Tonight, at or around 6:30pm ET, America will settle into its over-worn Lazy Boy, crack a cold beverage, wipe the chicken grease off its mouth, and watch the kickoff of Super Bowl LI, aka Super Bowl 51, aka “The Monster Rises Again From the Deep,” aka “How Many of These Jalapeno Poppers Can I Possibly Eat Before I Make Myself Sick, 32? No, Seriously, I Wanna Make A Bet. I Say 32. For Real, Maybe Even 33. $5? Okay, Let’s Do This, Get That Bucket Ready.”
I realize this is a basketball blog, but I’m gonna be watching the game and I assume you’ll be watching the game, so I figured I’d check in on the state of the thing.
First of all, here are some handy how-to-view metrics and tips, as written up by our parent company, SB Nation (aka I was too lazy so I just copied and pasted all this, because I can because that’s how this is going to work):
How to watch Super Bowl LI
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Place: NRG Stadium, Houston
Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews
How to watch the Super Bowl online
Fox has an over-the-top service, Fox Sports Go, which provides live streaming of every sporting event they cover. Normally it requires a cable/satellite subscription to access, but for the Super Bowl, Fox is making a special exemption and making the game available to everybody watching online. Mobile apps are available on Android, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, and Xbox One, among others.
I used to hate Joe Buck, primarily because when the SF Giants played the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2012 and 2014 NLCS, I was convinced that Buck (who, along with his father, used to be the Cardinals’ play-by-play announcer) hated our squad. Seriously. Anytime something good happened for the Giants, like... this:
But, anyways, anytime something good would happen to the Giants, I thought I could hear Joe Buck sulking into his chair, grumbling and bemoaning the sad, twisted fate of the world. His voice would get thin, he’d throw shade at my team, and it pissed me off to no end. Not so much the specific play embedded above (because, seriously, how can you possibly be mad about a walk-off, pennant-winning home run?!), but all the smaller, less consequential plays in between brought out his inner grinch.
But, these days, I find something downright soothing about the dulcet tones of Joe Buck’s voice. I don’t know what changed. Maybe there’s a sense of familiarity there? He and Aikman have been doing the lead NFL games for Fox for so long that I equate their voices with the “Big Stage.” Or, equate their partnership to the presence of big things that require our attention.
So, at 6:30 pm ET, we’ll wipe the cheese doodles from our beards, sip upon a series of adult beverages, and watch grown men fling themselves towards each other with a recklessness that would terrify even Hunter S. Thompson. Ares, the God of War, will look down from the Grecian heavens and smile upon all that He has wrought.
If I was a football player, I think I would hype myself towards battle with this song:
But that’s why I’m not a football player. Well, that and my size. I’m 5’10” or so, and 155 pounds on a day where I’ve eaten too much lasagna and forgot to exercise. I would get absolutely murdered out there on the football field. Seriously, if someone decided to punish me with all their force, speed, and steroidal strength behind the hit, I would quite literally curl up like a spider in a flame and just cease to exist. You’d find a small, smoking crater where my body once was. All my thoughts and dreams and aspirations would disappear from this earth, as vulnerable as hundred year old film in a forgotten camera.
I mean, look at this:
USATODAY: RT USATODAYsports: Miami Dolphins QB Matt Moore returns after huge hit by Steelers' Bud Dupree. … https://t.co/yEGlgno8I4— Donna Stucker (@Sch_Finans) January 8, 2017
WTF? How did Matt Moore not just self-combust? How can humans even generate that type of force?
Say what you will about the physicality of basketball, but if I somehow ended up on an NBA court, here’s a list of things that would happen, in chronological order.
1.) All of the players — including the ones on my own team — would laugh at me and I’d feel kinda sad.
2.) One of the players — any of them, really, doesn’t even matter how big they were — would dunk on me so viciously that the refs would run over to see if I was okay.
3.) I would get winded after approximately three or four plays, and retreat into a corner of the arena to rock back and forth in the fetal position until the coach mercifully subbed me out and then I’d change back into street clothes and go find the nearest bar, watching the rest of the game from a bar stool where I belong.
Notice, however: Nowhere on that list will you find, “Get hit so viciously by an opposing player that I die on the spot, survived only by a singed crater and the faint smell of sulfur.”
Football scares the crap out of me. There’s no other sport quite like it on Planet Earth. Nowhere else am I constantly worried about people straight up dying on the field. It’s terrifying. It’s the closest we have to going to the Coliseum and watching dudes knife each other with ten foot long shanks and poles and other sharp objects.
And yet, it is very much American. This whole day is deeply American. Come on in, make yourself a drink, eat too much bad-for-you, nutritionally-worthless food, and find a seat. The battle is about to begin. We are all willing witnesses to its unique, unthinkable ferocity.
Happy Sunday, everyone.