Thursday, January 31, 2008

Remembering Super Bowls of the past

With the next Super Bowl coming up this Sunday, it brings to mind memories of Super Bowls past.

For instance, there was the first Super Bowl I truly cared about, the first season I truly cared about football and the first team I really got into. That was, of course, the 1985 Chicago Bears. A fun bunch, it featured a team so brash, so confident, that they recorded the ultimate team-based song that's ever been put down in a studio. That was the Super Bowl Shuffle:

As for Super Bowl XX itself (played on Jan. 26, 1986), I remember exactly where I was. I had just turned 10, and my dad and I wound up at this bar and grill called Cruisers in Beach Park, Ill. (Coincidently, we wound up moving into the house not even half a block away two years later). With a couple of Dad's friends from work, we grabbed our booth and watched the big game on the big screen. I sipped 7-Up the entire time, and I remember eating this rib dinner that was pretty good.

Besides the game itself, won by the Bears 46-10 over the hapless (at least that day) New England Patriots, I remember the game getting out of hand when somebody accidently changed the channel, and all of a sudden we were watching the Spanish-language soap opera. The entire restaurant howled, and the game was back on in no time.

I remember it was cold the next day, so cold in fact that Mom kept my brother Eric and me home from school. I remember watching the Bears' victory down Michigan Avenue in Chicago on TV that afternoon, a throng of people lining the streets and cheering their hearts out despite the cold. It was a fun year.

Last year and Super Bowl XLI was another memory. Since it was the Bears' first time in the Super Bowl in 21 years, I decided to be with the ones I had developed my fanhood with, my family. While the weather outside my parents' house in Zion, Ill., was -4 degrees, we were plenty warmed up with good food, Eric, his wife Dina, and their then 5-month-old daughter, Ashley, along with my parents and a friend of Eric's and mine from high school, Erick. With the Dos Equis beer readily available, we watched the Bears kick things off right with this play:

The memorable part of this was the aftermath. As Devin Hester finished his run, all of us were screaming and going nuts. Meanwhile, poor little Ashley, lying on a blanket on the floor, is going nuts, too - in a different way. She is scared to death, and her mother quickly rushed to comfort her.

We all decided then to try and behave ourselves and keep the screaming to a low roar the next time the Bears did something good. Fortunately for little Ashley, and unfortunately for the rest of us, that kickoff return was the highlight of the game, and Peyton Manning and the Colts picked the Bears apart and won the game, 29-17.

Unfortunately, I proved to be right when I predicted a downfall after the Bears traded running back Thomas Jones. Combined with a series of injuries to key players, and the inconsistency (to be kind) of quarterback Rex Grossman, da Bears ended the year 7-9, with only wins over the Packers and the Saints in the last two weeks enough to remember the season by.

Tis a shame.

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