On Feb. 2, the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos squared-off in Super Bowl XLVIII, in a long-awaited match-up that pit the two pre-season favorites against each other with the Lombardi Trophy hanging in the balance.
It was Peyton and the Broncos’ historically good offense against a vaunted Seattle defensive unit, a clash of styles that had most pundits in agreement that we were in for a heavyweight showdown on par with Ali vs. Frazier.
Unfortunately for those who had the misfortune of tuning in on Sunday night, the heavyweight fight this Super Bowl brought to mind was Tyson versus McNeely.
It didn’t take long for the Broncos to set the tone for their performance on Sunday night—just one play, in fact—as a miscommunication between Manning and center Manny Ramirez led to a botched shotgun snap and a Seattle safety. Things would not get better for the Broncos as Seattle quickly took control and turned the game into a laugher.
Now, I’ve sat through my fair share of bad football games. But there is something so anticlimactic about seeing a good football team lay an egg in a game that’s been hyped to unreal levels for the past calendar month. At least in 2001, when the Giants fell to the Ravens 34-7 in a game that was almost as one-sided as the one we just watched, there was at least some level of emotion involved as my friends and I watched the game with four quarters in varying states of despair, anger and disbelief.
On Sunday, as we watched at my friend Danny’s house, you could feel that everyone had simply checked out by the middle of the second quarter. The closest thing to an emotion one could sense in the room was one of detached bemusement as all of us—even I, who came into the game rooting for the Broncos—waited to see if Peyton could somehow have the worst Super Bowl performance in history.
Despite setting an all-time completion record, he wasn’t that far off.
But it wasn’t just the on-field action that was lacking on Sunday. The commercials were largely forgettable, the halftime show was fine—never quite rising to the level of Tom Petty’s or Bruce Springsteen’s—and, because of the early nature of the Seahawks’ rout, even those with action on the game found themselves wanting for drama.
The most excitement for us came at the end of each quarter as we waited to see which of us in attendance had our numbers hit in the old Super Bowl score box. Of course, true to the events of the day, it was our friend Tom—who always wins the Super Bowl boxes—who walked away as the big winner.
In my estimation, the runaway highlight of the night was the six-foot chicken cutlet sub from Mona Lisa’s in Eastchester—a staple of our annual Super Bowl parties—that helped to put me and the rest of my friends into a food coma for much of the second half.
For most of my friends—die-hard football junkies whose sporting interests come alive with the opening of OTA’s and culminate with the Super Bowl—this lackluster championship game was a disappointing payoff to eight months of pigskin fanaticism, a truly dismal end to the season.
For others though, like me, the end of the 2013 football season brings with it a ray of hope—not because I’m waiting for the Giants to climb back into contention and not because I can’t wait to get an early start on my fantasy football draft for the upcoming year. It’s because, to me, the end of football season represents one thing. Despite Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction that we are in for six more weeks of winter, baseball’s spring training is still right around the corner.
So keep your Super Bowl Sunday, keep your Final Four and keep your BCS Championship. If there’s one phrase that gets me ready for another year of sports, it’s this one; Pitchers and catchers report.
Follow Mike on Twitter, @LiveMike_Sports