Humor by John Christmann

Super Nostalgia

First super bowl ticket

“You can all go to L.”

This is the advice Roman Emperor Nero gave his creative agency as they were promoting the 50th meeting of the Lions vs. the Christians and discovered they had no way to designate the number zero.

Fortunately, where epic sporting events consumed by millions of people go, history doesn’t repeat itself.

For those fans over L years of age, the celebration of Super Bowl 50 is a sad day. Not because the NFL, or the NF50 as they are known this year, ditched the roman numerals, but because we have been continually reminded by nostalgic media retrospectives that we have been alive for every single Super Bowl ever played.

That’s a lot of commercials.

The over L crowd can say stupid things like, “I remember when The Monkees played at half time and Petula Clark sang the national anthem” and none of our kids will know what we are talking about. Or care.

I find that happens a lot now.

But I can still expound on football to my kids. Even if they no longer listen.

The drama surrounding this historic 50th matchup between professional football conference champions centers squarely on the quarterbacks. We have the aging, legendary, record setting, Peyton Manning, clocking in at XXXIX years of age taking on the young, athletic, confident, handsome slinger, Cam Newton, a twenty-something millennial who has probably never even heard of The Monkees.

The Monkees? Oh, they were an oddly popular group that had a hit song when the Super Bowl first took place in January, 1967, before it was officially dubbed the Super Bowl. The song was called I’m a Believer and was made famous some 35 years later when the movie Shrek was released and Cam Newton was just 12 years old and Peyton Manning was at the helm of the surging Indanapolis Colts and young people were ordering pizzas and drinking beer saying Wazzzzzzuppppp? during the Super Bowl.

I hear some of today’s idealistic young people are singing I’m a Believer at Bernie Sanders rallies. He was 24 when the first Super Bowl was played.

I don’t feel so old now.

Where was I? Oh yes. So for Super Bowl 50, the Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos. The Panthers lost only one game this year and are favored to win the Super Bowl by Las Vegas oddsmakers, who are also taking bets on whether Lady Gaga will wear a low cut pig skin dress when she sings the national anthem.

The more sentimental fans want to see Peyton Manning take a final bow as a professional football player with a Super Bowl ring on his finger and a new Nationwide Insurance jingle in his commercial repertoire: Growing old is not so bad . . . which will probably still be stuck in our heads 50 years from now when we watch Super Bowl C.

The momentous game is being held in Silicon Valley at the newly built Levi Stadium, renamed 50evi stadium for Super Bowl 50. Levi Stadium is home to the San Francisco 49ers, who next year will revert back to the San Franciso XLIXers.

They are right. Super Bowl L is really lame. What were those Romans thinking?

Despite the numbers, it is the Super Bowl, and Cam Newton and the Panthers face the league’s number one defense led by the Broncos fierce pass-rushers DeMarcus Ware and 5on (pronounced Von) Miller. And if Manning can wobble the ball smartly to his talented receivers it could be a matchup worthy of all the Super Bowl hype.

And if not, there is always Coldplay to watch during half time. This wildly popular band is known for their catchy if ponderous stadium anthems, perfect for the grand expectations of Super Bowl 50. Expect to see thousands of fans waving LCD lit smartphones above their heads in time to the throbbing music.

The more seasoned L generation football fans will be waving nostalgic cigarette lighters as they once did for Peter Frampton and Fleetwood Mac. Expect to see a lot of house fires during the Super Bowl half time.

And what would Super Bowl 50 be without commercials? Probably a lot shorter. But for some reason (maybe 180 million viewers) the advertising agencies pull out all of the stops and give us some very creative and entertaining ways to pitch everything from beer to technology. They make us laugh, they make us cry, they make us wait for the game to start to get up and make our sandwiches.

On the other hand, I swear, if I see one throwback commercial with a Clydesdale or an old lady eating a hamburger screaming “where’s the beef” I am going to turn off the television and go to a bar.

Being a Super Bowl veteran, I can only take so much nostalgia.

And I still remember the days when bars had no TVs.

It’s 2016. Let’s enjoy the Super Bowl. Again!