There wasn’t a whole lot “super” about Sunday’s Super Bowl, at least not from my perspective. The game was not exciting. It bordered on boring.
I’m not a hardcore NFL fan. I’m just a guy who likes watching elite athletes do their thing on a big stage. I’m also a journalist so I enjoy the stories within the stories as much as I enjoy the game line. I like the buzz, even if the Super Bowl has more manufactured buzz than any event outside of a manned Mars landing deserves.
It will not surprise you that I was hoping Denver would win. The aging quarterback going for something big perhaps for the final time, versus the brash up-and-comer. I will always tilt way more toward the Peyton Mannings of the world over the Cam Newtons. And lately, more towards the aging guy . . .
But off the field Sunday, both of their performances were not something I would commend my sons to emulate.
Let’s start with Newton. I don’t much care for his preening style, his look-at-me persona, his penchant for overdoing it on the sidelines. He is one of the most charismatic players in the game and as pure an athlete as there is and his on-field performance is entirely worthy of the league MVP honor he won. But he is also a bit of a dick. After five full seasons in the NFL, he should be growing out of that.
My opinion doesn’t matter but the guy did himself no favours after the game Sunday night with his grudging, petulant answers. Yes, he acknowledged the other team played better and he grunted a few answers. But as a role model – even after losing the biggest game of his career – he could have mustered up 45 seconds to show a little generosity of spirit and some class. He didn’t and just because you go 15-1 in the regular season doesn’t make you classy. For the record, before Carolina went 16-2 this year, Newton had a career losing record as an NFL quarterback. Maybe someday he will have a career like Brady or Montana or … Manning. Any Manning. But not yet.
Anyone can win with style and grace. Losing with style and grace is harder than it looks.
Ladies and gentlemen, Cam Newton. Read more here.
At the other end of the corridor, Peyton Manning. He won his 2nd Super Bowl and patiently answered some questions and the veteran and soon-to-be Hall of Fame QB exhibited style and class and spread the credit for the win widely among teammates and family.
And then he shilled for a beer company – twice – after already shilling for Gatorade during the pre-game show and … am I the only one who thinks he might as well have just turned to the camera and said “I’m going to Disneyworld!” It was a clanger and I turned off the TV.
Manning has what advertisers call brand equity and a very high “Q score.” The public loves him so advertisers love him. He’s the all-American boy from the all-American family. He has been a marvelous ambassador for football, for fair play, for most of the ideals that I as a parent would like to see presented in my kids.
Except maybe for the shameless whoring for Budweiser. He didn’t need to do that and I wish he hadn’t. Budweiser didn’t pay Manning – NFL players can’t endorse alcohol – but he did commercials for Gatorade. I don’t have to like it. I don’t. Read more on that here.
Regular readers – not that there has been much here to read lately – know that the gym where I work out (we don’t work out, we train etc etc) is in the midst of a winter challenge with various factors to challenge our assumptions and lifestyle on diet and exercise and discipline.
One of the prohibitions – zero tolerance – is alcohol. This was less of a hurdle for me than some (I gave up beer for most of 2015 as I wanted to lose weight) but it was fun to listen to people (a lot of the women particularly) complain about not getting their nightly wine fix.
Richard, our trainer, waived the no-alcohol rule for the Super Bowl and a collective sigh of relief rose up above western Toronto, Mississauga and Oakville. Beers were bought and enjoyed guilt free, not to mention wine.
The timing of the short amnesty was just about perfect. Four weeks into the challenge people are grinding through the winter and the moment was right for a break.
Lessons have already been learned in this challenge. It’s been an interesting exercise. And gee, only seven more weeks to go . . . I’ll have more to say about the lessons learned later. I’m still learning.
Both our boys will be home this weekend – a good news, bad news scenario. The good is obvious – we love having them home and we love when all four of us (well, five counting a long-time gal pal who is part of the routine too) can all sit around the table.
The bad news is that the heroic efforts of the Dal hockey team to make the playoffs fell short, harpooned in a 2-0 loss Saturday night to the universite de Moncton. So, Pad is free to come home.
Free is a relative word — delaying booking a flight while the hockey team fought for the playoff meant more expensive flight options.
So we will be eating KD during the study break, but I’m sure the boys will love it. (Editor’s note: I can’t actually eat KD because the ATC challenge forbids dairy. KD means cheese, butter, milk . . . I’ll have an extra helping of straw.)