Super Bowl Sunday

“And so it has come at last, the distinguished thing.” — Casanova, Camino Real by Tennessee Williams.

This may very well prove to be the “greatest Super Bowl of all time.” But as usual my team won’t win, because none of my favorite teams are in the game.

“And so it has come at last, the distinguished thing.” — Casanova, Camino Real by Tennessee Williams.
This may very well prove to be the “greatest Super Bowl of all time.” But as usual my team won’t win, because none of my favorite teams are in the game.
After rooting fervently against the Chiefs during their blood feud with John Madden’s 1970s Oakland Raiders and Tom Flores’ 1980’s Oakland and LA Raiders, and rooting for the Giants against Andy Reid’s Eagles all those later years, it is just impossible for me to root for the Chiefs now, even if I can admire their ridiculous excellence.
Sure I still smart from the 2001 Raiders losing to Tom Brady on his way to his first Super Bowl, due to the non-existent Tuck Rule. But if today’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the odds with their ferocious defense and living legend quarterback, I will be happy for the old guys like Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles, who are terrific people by all accounts, and for the veterans enjoying what may be their one and only chance at a championship, like Leonard Fournette and Mike Evans.
If young phenom Patrick Mahomes prevails, and the amazing adaptable offense schemes of Andy Reid earn him his giant double cheeseburger, I will marvel at “the kid” going 26-1 over his last 27 starts, with a lot of help by one of the most talented squads ever assembled.
Then again, on the other side of the ball are the Buccaneers, who beat the Raiders in their last Super Bowl, souring Rich Gannon’s MVP 2002 season, ironically thanks to the Raider’s current coach having gone to Tampa Bay after being fired by the Raiders shortly before.
So, I shall remain neutral and marvel at what is a match-up of the best teams who peaked at the right time and who each will hopefully bring their best game.
But then there’s Trumper Tom and his enviable perfection. His personal life in no way diminishes his unmatched achievements as one of the greatest athletes of any generation. He keeps his politics totally out of his public life, and he is hardly the only pro athlete who was raised by Republicans to be a Republican or who has been chummy with Donald Trump over the years, along with other wealthy businessmen in the east coast jet set social scene. Babe Ruth would likely have been at those same dinner tables.
But I get it. I understand why people loathed Brady and the Patriots with the same emotional fervor as those who would root against the Yankees if they were playing North Korea, and for the same sort of reasons.
But seriously! Moving to a new team during a pandemic, which went 7-9 last season, and starting the year 7-5, and then with less than a 10% chance of getting to the Super Bowl, running the table to make it all the way to his TENTH Super Bowl?
Win or lose, he is still Tom Terrific. But winning this one will make him immortal.
The unscripted drama of world-class athletics is hard to beat when it comes to entertainment.

Mike Curtis Remembered

My Mind Turns to Mad Dog Mike Curtis on Super Bowl Eve

The NFL Hall of Fame inductees will be announced tonight. One name that has faded out of sight is that of my childhood sports hero, Mike Curtis, the only linebacker to make All Pro at the Outside and Middle positions

Curtis died in April at the age of 77 years old. That week, Sports Illustrated ran an editorial lobbying for why he should be in the HoF.
After 11 years with the Colts, and the interception that sealed Super Bowl V, he was stolen away as the Seattle Seahawks #1 draft choice, back when expansion teams got to draft from other teams. Passed his prime, he was as much a teacher for the Seahawks and later his hometown Redskins, than a player.

Mike Curtis linebacker onemanz

One Sports Illustrated writer declared these 1970, ’71 Baltimore Colts the greatest linebacking core in NFL history. (Curtis, with Ted Hendrix, and Ray May who went on to captain the Broncos’ defense a few years later.)
Bart Starr played against Butkus twice a year, but said the only man he was ever truly afraid of was Mike Curtis, who was known as the Mad Dog.
A tall, skinny rookie named Ted Hendrix lined up next to him in 1969, and was so gangly the press nicknamed him the Mad Stroke as a joke.
Hendrix is in the Hall, as is Butkus, Willie Lanier, Bobby Bell, and Ray Nitchke. Many players of the time thought Curtis was their better. But he showed no interest in lobbying for the HoF and was pretty much forgotten, except when various Baltimore Ravens would seek him out at his favorite blue collar bar to buy him beer.
I still have his football card, now in a frame with an autographed photo I snagged off Ebay.
There’s gonna be some serious buzz saw linebacker play tomorrow to look forward too. “The human buzz saw” being his other nickname from back in the day.

The Dune Abides

Dude Frank Herbert Dune

Here’s to hoping the new Dune film is at least this good

The original version was the first major motion picture to suffer from over-hype

In 1984, Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street in New York City filled half a floor with sand dunes and set up sort of a Santa’s Wonderland display of Dune merchandise, before the film had even been released. Print ads and TV ads were everywhere. The buzz was engineered to be easy shoved down everyone’s throat, like sand through a sand worm. And then the film opened.

Despite Frank Herbert being involved and giving full approval, it was just okay as sci-fi movie. Most viewers found it confusing and without enough character development to actually care about anyone in it.

The truth is, it came out about 10 years too late. After the Star Wars films and others, seeing Kyle McLaughlin riding a giant worm in front of an obvious green screen was anything but epic or thrilling.

On the whole, I liked it. But the hype had been so over-the-top there was no way it would survive the critical orca pod that was happy to rip it to pieces in the press. TV shows now have spectacular cinematic special effects to the point they are taken very much for granted. So, the new film may suffer a similar fate if its producers expect a giant worm to sell many tickets after the first week.

But then, following that 1984 flop, it became the main business model of the film industry to over-hype movies so they have that tremendous opening weekend, allowing them to crow about the box office receipts before word gets out about what a stinker a film is. So, this version of Dune may sell more toys and video games, which seems to what matters most these days.

Given the arcane nature of the Dune novels, even just the first one required a mini-series length to explain on a screen just who all the people were and provide the immersive atmosphere with a fraction of the exotic detail of cultures and “the spice,” which earned the books legions of fans. Another two-hour movie version will likely skip along the surface like the original and then sink into oblivion in much the same way.

The new Dune may abide all that, since there will be all the future streaming revenue, and it is hoped some increased book sales as well.

Happy Groundhog Day

Or Unhappy Groundhog Day in This Case!

Depressed Groundhog Sees Shadow of Rodent He Once Was

Fresh from the Onion, which stays oniony fresh after all these years.

PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA—According to sources, clinically depressed groundhog and weather prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil awoke from his slumber this early morning, peered directly into his soul, and saw but a mere pathetic shadow of the rodent he once was. “My God, is this who I am now? Is this what I’ve become?” the melancholy animal told reporters, staring hopelessly out onto the pale morning light outside his pen.


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