|proudly displaying my allegiance
Well, time for my first post of 2011. And as it just happens to coincide with the start of the Superbowl build up, that is the subject of this inaugural 2011 blog post.
Now American Football isn’t for everyone I’ll admit – the stop-start nature of the play, the padding, the fact that the British didn’t invent it and aren’t very good at it – but me, I love it!
My interest in the NFL dates back to the mid-80’s when as a 6 or 7 year old, I got caught up in the whole thing along with my brother and cousins. I can’t even remember how we caught the NFL bug, but we each had our own teams to follow (with replica shirt to boot): Pittsburgh Steelers for me, Miami Dolphins for brother James, cousin Will went for the San Francisco 49ers and cousin Katie plumped for the Chicago Bears if I remember correctly.
Quick mid-post quiz: Match these players with the four aforementioned teams (I know participation will be zero, but I’m trying!)
Louis Lipps Dan Marino
Walter Payton Jerry Rice
William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry Mark Malone
Joe Montana Mark ‘Super’ Duper
Anyway, back to the reminiscing. Sunday nights were NFL highlights night – 30 minutes of crunching tackles, big game highlights and discussions hosted by Mick Luckhurst to the sound track of ‘Two Tribes’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
The NFL was big news for a good couple of years, I even got to go to Wembley Stadium to see a live game between the 49ers and the Washington Redskins. Then, for some reason things went quiet – highlights were pushed to late nights on various nights, then coverage was even better hidden to the extent that it was barely on at all. Then it got a minor renaissance on Channel 5 before ITV picked up on it and screened a couple of Superbowls hosted by Gabby Logan with Martin Johnson of all people giving his opinion!!
Then, once the BBC picked up the Superbowl and the NFL decided to bring a regular season game to the newly re-built Wembley Stadium, the whole thing seems to be kicking off again. And I’m bloody glad because it’s also becoming more easily accessible.
As for me and my team, the Steelers have a great history. Four Superbowl wins in the 70’s was followed by a bleak period in the 80’s (and yet I still happily supported them) and then recovery in the 90’s building towards their current status as the most successful franchise in Superbowl history – 6 victories to date and now on the verge of a 7th if they can get past the Green Bay Packers. I can even tie in their last Superbowl victory in 2009 with my first meeting with Marisa – I’d gone down to Cornwall for the weekend and met her on the Sunday afternoon, and sat in bed on the Sunday night watching the Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 before travelling back up to Shropshire on the Monday morning.
I’ve watched quite a few Superbowls in my time, the first one being Superbowl XXI when the New York Giants beat the Denver Broncos, I’ve missed a few in the meantime when terrestrial TV ignored the game, and then have seen them all since it returned on ITV. Usually I had to settle for highlights shown a few days after the actual game, or more recently getting my dad to video the game and going round after work to watch it (fast forwarding through the breaks in play). This year I’ve asked James to Sky+ it for me, but God only knows when I’ll get to see it!!
Quiz Answers: Joe Montana & Jerry Rice played for the 49ers, Louis Lipps and Mark Malone played for the Steelers, Walter Payton and William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry were Bears players, and Dan Marino and Mark ‘Super’ Duper were Dolphins players.