STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

The worst Super Bowl ever

Article Image

CNN's Hines Ward talks with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver and Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman after the game.

Posted: Feb 4, 2019 3:50 PM
Updated: Feb 4, 2019 3:50 PM

The worst Super Bowl in history has just ended, and I am debating whether to:

A. Go to bed.

B. Throw bricks at my television screen.

C. Rush to YouTube and start watching "Diff'rent Strokes" reruns.

D. Find some sort of hypnotist who — with enough session time, or with simple surgery — can forever eradicate the last four hours from my brain.

I am not exaggerating. Super Bowl LIII was not merely bad. It was a boring, lame, non-suspenseful, never-ending, drool-puddle exercise in all that can suck about professional football and the surrounding hoopla. If one is a fan of batted down passes and 2-yard runs up the gut; of the majestic follow through of a punter's leg and the flight of a field goal as it misses the mark ... well, mazel tov. The NFL will happily sell you a $175 commemorative short-sleeve hoodie.

Or, put differently: My mother and father — Hall of Fame-worthy sports ignoramuses— spent their afternoon having tea on a neighbor's patio while eating dried prunes and debating the merits of General Electric's line of dishwashers.

I envy them.

Under normal circumstances, I might not be so upset. The Super Bowl, though, is my thing. The first one I watched was held on Jan. 25, 1981. I was an 8-year-old kid in Mahopac, New York, and the matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders promised to be one of the great nights of my life. So I slipped on the Vince Ferragamo Rams jersey Grandma had bought me for Chanukah, knelt before our 13-inch color Zenith and prepared for the explosive miracle that is professional football at the highest level. In my right hand, I cradled a John Riggins-autographed pigskin. In my left, I held a numerical roster of both teams.

Then I lined up a bunch of Coca-Colas (Not Pepsi — sorry NFL) and absorbed.

The game was technically poor — a 27-10 Raider blowout that featured Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski launching one fluttering quail after another. I loved it. The colors, the player introductions. I loved the bright lights of the Louisiana Superdome, shining off the silver Oakland helmets. I loved the Afros and the mustaches and the eye paint and the very fact that a Homo sapien named "Petey" Perot (Eagles lineman) walked the Earth. These weren't mere men. They were the grandest of gladiators, performing athletic ballet.

The Super Bowl — that Super Bowl — turned me into a fan, and year after year I anticipated the game and all its trimmings. Not every matchup was fantastic, and not all of the performances legendary. But even when, say, the Chicago Bears pummeled the New England Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX, there were legitimate issues to discuss. Would Walter Payton score his touchdown? (No) Was Jim McMahon clinically insane? (Sorta) Were the Bears the greatest defense of all-time? (Yes)

Now, as I sit here ramming myriad sharp objects into my eyeballs, I ponder all the things that went so terribly wrong with Super Bowl LIII. Sure, 97% of America is sick and tired of Tom Brady's perfectness and Bill Belichick's lumpy sweatshirt. But this is so much more than the mere dry-mouthed fatigue of a hackneyed storyline.

No, this is the NFL failing to address the uncalled pass interference penalty from two weeks ago — one that would have almost certainly resulted in the far-superior New Orleans Saints (not the Rams) being in Atlanta.

This is the NFL trying to convince us (via advertisements featuring Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches) that the whole Colin Kaepernick thing never happened; that — hey! — we love when blacks speak out, just as long as it doesn't affect our image or our profits.

This is the NFL bringing forth the lamest halftime show in modern memory, in part because Adam Levine of Maroon 5 felt empowered to (ew) remove his shirt, and in part because so many musicians made clear by their absence that they would no longer support the league's entertainment efforts.

This is also the league's hype machine coming home to roost. Back in the day, the Super Bowl lead-up meant two hours of pregame analysis. Nowadays, though, it's an endless barrage of questions, comments, podcasts, Tweets, shows, more shows, more shows, more shows.

It's one prediction after another; one talking head after another after another. Who will win? What will the score be? Is Tom Brady near the end? Is Todd Gurley better than Freeman McNeil? Will this be a great Super Bowl, a double great Super Bowl or the greatest Super Bowl since the last great Super Bowl?

Ultimately, what we're left with are two football teams playing a game.

A game that stunk.

This commentary has been updated to include the writer's affiliations, appearing in the Editor's Note.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds269748
DeSoto181818
Madison138236
Jones117349
Harrison104014
Rankin103515
Neshoba102274
Lauderdale94281
Forrest93943
Scott79215
Jackson72717
Washington64310
Copiah63115
Leake61320
Lee58621
Holmes57341
Oktibbeha56828
Wayne55416
Warren55320
Yazoo5436
Grenada5357
Lowndes52613
Leflore52256
Lincoln50935
Lamar5027
Pike47020
Sunflower4528
Lafayette4374
Monroe43635
Covington4195
Panola3996
Bolivar38018
Attala37524
Simpson3733
Newton35710
Adams34019
Pontotoc3266
Tate32313
Marion31312
Claiborne29310
Chickasaw29219
Winston28711
Pearl River27632
Noxubee2758
Marshall2693
Jasper2676
Clay25511
Union23811
Smith23412
Walthall2267
Coahoma2156
Clarke21425
Lawrence1992
Yalobusha1938
Kemper18014
Carroll17311
Tallahatchie1664
Humphreys15910
Montgomery1493
Calhoun1475
Tippah14411
Itawamba1418
Hancock13813
Webster12811
Tunica1193
Jefferson1173
Jefferson Davis1164
Prentiss1123
Greene10810
Amite1063
George1023
Wilkinson959
Tishomingo921
Quitman891
Alcorn852
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin492
Benton420
Sharkey420
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 92°
Columbus
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 89°
Oxford
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 82°
Starkville
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 78°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather