things were all true, yes, but I’ll never forget how dumb she made me feel for being scared in the first place.
Fast-forward 10 days to the Super Bowl and Whitney Houston’s rousing rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It was the first time in my life I understood not just the definition of patriotism, but the overwhelming feeling that can sometimes accompany it. And that all of those feelings I had? In many ways, they were completely valid.
1. XXIII (1989) San Francisco 49ers, 20, Cincinnati Bengals, 16
What. Like I was actually going to make this list without a 49ers Super Bowl reference? You’re just lucky there aren’t two. (Or five. Which there could be. Since that’s how many Super Bowls we’ve won.)
Honestly? I’m not even sure if I watched this Super Bowl. We lived in a TV-free house. And, as I’ve mentioned before, football wasn’t a sport of which my mother approved. In all likelihood, I spent this Sunday afternoon reading a book or roller-skating in Golden Gate Park, but whatever. Thanks to the miracle that is the NFL Network, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to relive each and every stressful moment. (And yes, I get stressed about football even if I know the outcome. People call me passionate and crazy, but no one’s ever called me smart.)
Why does this one make the list? Here’s why:
The 49ers were down by three with just over three minutes to play. Cinncinnati had them pinned at their own eight-yard line. Joe Montana had to drive his team 92-yards down the field for the win.
Seven plays and the 49ers were at Cinncinnati’s 48.
A 13-yard run by Roger Craig gave them the 1st down on the 34.
A 27-yard pass to Jerry Rice put them just 18 yards away from the goal line.
With less than a minute, Montana completed an 8-yard pass to Roger Craig. Ten yards away from the goal line.
On 2nd and 2, with only 34 seconds left in the game, Montana fired a pass up the middle to John Taylor.
Niners win. Pure magic. Also, sadly, Bill Walsh’s final game as the 49ers’ head coach.
So there you have it… Just a few of my “favorite” moments from Super Bowls past.
Where are you watching the game? Who are you rooting to win? And do you want me to live Tweet the game (and commercials) from the @xoJanedotcom Twitter account? Your wish is my command.
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