OK, so yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday, arguably a day that rates for Americans and food and partying and community in some strange way. Perhaps the game cuts even deeper to our collective competitive spirit combined with the pride we associated with "our team," for even if you are not a Falcons or Patriots fan, there is still a team you favored at kickoff.
I must confess, I have been a huge Matt Ryan fan since his very first NFL pass--a 60-yard TD--and though I more than respect the Brady/Belichick combo, I rooted hard for Matty Ice, and felt karma was at play as the Falcons rode roughshod over the Pats in the first half. But, as the second half began, I explained to Diane--who is not really a sports fan, save hiking and running and a genetic love for the Cubs--that Tom Brady was not to be taken for granted.
In the end, I was disappointed the Falcons lost, but to say it was not a good and exciting game and that the world (and sponsors) did not get our money's worth in entertainment value would be false. And, well, what can you say?: Brady and Belichick really are that good (but, hopefully the Raiders can knock them off next year).
In addition to arguably the single biggest viewing audience in any given year (over 100 million Americans watch the game, and abroad, who knows?), the Super Bowl is projected to generate $4.7 billion worth of wagers. And, as of Sunday morning, DraftKings still had 52 open DFS contests, so clearly, along with loyalty and food and commercials, betting is of major interest to our fellow countrymen.
Americans do love our football, and we are an innovative cluster, and one of the things we do best is take an idea and build upon/perfect/exploit said innovation. When one of us strikes gold with a product, copying and parodying is certainly the norm. For example, a few years ago I wrote a piece on Fantasy Fashion, a competition where models and events and designers get points instead of RBI and TD passes. And, the Baseball Hall of Fame was the first such edifice honoring the hallowed members of the game, but after Cooperstown opened, more than a few sports and industries opened similar attractions across our nation.
Since Di and I are animal people, we do indeed watch Animal Planet, and for the past years I have seen the regular ads for The Puppy Bowl, but I never really paid much attention till this year, when I discovered the show actually draws about 10 million viewers, and has grown such that there are regular sponsors and the whole affair has become sort of the, uh, Super Bowl of pet adoptathons.
The Puppy Bowl started as a joke whereby the progamming folks at Animal Planet thought it was so useless to even try to get ratings on Super Sunday. The team imagined some sort of Christmas Eve Yule Log program that was cheap to produce and it was jokingly suggested placing a camera on a box of puppies. From that grew the now annual fete that is celebrating its 12th year.
And, this has spawned more, for I found, The Fish Bowl (on NatGeo), The Kitten Bowl (on Hallmark), The Bunny Bowl (sponsored by Annie's Homegrown, and streamed on the comapny's Facebook Page) are out there and I began to wonder just how far this could go. So, here are a few of my own Super Sunday Contest possibilities.
Salad Bowl: I am thinking carrots and corn with helmets and such, but animated in a Robot Chicken/Art Cloakey/Wallace and Grommit vein. The show might take a year to actually produce, but what fun we could have condensing a three-hour football game in to a 30-minute highlight show featuring the Parsnips versus the Brocolli Crowns. Of course the proceeds would go to a soup kitchen.
Alley Bowl: Bowling is so much fun to watch, right? Well, ok, as a kid I did watch Make That Spare, which was sort of a bowling version of Home Run Derby. But, there must be some way to work a serious kegeling contest with Lebowski sensibilities for the world to enjoy. In honor of the Dude, collections could go to Amnesty International with hopes we can all learn to abide.
Television Bowl: This has so many possibilities, especially when we think of the pre-flat screen universe of cathode ray tubes. The winner would be determined by who created the most imaginative way to destroy an idiot box. I am thinking there could be a lot of Pythonesque comments and explosions and applause to accompany this production. Donations to public libraries would be encouraged during this enterprise.
Toilet Bowl: Assemble the ten people who gorged the most on wings and nachos and beer and ribs Super Sunday, and whoever gets the sickest--kind of like Brian, Stewie, Chris, and Peter Griffin barfing after ingesting Syrup of Ipecac--gets to refill after his or her system is purged. Money raised would go to Anorexia and Bulemia support groups.
Cereal Bowl: No, I am not thinking Captain Crunch, but rather this is a reference to the "Cereal Bowl Haircut," and we could watch some number of people with hair have their locks lopped off and the person with the ugliest remaining scalp wins. Of course, the cut hair would be donated to causes making wigs for people who lose their hair thanks to chemotherapy.
Don't forget you can ping me @lawrmichaels.