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The Big Game

February 5, 2010

Missourians don’t have a “hometown” rooting interest in the Super Bowl (just wait till next year, though), but Show-Me staters always seem to enjoy a big game, and there’s none bigger than the Super Bowl.

In recent years, Super Bowl Sunday has become an unofficial holiday of sorts, particularly for people who like to eat huge quantities of food and enjoy time with friends while they watch world-class athletes knock each other silly for three-and-a-half hours.

Even if you don’t care about football, the Super Bowl has become another reason to gather with family and friends just to watch commercials, which sometimes are better than the game.

That is what I thought in 2006 when I was living down T Highway outside of Branson while Steve was deployed to Iraq.  I was determined to enjoy the annual event, even with him so very far away, and the kids all busy at college or with their friends.  So, I put together our annual menu, gathered some of my treasured friends, and got to share the game with Steve during the halftime.  Yep, he was able to make it to the party, even though he was thousands of miles away.

That was my favorite Super Bowl.  Better even than the one we attended.  Steve and I were invited to be special guests at the Rams/Patriots game in New Orléans (Super Bowl XXXVI) by Choice Hotel Properties.   We were honored that our Super 8 Hotel built in downtown Kansas City was the featured property on the outside cover of their national franchise book, and the featured property for their Super Bowl ad in the official program book.  We were ecstatic to be invited to a wonderful city, with generous hosts, and to enjoy the many pre- and post-hospitality events, including the fan zone, where we met most of the players.  We were pretty happy to be there.  Not so happy with the final score.  But I digress.

We used to host  annual events when we would have little pools featuring every conceivable thing to wager on (what will be the score at the end of each quarter? will the coin toss go to the AFC or NFC team? who will score first? who will score last? and of course, what will the final score be?)  I think we bet a dollar per chance.  Then, our annual “secret” was that all the money would go to a charity which had suggested by each couple who came to the event (we pulled winners from a hat).  Corny, yes, but a way to get my girlfriends interested in the game; not many other female sports enthusiasts among my crowd.

I even remember my first Super Bowl.  It was 1967.  It was not called the Super Bowl then.  “Super Bowl” was coined in 1969. The First AFL-NFL World Championship Game in professional American football, later known as Super Bowl I and referred to in some contemporary reports as the “Supergame,” was played on January 15, 1967, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  Sports fans know the complete story and the role Lamar Hunt played in all of it.  Worth researching if interested.

That game, the NFL champion Green Bay Packers played the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs. I’ve been a Chiefs fan since.  Even been a season ticket holder. Speaking of the Chiefs, Missourians will get another chance to connect with that franchise in July, when they open camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.

The Chiefs have trained in River Falls, Wisc., for about 20 years, and it will be good to have them back home and closer to their core fan base. Missouri Western is in the process of completing some world-class facilities for the Chiefs camp, and the added plus  is the school will benefit from those same facilities year-round. Maybe a return to Missouri is what the Chiefs need, and that hopeful opening sentence still holds true, just wait till next year!  But again, I digress.

As for my favorite Super Bowl, it was a way to connect and share a little bit of home with Steve while he was on active duty.  We guessed when the halftime would be, and that is when he called.  He was able to call about every four days or so, and we saved a couple of days to know he would be able to call on this Super Sunday.  Our guests were surprised; I did not tell them in advance.  I don’t remember much else about the game that year.  Just that I got to share it with my best friends, even the one who was half way round the world.

So, what is your favorite Super Bowl memory?  And since this is the MO Tourism site, share the ones specific to a Missouri story.  A favorite place you go annually to enjoy on the big screens at a neighborhood restaurant? A special watch party at an area church or hotel?   Regardless of your favorite location, regardless of who you’re rooting for, or even if you’re just watching for the commercials.  Tell us about your most memorable Super Bowl.

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