Sailing into Super Bowl Sunday – By Lawrence Vos – (@NFLFanInEngland)
I was 13 when I was transported into a magical world of razzmatazz and shoulder pads and helmets as it was the time I watched my first ever Super Bowl. I was not alone, my viewing friend was my gerbil ‘Bodkin’ who scratched and gnawed on a cardboard toilet roll tube as I witnessed the New York Giants take on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI in 1987. I had a tray with a bag of peanut M&Ms lined up around the edge, and a can of regular Pepsi. It was the start of a tradition I followed for 30 years before giving up chocolate and pop in 2017.
I don’t have more than a handful of memories from the game as I regretfully fell asleep at some point in the second quarter, recalling the game was on a knife-edge and woke up in the fourth with the Giants having a significant lead. Turns out it was one of only two Super Bowls I have watched and fallen asleep in, the other being Super Bowl XXIX another 49ers stampede, this time against the San Diego Chargers.
The few players I remember are Mark Bavaro the Giants tight-end and Phil McConkey the Giants wideout. I have memories of their eye black contrasting against their pink skin. I’m also convinced it was McConkey’s fourth quarter touchdown that woke me up. Turns out McConkey is an incredible story of his own.
He was a 27 year-old NFL rookie having served four years in the Navy. He got his shot with the Giants after Bill Belichick’s dad, Steve, an offensive coach and scout for the Midshipmen, recommended McConkey to his son who had recently been promoted to defensive coordinator at the Giants.
It turns out that even aged 13 Bill Belichick had an influence over my football memories. I remember the grandness of the National Anthem being sung (but had no recollection it was sung by Neil Diamond) and the balloons and the fact the sun was shining and the sky was blue.
I know I had school in the morning and I was fine, I was buzzing having watched my first ever live NFL game on quite a bulky TV set that was surrounded by a wooden exterior. Back then where I lived we hadn’t even had Channel 4 that long, and even that was quite novel. Just imagine it, the internet didn’t exist, there was no such thing as fantasy football, no HD, no mobile phones. Just Phil Simms and his 88% completion rate.
One stat I never forgot all these years later.