Friday, August 1, 2014

Super Bowl XLV: America’s Game

In all the hype building up to the Super Bowl, the only colors I heard about were green, black and yellow. Black and yellow, black and yellow. Green and yellow, green and yellow.

But Sunday’s game reminded me of one color that no one mentioned. Blue.

The Green Bay Packers, named so because of Green Bay’s Indian Packing Co.’s contribution of uniforms to the upstart team, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose name was changed from Pirates to Steelers in the 40s to reflect the Pittsburgh community, represent the epitome of America’s blue-collared workers.

Football became on Sunday what football has always been about and has always been for.

The nondescript, John Doe, 2.5 kids and a mortgage middle-class. The “roll up your sleeves and get it done” crowd. You know. Levi’s commercial kind of stuff.

This Super Bowl, unlike the past couple before it, saw no trick plays, gadget reverses, rabbit-out-of-the-hat onsides kicks or tiptoe touchdown catches.

What we did see was two defenses that had bleeding elbows, sweating offensive lines and running backs with dirty jerseys.

Football has never been a filet and foie gras game.

No, this is mom’s leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes, extra gravy, please.

Sunday’s game was a game of muscle, grit and every bit of blue collar as one could stuff into it. Beard included. Brett Kiesel.

Sure, Santonio Holmes’ catch in the last seconds of Super Bowl XLIII was exciting. Sean Peyton’s decision to kick an on-sides kick caught us all off-guard. David Tyree’s famous helmet catch was unbelievable.

But in Green Bay, Pittsburgh and all of the other blue-collar towns in America, exciting is Clay Matthews forcing a fumble.

Rashard Mendenhall barreling over defenders into the end zone. Exciting is when the whistle blows.

The workday is over.

Sunday, the game was over. And the Lombardi trophy was home again. Football rose in industrial Midwest mud lots, and now settles again in blue collar Green Bay.

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