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Monday, February 6, 2017

Fringeville #151: A Wild One Left That Us All Agaga

...another MVP Performance

I only follow one sports team through thick-and-thin, and that’s the Penn State Nittany Lions. Generally, when their season ends so does mine for all things football except perhaps a few quarters of the Super Bowl. Perhaps because this year was such a successful one for my Lions, I was in a pretty good damned mood and decided to watch the Super Bowl. The whole damned thing. Maybe the best decision I’ve made lately.

When it came down to New England versus Atlanta, I knew it was going to be a good game. There are a handful of pro teams I enjoy watching, and I like the Patriots most of all. Some of that is my brother Bill’s fault. He lives in New England and he loves the Patriots. (He says he hates professional football, but when the Patriots are in the big one he rekindles that lost love every time). My brother’s devotion to the Patriots rubbed off on me. If they’re in the Super Bowl, I watch the whole darned thing.

My only concern was that whenever the Patriots get to the Super Bowl, I’ve got a 2-in-3 chance of getting the flu. Sure enough, by noon Saturday I was in bed. I stayed there until Sunday morning when I forced myself in to work and then went home to await the game.

The last time I had the flu, the Patriots lost a Super Bowl and I was at my brother’s house in New Hampshire wheezing through their defeat. I talked to my brother before the game yesterday, and mentioned that I had the flu again.

“Didn’t you have the flu when you came up here for the game?”


“Did they win or lose?”

“They lost.”

Silence. He wasn’t happy.

Now I couldn’t do a damned thing about the flu, but there had to be some way to minimize my flu’s impact on their chances of victory. I got a lucky turn when my wife asked, “Do you want wings or my chili for the game?”

It is no secret that I have a thing about chicken wings. A Super Bowl without wings is some kind of sacrilege, especially for me. My shtick is chicken wings. Google my name and chicken wings and you will find me. The last time I had the flu, I also had wings. The Patriots lost. Like I said, I couldn’t do a thing about the flu, but I could change up the menu.

I went with chili. (This really wasn’t that hard a call. My wife’s chili is killer).

When the Patriots were down 28-3, I started on the chili. Three bowls and a side of nachos later, they’d overcome the biggest deficit in Super Bowl history for a 34-28 win. You’re welcome, Mr. Belichick. Whatever I can do to help the team.

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A brief note on the halftime show: I don’t know much about Lady Gaga. I was familiar with her only by her stint on American Horror Story. There were all kinds of rumors floating around that she was going to make some type of political statement through her performance. Instead, she gave us perhaps the best Super Bowl show ever. I’m sure she is getting an earful from some folks who think she blew her chance to send a message on the Election. Instead she used her 13 minutes to set one hell of a bar for future performers. America needed a night of entertainment with as little preaching as possible. For the most part, that’s what we got. And whenever I sensed a commercial leaning toward political preaching, I refilled the chili bowl. Like I said: whatever I could do to help the team.

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...the man has one expression: unwavering intensity.

A last note on Coach Belichick: Less than a day after the victory, he noted that the Patriots are already 5 weeks behind on the 2017 season compared to most of the other teams. That drew some snarky criticism in the Twitterverse, but I got it right away. Sports are like politics in that once you win, you have to put it behind you because another game or another season is coming. That victory in February doesn’t mean spit when the next season starts. That attitude may be why many hate Belichick. But it’s why his teams win. They play the full sixty minutes. If they didn’t, the questionable play calls for Atlanta in the second half wouldn’t have mattered. But New England kept hanging around, and hanging around, and when the breaks came they capitalized.

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Lastly, 65 years ago today, Princess Elizabeth took the throne as Queen Elizabeth II. She has been the longest-serving monarch in British History. And she’s still a pretty nice girl.

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