February 5th, 2018

Stupor Bowl LII – Who Needs Defense?!

I don’t watch pro football any more unless there is a game in the snow on tv at a convenient time. Don’t enjoy indoor games; don’t truly believe that football should be played in Tampa or Jacksonville or Miami or New Orleans or even North Carolina in winter regardless of the achievements of the Southeastern College Conference.

Yesterday, I tuned-in to the Super Bowl at 10am! The game was to begin at 6:30pm and this seemed like the right thing to do. As I’ve written before, all Super Bowls pivot around #4 or IV where I worked as an usher for the Vikings and Chiefs game at Tulane Staduim and as a ticket or half-time admissions-pass scalper in partnership with my high school friend, Byron P.

The 10am ESPN show live from Minneapolis covered a story about the newly elected Hall of Fame members which now includes Jerry Kramer the renown guard for Coach Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers in the 1960s. He and Fuzzy Thurston comprised the Green Bay Sweep which frequently led Jim Taylor or Paul Hornung into the end zone and Green Bay to 5 championships in the 60s including the first two Super Bowls, I & II. One ESPN host mentioned that the Philadelphia Eagles, now in Super Bowl LII, had not won a football championship since 1960 when they defeated the Green Bay Packers.

I remember that game, I said to myself; saw it at Mike Estoup’s house on Broadway in New Orleans. It was a Monday in the early afternoon. Tommy McDonald played without a face guard on his helmet. Norm Van Brocklin was the Eagles quarterback. I wanted to call the ESPN booth in Minnesota and remind them that Jerry Kramer played in this game in 1960. And that maybe they should consider the possible voodoo now that this famous Packer finally, after 10 years of rejection by the Hall of Fame, is now a member. Maybe this reversal of fortune is a foretelling of the fate that would welcome the Eagles in about 12 hours. It was although Coach Lombardi would not have recognized the complete absence of defense recommended by both teams in the game last night.

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I could continue in reminiscence by noting that Jerry Kramer, along with Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung, moved to Louisiana in 1966 somehow connected with the fledgling New Orleans Saints franchise. Taylor played for a few years (he went to LSU); Hornung did not play ever despite the season tickets sold in anticipation of these two Packers in the backfield for the Saints (Marketing, NOLA-style, for sure); Mr. Kramer invested in an off-shore oil business with Taylor as some sort of partner. I know this because my father was their stock broker and fellow adventurer for a time.

Super Bowl Fifty Two ended with the Eagles as the victors in Rocky style as Wentz went down and Foles stood up. Seems fair after 58 years of effort. I looked-up that 1960 championship game. Indeed, played on a Monday; December 26th at noon; no lights at Franklin Field in Philadelphia; the NFL just relocated its headquarters from Philly to New York City. That championship was Van Brocklin’s final pro game as the next year he became the head coach of the newly formed Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis (Eagles defeated the Vikings in the NFC Championship game two weeks ago).

I wonder what those 1960 Eagles would have thought of last night’s #52 played not only under the lights but indoors with 1,151 yards of combined offense and the Justin Timberlake marching band at the half. Jerry Kramer now enjoys his welcome to the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio and the Eagles have their membership in the Club of Super Bowl Champions. After the game last night, LII, they received received the Vince Lombardi Trophy as vindication.

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