It is the Thursday morning before Super-Bowl 40-something. And if that doesn’t get you excited then you are just not a fan of football…or you’ve been informed of the two teams that are playing…didn’t we just see this game less than five years ago?!? The whole thing smacks of the same aesthetic sensibility that brought T.V.’s “One Tree Hill” back to the CeeeDubbya after a much deserved hiatus, or the same knuckle-headed confoundery that brought us the re-boot of “Two and a Half Men” starring a visage of the former Ashton Kutcher, who despite all of the Hollywood wizardry of make-up and lighting, looks as though Nikon rode him hard and put him away wet. I mean, come on, the show has always sucked, but at least Charlie Sheen received his scars honestly, like the rest of us, a result of an over-bearing father, and an under-developed sense of identity. But I digress. These are the teams with which we are stuck, for better or worse, until Monday, February the 6th, when I suspect after much grumbling, mainly about heartburns and hangovers, most will forget this game ever happened…at least until Al Michaels brings it up at their first Sunday Night Football game next season. But he has to say something to arrest the nuanced explanations of various offensive/defensive strategies pouring from the cake hole of Chris Collinsworth, because, after all, these are not the things the increasingly casual fan-base of the NFL wants to hear…just tell ’em who the Quarterbacks are, and why they should care about this particular rivalry, and let ’em get back to mining all seven layers of their dip, Collinsworth.
Let us talk about the real issues at stake here…true football journalism…the issues beneath the issues. The mascots. There is no better barometer to the impending doom, or certain success of a team, than the little cartoon it wears on its helmet. The mascot has a long and storied history of being the face of a teams savage disposition, and irrational view of reality. Often, to an offensive result. This takes the shape of animals, like the bear or the honey-badger. It takes the shape of inanimate objects, like a jet or a brown? Or it takes the shape of a people group, like a fighting Irish or a vandal. Regardless of shape or scope, the idea is the same…”we are to be feared once we hit the field”. The examples with which we’ve to work this time are, “The Giants” (aka the g-men), and “The Patriots”; no doubt two of the most feared and irrational examples of humanity in the annuls of history and fantasy, meeting together on a field in downtown Indianapolis…of course. Where else would you expect this clash of titans to take place? Seattle? Oh, grow up!
Giants are scary, they eat people…one could only imagine the Alighierian contract the owners and players of this team signed with the Giants they represent to keep from becoming dinner once they lost their usefulness on the field…the contract is a bit too tight for my liking…I could get used to a world in which Phil Simms and Michael Strahan ended up in the septic system of a giant, and not doing analytical commentary on CBS and FOX. None the less, Giants are scary, and thus a great way of showing dominance on the chess-board of the NFL field. But are they scary enough? If the point of the mascot is to show one’s opponent that they should abandon hope all ye who step on to the field, have they covered all of their bases? It would seem so, when dealing with union dock-workers, and mining engineers, but this week the opposition is the patriot, more to the point, the American patriot, and one would be safe in arguing that few have witnessed a creature more savage and less reasonable than the American patriot. This fact has, no doubt, turned the ventilation holes in Eli Manning’s athletic supporter into drainage holes.
The patriot IS the symbol, the ultimate symbol, of irrational savagery. Patriotism and nationalism have brought us every manner of irrational fear, and reaction history has to offer; from the justification of all forms of slavery, to the desert oasis mirage of WMDs that made it okay to open a war zone in a sovereign country. Sure the country was run by a lunatic, but close your eyes and spin a globe…unless your finger lands on the 75-80% covered by H2O, chances are, you are pointing at a country led by a lunatic. Too bad that isn’t the bet we’re talking about here…so much simpler. Nay, we are talking about the ultimate victor of a game whose shelf life will be better summed up in days, rather than years. Unless, you are sitting in a sports bar in New York, or Boston…in which case, you’ve bigger fish to fry…move along this blog can’t help you.
The point is the patriot is the mascot to beat, the leanest, meanest example of irrational dominance the grid-iron has ever witnessed. The only way a Giant could be less rational than a Patriot is if you gave it the brain of a pubescent male, and while there is a chance that Eli Manning could be that very brain, it will take nothing less than a miracle for the G-men to pull this one off, just like last time. Which is confusing, because it used to be the other way around. Miracles were Giant killers.
Editor’s note: I had a similar post lined up just in case Houston made it in; it had more allusions to racism, but was essentially the same.