Somewhere along the way, the Super Bowl became more about who you spent the event with, and less about the actual football game. Years from now we won't remember the final score, and for most of you who even won the game. What we will remember is the group of people we watched the game with. This story isn't about Peyton Manning's legacy, or if Seattle's defense provides hope in stopping the offensive explosion that has hit the NFL. No this story is about a group of people just watching, experiencing, and enjoying the event of the Super Bowl together.
I don't know the exact date I had made plans to spend the Super Bowl with the group of people that I did, but as the event approached I was still finding it hard to believe that it was happening. Six months ago not one of us knew each other.
I had willingly volunteered to pick everyone up which is still a perplexing decision in my mind. I drive a Ford Expedition, or the Urban Assault Vehicle as my uncle used to call it,that gets a whopping 12 miles to the gallon. The first person I had to pick up was Caitlyn, who lived at her sorority house.
Naturally she wasn't ready when I got there, and when I called she did not pick up her phone. After a few minutes of waiting and a terrible parking job later she finally called back asking if I was there. She came out to the car hugging her laptop and having her hands full with a veggie plate and buffalo chicken dip. I had made an offer to help, but all that came out of my mouth was awkward gibberish. After finally getting in the car we were off to pick up our next guest, Nick.
Caitlyn and I had a general idea of where Nick lived, but not a physical location. After a few minutes of driving around we finally decided to call Nick, and while I still didn't get a physical location, Caitlyn just told me to drive. Sure enough, we spot Nick carrying his laptop and wearing his iconic red hoodie. He hops in the car and we are off to pick up our final guest, Elizabeth, or better known as E-Insert Currency here.
We drive over to her dorm, and pull in behind some team unloading from a bus where we wait for Elizabeth. Caitlyn would spend the next couple of minutes trying to figure out what team it was and why Nick and I were not as curious as she was. Nick and I were debating a range of topics from our top five quarterbacks of all-time to the top five NBA players of all-time(Jordan,Kareem,Russell,Magic,Bird in that order). After a few minutes Elizabeth finally arrives with everything neatly organized in her bag. We were finally ready to go to our Super Bowl party.
After finding a parking spot, we proceed on foot to Logan's apartment carrying all of our food and laptops. As we walk-up to his apartment building, instead of greeting us with pleasantries he tells us that the cable is not working. Part of me felt that this was surely a sign that things would not go well. We get to Logan's seventh floor apartment that overlooks downtown Athens, and are immediately greeted by his wonderful dog Chipper. We set our food down and see that there is already a wonderful cheese tray as well as a plate of homemade rice krispy treats. They also had lil'smokies,cocktail weenies, soaking in a crock-pot, as well as the assortment of food we had all brought. It was a quality spread to say the least.
After some rearranging of furniture, and Nick's dramatic removal of his sweatshirt to reveal a Michael Griffin Titans jersey we were ready for the game to begin. Logan places a ticket for a single Cane's chicken finger on the top of TV and states that whoever makes the best joke during the night will win the ticket. Within minutes I was disqualified from winning for making a reference to Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Before the game starts, we had two of my favorite prop bets, the Over/Under on the national anthem, and the all important coin toss. The O/U was 142 seconds for the national anthem, and Renee Fleming,an opera singer, was singing the national anthem so naturally I took the over. Flemming finished at a stunning 121 seconds, so far under that Nick and I convinced ourselves that the actual O/U was 1:42. Next up came the coin toss, that was almost ruined by Joe Namath and his coat that had been in his closet for at least 30 years. I mentioned that the last five years the toss came up heads, so of course this was the year for tails. Seattle had correctly called tails and I knew it was going to be a good night for them.
After Denver tried to give away the game in the first quarter, we decided to start eating the lil' smokies. Caitlyn gets up first to get them and I follow her into the kitchen to help. You see Caitlyn loves lil' smokies, and I'm fairly certain that they are the only reason she came to the party. As a group we went through the first bowl in about 32 seconds, approximately, with Caitlyn eating 5/4(yes you read that number correctly) of the lil' smokies. From this point forward we decide to refer to the entree as lil'Strohkies, Stroh being Caitlyn's last name. We go through about two more bowls before halftime, while also enjoying a spinach dip, and a buffalo chicken dip.
During halftime, Logan decides to take his dog Chipper for a walk. Desperate for any interaction with a dog, as I had not seen my dogs for two weeks, I decide to go with Logan as does Caitlyn. We walk across the street to the beautiful north campus lawn, and amuse ourselves by watching Chipper chase a laser pointer. While on the lawn I get a call from Nick saying that Fox just ran a Seinfeld commercial, and that I had missed it. I let out a disappointed nooooo, distraught over the fact that I had missed Jerry and George. Nick says the only reason he called was because he knew how I would react and wanted to hear it. This is one of the many reasons why I enjoy Nick, as I would do the same thing to him. We decide to walk back and by the time we get to the apartment, the halftime show is about to start.
As the game quickly developed into a blowout, we all took to Twitter to engage in something that was clearly more fun than the game. When one of our classmates tweeted out "Over?" after Percy Harvin's kickoff-return for a touchdown to open the second half, the five of us all tweeted back #analysis at the same time. To some of you this might seem lame, but we were all laughing hysterically. We tried to do the same when another classmate tweeted out duuuuude. We decided that we would tweet back #anaaaaalysis. However there was a break down in communication, and I tweeted #aaaaanylis. Not only did I use the wrong A's I also spelled analysis wrong, because spelling is hard. This error had Caitlyn and Elizabeth in tears, and somehow I was back in the chicken finger competition.
As the game was winding down, the lead for the chicken finger changed multiple times, until with about two minutes left in the game Nick dropped E Pace-O on us, officially ending the competition. As the game ended we checked our respective laptops for homework and got ready to leave. We said goodbye to our gracious hosts, Logan, his wonderful wife Ashley and Chipper.We then walked through downtown Athens to get back to my car. In the car we(Caitlyn,Nick, Elizabeth, and myself) decided to create one last endearing memory. My Ipod was on shuffle and Drops of Jupiter came on. Naturally, I started singing quietly to myself but suddenly Nick joined in with me.After Nick joined in we began to sing along without a care in the world, knowing that Caitlyn and/or Elizabeth were recording us. It is an odd experience to sing in front of your friends, but I think screaming at the top of your lungs in a car is the pinnacle of friendship. When you feel comfortable enough to do that, you know that you have a real friendship.
Years from now, I'll only bring up the actual game when trying to slander Manning's legacy against Tom Brady's. For me Super Bowl XLVIII will always be remembered by the company I was with. And unless you are a Seattle fan, that is probably how you will remember it too.
As I think for most Super Bowls from here on out, I won't remember where the game was played or what color the Gatorade was that got dumped on the winning coach. I'll remember where I was when I watched the game and who I watched it with. Because even if the Patriots do win the Super Bowl again, I know that I will have a better time with the people I am watching with, than the feeling that comes with my team winning the big game. Because that is what the event, the Super Bowl, is about. Friendship
Now tell me, did you sail across the sun?