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Monday, February 6, 2017

WAS THIS THE GREATEST FOOTBALL GAME, EVER?

Well, the greatest ever depends on your personal feelings and a range of other factors.  However, Super Bowl 51 surely has to rank up there among the greatest, but if not, certainly the longest super bowl, for this was the very first overtime game.  All this coming from a person who couldn't care less who won and said two days ago that this would be the first NFL game I'll actually watch this season.

Certainly, this is the only sporting event where I wait for the commercials, and would tend to go to the bathroom only when the game was on.  The drama for me began just BEFORE kick-off.  Sure, pre-game festivities and commentary started twelve hours before gametime.  And of course, I wanted to get a feel for what was coming by now and then tuning in to those programs.  However, in parallel was the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which was supposed to be over an hour before the Super Bowl started.  But Byeong Hun An from South Korea, who was comfortably ahead at the beginning phase of this final round, began to lose it.  He ended up +2 for the day at -14.  American Webb Simpson had just finished with a -17, and Hideki Maruyama of Japan, who had been lurking all tournament rose to -17, forcing a hole by hole sudden death playoff.  

This Super Bowl overtime was the first in 51 years.  Last year Maruyama tied Rickie Fowler of the USA at this same Phoenix Open, and won the playoff.  Fowler this year ended up at -15 for fourth place.  The kick-off would not have been affected, except that the two players kept tying until the fourth overtime hole.  Just as they were on this final green, kick-off was about to occur.  Already I had missed a couple of commercials.  My memory is in disarray as to what actually happened, but either the kick-off came first or Maruyama rolled in a putt to gain his second victory in a row.

In any case, it occurred to me how fortunate we all are . Television brings all the gory and joyful details right into your living room.  Say I somehow was able to attend both the 83th (started in 1932 as the Arizona Open, but missed at least three years for various reasons) Phoenix Open in Scottsdale and Super Bowl 51 in Houston:
  • I would first need to fly from Honolulu to somewhere and transfer to Phoenix.  I could fly Hawaiian Air, but I don't belong to their travel program and would need to pay $3,632 for a roundtrip first class fare.  On United, I could get by with $600, and upgrade with miles.  Then I'd need to find a way to Scottsdale.  However, it is only 13 miles from airport to hotel, so roundtrip taxi would be around $70.  Starwood rates are from $200 to $800/night, so I'd probably settle for $400/night and pay $2000 for five nights.   Turns out that the the Sheraton Desert Oasis Villas is less than a half an hour walk to the entrance.  But if you want to do this next year, the rooms cost less than $300 today, but jump to over $400 the first week of February in 2018.  I've got to find my way and back to and from the golf course, plus the admission fee is $40, so add a couple of hundred dollars.  Then food, etc., so perhaps $3500 for this trip.
  • Honolulu to Houston with one stopover, wasting a day and night, would cost around $850, roundtrip.  The usual bit about ground travel, hotel, food, etc., would add up to around $3000.  Plus, if a ticket could have been found, a minimum of another $3000, or $6000 for the Super Bowl.
So for me to got to both would have cost me around $10,000--which of course I couldn't have done--with all the attendant agony and hassle of travel, wasting a whole week.  Through the magic of television, we just turn on the set, not quite the 100-inch size I had before I moved into 15 Craigside, but in air-conditioned comfort, with relatively cheap food just a few seconds away.  At NRG Stadium, a normal bottomless popcorn bag costs $8.75.  Super Bowl? $15.   Hamburger?  $9.60.  My hamburger?  $1.50, the takeout cost for 15 Craigside, with free french fries. The fries at NGT?  $4.90. Beer at #51?  $14.  My beer cost less than $1.


Oh, yes, there was the greatest football game, ever.  The New England Patriots won over the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28.  You can read the details in your local paper.  Next year?  Minnesota.  Then in 2019, Atlanta.  Super Bowl LIV will be held in Miami.  I would like to see that game, for I've always wanted to LIV into the Year 2020, so if I do, I would accomplish one of my lifelong goals.

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