Back when I watched American Football seriously – late ’80’s through to the ’90’s – the Denver Broncos where always thereabouts. They had one of the best QB’s in the comp in John Elway, and made a habit of making the Super Bowl only to get thumped. I remember particularly the game against the 49’ers which was a blow-out. The Buffalo Bills were another team back then who were good enough to make it, but never to win it (Jim Kelly?). The Bills were a sad story, but the Bronco’s eventually redeemed themselves. Elway ended his career with a couple of Super Bowl wins, but by then I had pretty well drifted away from the sport.
It’s because of these memories I slightly favoured the Broncos going into the Super Bowl the other day. Only slightly though. They faced the Seattle Seahawks, who haven’t enjoyed much success over the journey. Up to the other day only one other SB appearance, in which they lost, and in my mind anyway they seem one of those teams perpetually on the middle rung, with the occasional break-out season. Back in the day they were a team I sort of liked because they were honest and on their day pretty dangerous. I remember they had an excellent wide receiver in Steve Largent.
As it turns out Super Bowl XLVIII was another one-sided game. The Seahawks clobbered the Broncos 43-8. As a contest it was over early, and the highlight was probably the half time entertainment. I’m glad for the Seahawks, but have to say my affection for the game has yet to return. I’ll watch, but as a game it is too long, too stop-start, too structured. There’s a lot of posturing on the field which grates against an Australian psyche, and the separate teams and heavy padding seem incongruous when we’re used to multi-faceted footballers who wear no protection whatsoever outside of the occasional mouth guard.
American Football is a spectacle, not a sport. To each their own though. Culture, tradition and familiarity breed affection. That’s why I love cricket, and American’s scratch their heads over it.