Superbowl VII


The Superbowl…I remember when the Superbowl was a football game, a game played to decide the championship of the National Football League. But in recent years it has become a week-long media event complete with up-close and personal “news” features concerning personalities who may or may not have anything to do with football. The television audience for this year’s edition of the event will probably be split evenly between real football fans and those of the gentler gender who will be breathing hard in anticipation of a Prince “wardrobe malfunction.”

As for me, I’ve grown relatively weary of the circus that surrounds Superbowl week. Yes, there will be new commercials and yes, I’m sure that they will be witty and innovative. But I can’t get too excited about new, witty and innovative ways to convince me to use the same crap in a new box. Think about it. The football game is the free toy in the box. The real deal is to get us all to think that we can’t live without seeing all the new commercials. We will watch them and talk about them at work and school on Monday. And somewhere in the back of our pea-brains, we will remember which soda to buy on our next trip to the convenience store. Why? Because the ad-men not only got us to look at the shiny watch, they also made us look forward to the therapy as if it were something we couldn’t live without. Can you say, “Baaa?”

The last time I got excited about a Superbowl game was a long time ago…Superbowl 7, or VII for my Roman readers. I was excited about that game for a few reasons. First off, Billy Kilmer, the washington quarterback, visited his old alma mater which was also the school I was attending at the time. He convinced us that the Redskins would beat the Dolphins with no difficulty, so I did the sensible thing and put down fifty bucks for the Redskins to win. It never dawned on me that Miami had just finished the first ever undefeated season in NFL history. DOLT!

My second reason to be excited about the game was that I was to sing back-up vocals during the halftime show behind Andy Williams. Originally, the scheduled entertainer was to be Sammy Davis Jr., but supposedly he bowed out in some form of protest. I don’t know if he was protesting the war, civil rights policies or just the fee he was to receive, my guess is the latter. I was eagerly looking forward to being on the floor of the stadium for the halftime show because there were no seats available to the singers and we were simply to stay on the sidelines during the game. Personally, I didn’t care if I was singing behind Mr. Ed. I was going to see, hear and smell this game at ground zero!

I actually had hopes of winning my bet up until the end of the third quarter. After that, I just hoped that Kilmer would be maimed everytime he touched the ball. Fifty bucks was a lot for me to lose then…bragging prick! I have to admit that halftime was a thrill. There were ninety thousand in the Coliseum and millions watching on television…watching the game, that is. Andy’s voice at halftime wasn’t nearly as loud as the flushing of toilets and the ordering of beer that rings through every self-respecting football stadium during intermission. And as for the people at home, If anyone can tell me what song Andy sang that day, well you can’t, so I don’t even have to think of a prize.

No, the real fun that day was the dress rehearsal. As a bit of background, I had discovered a strobe tuner in the band room at school some weeks before. I used to take it into a practice room and sing long falsetto notes while staring at the tuner, trying to line up the wheels. As a result, I had become proficient at making sounds that mimicked mid-range feed-back. The sound system at the coliseum was primitive by today’s standards and I’m certain that no-one had bothered to address the time delay issue regarding amplification of singers in a cement bowl. If I remember, we sang into RCA ribbon mics which were fed into speaker cabinets that were placed around the perimeter and at the top of the stadium. Sound travels at about seven hundred feet per second so as a result, whatever we sang would come back to bite us in the ass and feed back into the open mics. When my mic was on, I would emit my falsetto “ooooooh” with no vibrato and the entire coliseum rang as if there were massive feedback. The sound techs scrambled to make the “feedback” go away. As soon as the mics were on again I repeated the prank and once again they would scramble. God, what a prick I was, and how much time I wasted. But the set up was never going to work anyway and besides…it was fun.

So this year, I intend to enjoy the game and I’ll try to keep the manipulation of my buying habits under my own control. I’m sure that Prince will sound great at halftime, given the advances made in concert sound equipment over the years. But sometimes you just have more fun when you’re dealt a shitty hand. Remember, ” It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools.”

Chicago by 3