Chris Rodell [00:00:00]:
Today, we'll be talking about how to improve the NFL so it can finally realize its potential as a for profit organization. That's right. We're talking Super Bowl. Hi. I'm Chris Rodell. I've written stories and features for just about every major magazine or publication in America. This is the Use all the crowns podcast, where I'll share those colorful stories with you. It's typical of the NFL to make the most zealous fans wait and wait and wait to get to the action.
Chris Rodell [00:00:27]:
Remember, they're the ones that jumped on the so called instant replay when it was anything but instant, and they do it with a stupid week off before they get to the Super Bowl. Well, this podcast is not the NFL. For example, the 32nd Super Bowl ad this year is costing $7,000,000. I'll let you advertise here for a single stick of gum. And no, I'm not picky about whether the gum is chewed or not. The greatest public misnomer involves announcers addressing crowds at things like NFL games as ladies and gentlemen. At the game of about 60 3,000 fans, there are probably no more than 120 ladies and maybe 50 true gents. If they cared at all about accuracy, they'd say, welcome bitches, dudes, and garden variety blow hards.
Chris Rodell [00:01:10]:
I wrote this back some years ago when the Super Bowl was in New Jersey. I thought that was ridiculous. I don't plan on going to the trouble of rewriting it, so I'm gonna read it with all the tenses as they were then. Here goes.
Chris Rodell [00:01:20]:
If I were a man of means, I might consider spending about $10,000 to attend Super Bowl XLVIII being hosted by New York and played in New Jersey. That's how much I figured it would cost to make a 4 day event a comfortable splurge, but I am not a man of means. I am
Chris Rodell [00:01:36]:
instead a mean man determined to spend the next 5 days at home hoping this ill conceived Super Bowl It's a logistical fiasco. I want traffic jams, hours long security waits, and the kind of cold slushy weather that makes fans from grim Seattle wish they were home sipping some exotic 5 bean blend. New York is one of my top 3 favorite cities. Although, I've never been there, from what I hear, East Rutherford, New Jersey wouldn't crack the top 300. Prefatherhood, I used to go to Manhattan a couple times a year. I'd enjoy the lower east side in spring, Rockefeller Center in the summer, and Central Park in the fall. Never once did I go to New York so I could see East Rutherford on Groundhog Day. Peers say football was meant to be played outdoors in nasty weather. Football, yes. Super Bowls, no. I'm not one
Chris Rodell [00:02:19]:
to advocate more rules for the overofficiated NFL, but there ought to be a Tommy Bahama rule. No city can host The Super Bowl in a place where wearing a Tommy Bahama party shirt outdoors would result in goose pimples. It was Super Bowl XXXI in MCM XCVII. It was the year Green Bay beat New England XxxV to XXI. Oh, and that's another thing I despise about the NFL, the silly insistence on using incomprehensible Roman numerals for Super Bowls In a way The must have even people in Rome saying, wtf, but it was in 1997. Me and my buddies were sure the Steelers were going to advance to the Super Bowl, we bought tickets to New Orleans.
Chris Rodell [00:02:59]:
Sure, we'd have a great time. It didn't work out that way, but
Chris Rodell [00:03:02]:
it didn't matter. It's Still one of the best buddy weeks I've ever had in my life, and it featured one of the most magnificent buzzes I've ever had. And I'm still one
Chris Rodell [00:03:09]:
of those guys that achieves a pretty good primal buzz about 4 times a week. We had so much fun. Part of
Chris Rodell [00:03:15]:
the fun was that it was miserable in Pittsburgh, and we weren't there. In New Orleans, the temperature were above 70. I was with 2 great buddies. We're having a ball. I was wearing Tommy Bahama. Our heads were pounding. Our stomachs were queasy, and we ached all over like we've been run over by a second line funeral parade. I guess something must have been going around, but with alcoholic assistance and some central grocer muffletta, we persevered like men.
Chris Rodell [00:03:38]:
Stupid, drunken men, sure, but men indeed. And with every drink, our merry little trio began feeling better and better. I remember carrying a portable hurricane into a little cigar shop near Jackson Square, a place once known for public beheadings. The smoke settled my soul. I'll never forget the feeling I had about 4 hours before that kickoff. I was with my friends. We were whooping it up. We were in New Orleans.
Chris Rodell [00:03:59]:
I'd survived a near fatal hangover, and none of
Chris Rodell [00:04:02]:
us wanted to be burdened by the knowledge that any of the other guys were stupid enough to want to pay $500 for a ticket to the game. The prices have since quadrupled. We spent the whole second half in the venerable preservation jazz hall, and didn't even know we won until we saw the exuberant Packer fans screaming past outside. Guaranteed, no one in the New York metro area Chris weekend, we'll have a day as splendid as a mine was x I I I years ago. Such a pity.
Chris Rodell [00:04:24]:
Do you agree?
