January 31, 2008

Avoiding ‘Background Noise’ During the Big Game

Print More

This is one of the better times of the school year for me; nobody is focusing on classes, my senior friends are slowly infecting me with senioritis and I have been using my now-legal 21-year old I.D. like it’s Big Red Bucks at Bear Nasties — ahh, freshman year. To add to that, Eli Manning hasn’t thrown an interception throughout the playoffs while leading the Giants to their first Super Bowl appearance since Ray Lewis and the Ravens beat us — and yes, I said us — back in 2001. But all this fun might be short lived as next week I have projects due, internship applications to turn in and I will probably catch my monthly cold. But while my fun in the sun lasts, I’m hoping I can top it off with a nice Super Bowl win this Sunday. Now, I know and am fully aware of how talented Mr. Brady and the Patriots are and I am not expecting the Giants to stomp all over them.
Honestly, as long as we put in a decent performance, I will be all smiles. How could I not be? We beat our rivals, the Cowboys, in Dallas — and made their best player cry. Following that, we went to Lambeau Field and despite Lawrence Tynes playing with my emotions by missing two potential game-winning field goals, we still pulled out the victory. Ask around, I’m a pretty easy-going guy, but there is one thing that will piss me off this upcoming Super Bowl Sunday — the new fans.
Just yesterday, I asked my boy and fellow Assistant Sports Editor Lance Williams what his Super Bowl plans were and he told me stop by his frat house, something that I do routinely nowadays. And while the thoughts of drinking a few beers and watching the Giants battle against what many call the NFL’s Best Team Ever with some of my boys is almost too much fun to think about, I can only imagine how annoying it will be to hear some of the comments that will be made by the other visitors who watch the Super Bowl just because it’s a social obligation.
Any other year, I wouldn’t have said anything but I have suffered for too long. I went through the whole Rodney Hampton Era, I have seen numerous pages of the New York Post where columnists have called for Tom Coughlin’s head and I saw all hopes of a championship crushed in Super Bowl XXXV. As a matter of fact, the last time the Giants won the Super Bowl was 1987, the same year I was born. But with my luck, I fell later in the year around December as opposed to January. Long story short, I’m due for something good to happen.
Now, I understand where these casual viewers are coming from. The Super Bowl is exciting whether you are a football fan or not. In America, you might as well call it a holiday — shame on any teacher who thinks I’m turning in any assignments the next day. But, for those of you who will be taking part in the Bowl festivities but aren’t actually football-knowledgeable, please, and I repeat please, keep all comments, suggestions and analysis to yourself.
I’m sure I speak for every week 1-17 watcher, every ESPN.com daily viewer and true sports fans, when I say that nothing will piss us off more this Sunday when we hear those football-ignorant comments.
You know what I’m talking about, that one girl who asks, “Why isn’t the time running down?” after an incomplete pass. Or that that guy who offers his advice after Brandon Jacobs runs over Mike Vrabel for a five-yard run on first down early in the game, “They need to stop running the ball and pass it.”
You just don’t know how ridiculous you sound.
You’re lucky enough people let you watch and celebrate the game with them, please don’t try to become an expert in a day when you know that every Sunday last semester you were waking up and going to the library. While you were being a student, me and the sports nation — as I would like to call it — were either hungover watching the game in bed or sitting on the couch with a couple of snacks rooting for our teams. Some of us even had our textbooks right next to us, knowing damn well that no real work was going to be done — but you know, it’s the thought that counts, right?
For every other playoff game, I didn’t have this problem. I sat down and watched the games with people who knew the sport and offered useful insight and analysis. But this upcoming Sunday, when everybody feels inclined to watch the game, the task of tuning out the outsiders will be placed in front of me. And while I will be too enwrapped in the game to hear the outside conversations taking place, I wouldn’t rule out getting a few, “Yo, shut up!” stares from me — or any sports fan, as a matter of fact — if your voice is slowly starting to tune out Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.
But as I have observed over my Super Bowl-watching career, avoiding the “background noise” is a difficult task, especially if you want to watch the game with a group full of people. So this year, come second half and it’s still a close game, I wouldn’t be too surprised to end up propped in front of a small T.V. in a backroom somewhere cheering by myself.