Last year, before Super Bowl XXXIX, we encouraged the females to ask “Big Time Sports” some football-related questions, in order to prepare them for the big game. It was a huge success, even though none of the women who took part in my poll actually watched the game, instead opting to go in another room and gossip about the hot topic at the time, which I think was whether or not Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey were EVER going to have a baby. Mystery solved.
Nevertheless, it bothered me that, after all of the fun we had with football-related questions, none of the women managed to watch the game. I felt duped. Used even. So I wanted to delve further into why, exactly, the women still avoided watching the Super Bowl last year. I gathered up the usual suspects, and implored them as to their reasoning for not watching the biggest football game of the year. And lo and behold - every single one of them responded the same: “I always feel bad for the loser.”
Being a veteran of Super Bowl parties, I am very familiar with the following scene. Most of the guys in the room are intently watching the end of the game, even if it is a blowout, to see if the spread will be covered. The women, using their innate female biological forces, sense that the game is ending, and slowly begin filing into the room, asking questions like, “Who won?” and “What happened to the carpet?” and “So, I guess I’m driving.” Inevitably, the cameras that are capturing the bliss and joy of the winning team will eventually pan to an offensive lineman of the losing team, alone on the sidelines, with his head down on a bench. This is immediately followed by a chorus of “Awwwwwwwwwwww.”
The women are saddened by the harsh reality that, once again, both teams did not win the Super Bowl. In fact, the only person I know who breaks the mold of this uber-sensitive, football-indifferent woman is my cousin Cara. She is a cold-hearted, sports-tolerant woman - a rare and endangered species. But that is it. My wife, for example, always feels bad for the loser, and usually manages to make ME feel bad about not giving a crap. This is especially difficult during Yankee games, when, hypothetically, I will be cheering for a late-inning Yankee home run, until the camera shows the pitcher on the mound, and my wife clutches her chest in an overt motion of sympathy for a man she doesn’t even know – the middle reliever of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
But back to football. While everybody is falling all over each other trying to figure out who is going to win Sunday’s game, I want to focus on the loser of Super Bowl XL, whoever that may be. I want to make the women feel better about the outcome, regardless of the fact that the outcome is required to name a non-winner.
For the team that reaches the Super Bowl – the culmination of the entire NFL season – only to lose, it is okay for them to be sad. After all, their hopes of being named “champions” were just flushed down the toilet. But they shouldn’t be sad for long (five good minutes should suffice), because life goes on. And as life is going on, they will have to spend the millions and millions and millions of dollars they make for playing football along the way.
Many women don’t know this, but the average football player makes $12 million per second of actual football action, not including practice. Of course, after a Super Bowl defeat, any number of players on the losing side will tell you “it’s not about the money,” but then they will get in their private jet that is made out of gold, and fly to their third home in Maui. This is where they will grieve the loss. And the more talented of those players will actually be forced to LEAVE Maui after two weeks so they can go to the Pro Bowl. In Hawaii. Wait – is Maui IN Hawaii? I wouldn’t know, because I’ve never had the good fortune of losing the Super Bowl. So when you have to wake up at six o’clock the next Monday morning, so you can go out in the freezing cold to warm up your car, so you can go teach 29 third-graders how to spell “Mississippi,” all the while trying to avoid the cavalcade of germs, snots, and boogers, try not to feel bad for the guy whose team just lost the Super Bowl, and who is exercising his angst on a lounge chair with a margarita.
Another thing many women aren’t aware of is that, like Valentine’s Day, there is a Super Bowl every year. All of the players on this year’s losing team, unless they are too old (in which case they will retire at THIRTY-SEVEN on their multi-million dollar pension), will have a chance to go back to the Super Bowl next year. It is not like the guy who has been practicing his ice-luge skills for twenty years, only to fail miserably in the Olympics, thus disappointing his entire family, and embarrassing the whole nation. That idiot has to wait four years for redemption. The football player only has to wait a year, and if he wants, he can demand that his contract be “renegotiated,” or he will go to a team that he deems has a better chance of reaching the Super Bowl the following year. So don’t feel bad.
To make yet another popular analogy, going to the Super Bowl is like being nominated for an Oscar. It is an honor just to be nominated, or something like that. I mean, there are thousands of NFL players who will never even get to go to the Super Bowl. Take Peyton Manning, for example. If you’re going to feel bad for anyone, feel bad for HIM. He’ll never make it to the big game because all he cares about is being a good teammate, and unfortunately, his offensive linemen are a bunch of incompetent jerks. And his kicker is an idiot. And his wide receivers never run the right pattern. It’s not his fault. Geez.
You see, it’s just about getting to the Super Bowl. Anyone will tell you – the actual game means nothing. It’s just about the parties. And these guys have been partying for two weeks straight, so when you see some guy on the losing sideline hanging his head after the game, it’s not because he’s sad – he’s just hung over. In fact, he’s actually happy the game is over, so he can go home and take a nap. In Maui.
The fact is, you’d be better off feeling bad for the winner of the Super Bowl this, and every year, because those guys aren’t going to get a day off for the next three months. They’ll have to go on all the radio shows. They’ll have to film random TV spots, pimping some worthless merchandise. They’ll have to go on the Tyra Banks show, and pretend that Tyra Banks is smart and engaging. They’ll have to do Disney-related commercials. Not to mention they’ll have to hop on board a dangerous float for some parade, and then do that cheesy “Ms. America”-type wave, where the hand is slightly cupped. Then, after all that, they’ll be expected to win it all again NEXT year. Really though – I’ll take five minutes of grief for a springtime of freedom any day.
So ladies, if you walk into the TV room at the end of whatever Super Bowl party you decide to attend this year, and you just happen to notice a big, burly man crying his eyes out on the loser’s bench, don’t feel too bad for him. He has a lot more money than you, and you’ll probably see him on “MTV Cribs” in a few weeks, showing off a walk-in closet that he doesn’t even USE! He may even be dating Jessica Simpson by then. Of course, you may be wondering why, if the actual game doesn’t mean anything, us guys get so excited to watch the Super Bowl in the first place. But I told you already – to see who will cover the point spread.
Geez – don’t you women EVER listen?
Now who’s driving home?