Chris Rodell [00:04:25]:
Am I nuts? Is this winter Super Bowl a good idea? I'm eager to hear your thoughts. Call me. My number is d c c x x IV, c m l x I, m m d l v I I I. We're so used to them being linked in biblical sinfulness, But Sodom and Gomorrah were 2 wicked cities. The must have been fierce rivals. Imagine going to referee a high school football game between Sodom and Gomorrah. Talk about having to throw out the rule book. This is what I wrote in 2009 after the Steelers won the Super Bowl, the last time they won the Super Bowl.
Chris Rodell [00:05:01]:
While late night comics were ridiculing Pittsburgh for excessively celebrating Super Bowl victory, I was trying to correct a conviction I hadn't done enough celebrating. 2 days before the Steelers won the Super Bowl, Pittsburgh City Schools announced it would delay the start of Monday's education by 2 hours to allow its students and staffers time to sleep it off. Many commentators howled that this set a terrible example for hungover Pittsburgh students and showed just how out of touch the city is with conventional priorities as if pandering to the sports obsessed in America could ever backfire. I thought it was brilliant and believe in a few months, we're going to start seeing an influx of families who've moved their children to Pittsburgh just so they can sufficiently recover from future Super Bowl victories. Call them Steeler sleeper cells. Me, I popped out of bed, revelry ready at 6 AM, Dashed out to get the newspaper and immediately began reading it
Chris Rodell [00:05:47]:
at an 8th grade level. I'd spent
Chris Rodell [00:05:48]:
the entire day with Valerie and our 2 girls, then 8 and 2. During the course of 12 hours of available Super Bowl coverage, I consumed 4 beers. I love watching football games with the girls. I don't even mind it when on a crucial third and long, the 2 year old crawls into my lap and insists I read her doctor Seuss's The things I think I think. But there's part of me I've nurtured through decades of 0 responsibility and dubious judgment that misses watching the biggest game of
Chris Rodell [00:06:13]:
the year out with the boys. That part
Chris Rodell [00:06:15]:
of me would like to job out complex strategy, football history, and unleash wanton profanities at brain dead refs. Yes. And so the event doesn't change. I'm still watching the same game. But if 1 of the boys wants to crawl up on my lap and cuddle during a crucial play, well, I
Chris Rodell [00:06:30]:
can take it on a case by case basis. That's the part of me that I decided to briefly indulge on Monday evening. Jack's Bar a year and it's one
Chris Rodell [00:06:41]:
of the city's most raucous taverns. As a great jukebox, a lively clientele of inebriates who bring boozy and spice to every conversation. The one day I went, the bar was packed with Steeler fans. Every stool was occupied except for clear down at the end where 5 vacant stools sat between relative civilization and menace. He was an older man, maybe 70. He was shouting profanity at 1 poor guy who looked too timid to get up and run. And when I say profanity, I do mean singular. He didn't use a barnyard array.
Chris Rodell [00:07:09]:
It was exclusively the word I'd heard an off color country singer in a long ago bar referred to as the universal adjective. I lost my effing job. I lost my effing wife. The universal adjective is effing up my life. Finally, the mousey guy got up and skittered away. That meant I still had a 5 stool Maginot line between me and the old loud. I was about done with my 1st beer. I could have downed it and left, but but I have a rule about always drinking at least 2 beers in any bar.
Chris Rodell [00:07:35]:
Drink 1, and you look like a tourist or prey. Drinking 2 always friendlies up the bartenders and the regulars who recognize you as someone who means business and not one of those 1 beer dorks. It automatically looked like the 2 beer rule was a mistake because the guy turned right to me and sneered, what the hell are you doing in here? I didn't flinch. I'm here to
Chris Rodell [00:07:52]:
drink some beers with some friendly Steeler fans. Well, I'm a Steeler fan, he said. You a friendly one? I can be, he said a tad defensively. Our little exchange brought him 1 stool nearer. Turns out he was a friendly Steeler fan. The guy went way back and knew beloved patriarch, Art Rooney senior, told some great football stories. One stool later, he told me about his kids, his grandkids, and how joyful it is to share with them what he called jump hugs. That's when the kids run clear down from the end of the house and explode into his arms in a big joyful jump.
Chris Rodell [00:08:21]:
He was a professional window washer who by the time he was sitting on the stool right next to me told me A harrowing tragedy 30 years ago when he nearly got blown off a city skyscraper and about the 1 poor guy who did. I left after 4 beers and had to resist the urge to run clear from the other side of Jacks and give the guy a great big jump hug before I split. I learned something that day when the Steelers Super Bowl victory short changed city students 2 hours of their precious education. I learned never to sit 5 stools away from any drunk old Steeler fan. Any more than 2, and you're just wasting your time. Thanks Thanks to Robindale Energy for their generosity. They are pillars of the community because they encourage dreamers like me to build on their example. Thanks to Headspace Media for doing so much for a guy that has so little.
Chris Rodell [00:09:01]:
This ever becomes an earning success. It'll happen because of your chipper assistance.
John Jamison [00:09:11]:
Learn the fine art of knowing precisely when to quit.
Chris Rodell [00:09:15]: