Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
Can somebody tell me why I still watch these things? – The NFL almost pulled off what I had always assumed was the utterly impossible last night, staging a Super Bowl game that was very nearly as boring and tedious as a damn soccer match. Yes, yes, yes, I know – it was a “great defensive battle,” right? Spare me, please.
It was a game in which LA Rams quarterback Jared Goff played worse than any Super Bowl QB since at least Billy Kilmer and really since Joe Kapp in Super Bowl IV. The vaunted Rams offense punted on its first 8 possessions, racking up a princely 3 first downs in the process, before finally breaking through with an actual drive that resulted in an actual score – a field goal – with a few minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.
You read that right: Rams fans (I’m not one) had already had to sit through that atrocity of a halftime show before their team even scratched the scoreboard. At least Patriots fans (I’m not one of those, either) got to see their guy kick a field goal before the NFL rolled Adam Levine, Maroon 5 and a bunch of hip-hop artists who CBS had to keep bleeping out onto the field to deliver what has to have been the most dreadful halftime show since Up With People performed back in the mid-70s.
Somewhere, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is no doubt preparing to have a press conference in which he says something like, “look, I have worn full-length mink coats and heavy chain jewelry while in black face many times in my life, but I swear I was not that fat rapper who performed with Maroon 5 last night, and I want to use facial recognition software to prove it.”
The show’s sole redeeming value was that the media-hyped promise that Levine would give some sort of tribute to all the wealthy NFL slobs who kneel during the national anthem failed to materialize. Guess either the NFL or CBS warned him off.
For their own part, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense played possum through the first 53 minutes of the contest before Brady finally started targeting all-time great tight end Rob Gronkowski on a fantastic drive that ended in a TD run by RB Sony Michel. The Rams got the ball back and, with the Patriots in a soft “prevent” defense, promptly moved the ball to the New England 27 yard line before Goff very predictably threw an interception that effectively ended the contest. That INT occurred with 2:43 remaining on the game clock, ending the lone 4-minute and 17-second flurry of actual action in this three-hour long contest.
When you think about it, that’s actually not as tedious and boring as the average soccer match, which will have about 45 seconds of actual action spread over about two and a half hours.
So, at the end of the night, in spite of everything – including Adam Levine taking his shirt off, I guess in a tribute to Janet Jackson – American football is still better than soccer. Faint praise, but it’s all I got.
A little bit of trivia and a song to start your week off right. – Other than the game’s only touchdown, the only real other highlight of the evening was the magnificent rendition of the national anthem delivered by the great and elegant Gladys Knight. The Pips were nowhere to be seen, but the lady didn’t need any help on this particular night.
On a sports-related bulletin board I frequent, a poster related this wonderful bit of trivia that links Ms. Knight to the late Farrah Fawcett, who would have turned 72 on Sunday:
Most people don’t know that the song “Midnight Train to Georgia,” which was such a huge hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips in 1973, was inspired by Farrah. In 1972, songwriter Jim Weatherly phoned Lee Majors, who was one of his friends and Farrah’s husband at the time. Farrah picked up the phone and answered the call. Weatherly and Fawcett chatted briefly and she told him she was going to visit her mother and was taking “the midnight plane to Houston.” Although Majors and Fawcett were both successful by that time, Weatherly thought Farrah’s line was a good one and used Farrah and Lee as “characters” in his song, which is about a failed actress who leaves Los Angeles and is followed by her boyfriend who cannot live without her. Eventually the genders were swapped to a failed actor who leaves Los Angeles and is followed by his girlfriend who cannot live without him, a train replaced the plane, and Houston was changed to Georgia. Here is Jim Weatherly singing the original song, the song that Farrah inspired, “Midnight Plane to Houston.” As soon as you hear it, you’ll recognize it.
That is all.
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