Jan 24, 2016
Anticipating the Big Game Day
When the Saints made it into the Super Bowl® in 2009, my neighbor was thrilled. She grew up in New Orleans and still considered New Orleans to be her home. She had a small Saints flag and, naturally, wanted to hang it and support her team. But, the only place she had to hang it was on a bush near the house. So she asked me if she could string a rope from her mailbox to mine where the flag would be seen. I told her she could as long as I could get into it too.
So on the day of the big game, hanging from a rope next to her mailbox was a New Orleans Saints flag. And hanging from the rope next to my mailbox was a..............pet food bowl --------- celebrating the Puppy Bowl.
Because I don't give a rat's ass about the Super Bowl. I never have. One of the nicest things about my dad was he had no interest in professional sports. You never walked into our house and saw a game on. Never having been brainwashed as a child into the cult of organized sports, watching sports isn't patterned behavior for me.
So I've never in my life watched the Super Bowl. And I plan on never watching a Super Bowl.
I know people try to claim it's more than a football game. "It's a social event!!" they cry. "It's a social event around watching a football game," I reply. "There's the halftime show." To which my response is, "Who cares?" "There are the commercials." "Which," I say, "I'll see later." (Because never, in the history of the Super Bowl, has a commercial only been aired during the Super Bowl and never seen again. No, not even the "1984" Apple commercial because I've seen that one a bunch of times.)
I don't care if you give it a big name and a lot of hype, the Super Bowl is just a football game to me, and to me watching football is the equivalent of mental torture. (Seriously, if anyone ever needs to extract information from me, tie me to a chair, tape my eyelids open and roll up a TV and put on football games ---------- I'll talk.) Of the four "big" team sports, football is far and away the most boring to me. (My rankings from least to most boring: basketball, hockey, baseball, football.) Football is excruciatingly boring. It's like someone designed a sport deliberately to be boring with seconds of play interrupted by loooong minutes of absolutely nothing. Football is so boring, I can't even watch movies about football. (The only movie I've ever watched that featured football was Disney's 1976 Gus about a mule that plays football, and I watched that one for the mule and because it was Disney.) While with baseball I've watched and enjoyed a number of baseball films even if I didn't enjoy the one time I've watched an actual baseball game.
As a non-game watcher from a non-game watching family, the thing that was most irritating about Super Bowl Sunday wasn't that one channel was airing a football game. It was that all the other channels gave-up, laid down and died when it came to counter-programming.
When were the other networks going to realize that not everyone in this country watched the Super Bowl??* When were the other networks going to realize that most of the people in this country don't watch the Super Bowl, leaving a huge, untapped market for TV viewing?
I thought that as a child. I thought that as an adult. Many years later I was still thinking that.
Then in 2005 when one channel finally did wake up and realize that there was an untapped market out there of people who aren't going to be watching the Super Bowl, you know I was pleased. And that it was it was the Animal Planet channel and their counter-programming was puppies..........I was thrilled. As thrilled as my neighbor was when "her" team won the Super Bowl. Because Puppy Bowl was born and I finally had a reason to look forward to the day of the Big Game.
I watched that first Puppy Bowl (which featured a litter of adorable Golden Retriever puppies) and have watched it every year since, watching it become more elaborate year by year. Then in 2014, counter-programming got even better when the Hallmark Channel debuted the Kitten Bowl --- an event which took advantage of kittens' marvelous play-hunting abilities. That's something that the Puppy Bowl's Kitty Half-Time Show never managed to do as you can't just take kittens, put them in a strange environment and dump a bunch of stuff on them and expect to elicit play behavior --- what you're going to get is bunch of confused and befuddled kittens who don't have time enough to get comfortable to really play. (Also, the Animal Planet should know that rabbits can be very active and playful, just not during the middle of the day which is when they sleep.) Also in 2014, Nat Geo Wild channel started the wittily named, dull, yet strangely mesmerizing Fish Bowl which is literally fish swimming around in a bowl.
With the Puppy Bowl and the Kitten Bowl, I've got puppies and kittens all day. Now that's a Big Game Day that I can get excited about.
* Even in 2015 when the Super Bowl had historic high ratings of 114.4 million viewers that still meant that almost 2 out of 3 people in the United States didn't watch the game. (US population Feb 1, 2015 was 319.23 million.)
For more about TV viewing in my childhood home, there's "Rules for TV Viewing."
You also might like "When Good TV Shows Are Going Bad...Signs a Show Has Jumped the Shark" or "Consistency, Thy Title Isn't TV Show Producer.......But It Should Be."
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