As someone who grew up in Europe, I wasn’t a football fan until later in life. To put things in perspective, when Super Bowl I was played, I was a junior in college. As a ski and auto racing and soccer (Europeans call it football because it is played with one’s feet) fan, I didn’t start following football until we moved to Texas.
When we move to the Dallas area before NFL free agency, the Cowboys were really good and I learned there were five seasons in the year – draft, training camp, preseason, regular season, playoffs. Now, with free agency, we’re up to six seasons because “free agency” is added after the Super Bowl.
The primary reason I became a fan was so I could have a meaningful conversation on Monday mornings with my co-workers. Being a football fan took up more importance in the weeks leading up to training camp and tailed off a bit after the Super Bowl. To be able participate in the social discourse, one had to be knowledgeable about the Cowboys or one of their arch enemies like the Giants, Eagles or the Redskins.
Many of us can remember times in our lives by Super Bowls. For me, the one that brings back the most memories is Super Bowl XXV. It was those hated Giants against the Buffalo Bills.
On January 27th, I was on the U.S.S. Ranger again participating in a war. Desert Storm was in full swing. The good news was that the Super Bowl was played in Tampa which was eight hours behind the Persian Gulf. Kick-off was at 6:19 Tampa time, or 0419 on the Ranger. We were flying strikes between six p.m. and six a.m., and generally secured from flight quarters around 8 a.m.
Thanks to the foresight of our battle group commander and the carrier’s captain, the Ranger had a commercial satellite antenna installed near the top of the island that could down link U.S. TV stations. Knowing that allowing the Super Bowl to be broadcast live throughout the ship while we were launching and recovering aircraft might result in an accident, the game was taped. Then, at 0900, after flight operations were secured, it was played on the ships internal TV network. Spaces on the ship where TVs were located were packed with officers and enlisted. For those who were on watch, the game was replayed several times during the day.
I vividly remember sitting in the flag mess, with everyone on the staff not on watch, staring at a 48” projection screen everyone one on the staff contributed to pay for that was bought primarily for this purpose. We downed sodas, buckets of popcorn, hot dogs and hamburgers. Oh, yeah, the Giant’s won 20 – 19 when Scott Norwood missed a field goal from 47 yards out with 7 seconds left.
History tells us this game was the first of four consecutive Super Bowls the Buffalo Bills lost. The last two were to the Cowboys and I can remember a joke going around before the 1994 game (Super Bowl XXVIII). What is the difference between the Buffalo Bills and Rice Krispies? Rice Krispies know what to do in a bowl. Enjoy the game.