Any given Sunday

It’s the Super Bowl this Sunday, arguably the biggest sporting day of the American year. Around 92 million people tune in to watch the event, which this year will be played between the New England Patriots and, incredibly, the New York Giants.

New York had a terrible start to the season, but somehow seemed to keep their head while all around them were losing theirs in order to make it to the big show. Sadly for them, they’re up against the New England Patriots, who have won all eighteen of their games this season (“eighteen-and-oh” in US parlance). They’ve won the Super Bowl three times in the last six seasons, and in quarterback Tom Brady they’ve got the David Beckham of the NFL. In sporting fame terms that is, rather than him being a text-maniac adulterer married to a woman who’s about as ‘Posh’ as haemorrhoid cream.

On the other hand, the last time that the New York Giants won the Super Bowl, I hadn’t even had my first kiss. Indeed, their quarterback Eli Manning probably barely knew what a kiss was, given that he was only ten at the time. It’s like Manchester United coming up against Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup Final, except maybe slightly more one-sided. And if that kiss-of-death doesn’t allow the Giants to win, I don’t know what will.

My point is not that I don’t understand the rules of (American) football, because I do. But what I have no idea about is the Super Bowl grid that I was somehow persuaded to write my name inside today, in return for parting company with a fresh ten dollar bill.

When I was a kid, we always used to have a Grand National sweepstake. For those who don’t know, the Grand National is the UK’s biggest horse race – like a Kentucky Derby except with stonking great fences all the way around the course. Essentially, we’d all put 10p into the kitty, and in return we’d pull out the name of a horse out of a bag – and the person who ended up with the race winner would take everything.

Super Bowl boxes appear to be a super-fuelled version of this, invented by somebody with a mild mental disorder and a refusal to do anything the easy way. I can’t really begin to explain it fully – all I can say is that there are 100 boxes, each worth $10, and the numbers 1 to 10 are placed randomly along both sides of the grid. My box appears to be in the Giants 1, Patriots 3 box. That doesn’t need to be the final score in order for me to win, but it does mean that I need the last digit of the score to have those figures. In other words, if the Patriots win 43-11, I’m a winner.

Anybody still reading? Me neither.

Suffice to say that while I will almost certainly be watching my first Super Bowl as an American resident, I won’t be paying too close attention to the mathematics of the score.

That doesn’t mean numbers won’t be important on Sunday though. Far from it. I’ll be attempting to set a new record for number of organic burgers eaten in one four hour period.

Ladies and gentlemen, you’re about to see something very special.

14 thoughts on “Any given Sunday

  1. Nat

    So, enquiring minds want to know… Living in NYC as you do, are you supporting the Giants? I’m a big time Giants fan, so I’m rooting for a famous victory come Sunday.

  2. Melanie Seasons

    I’ve never watched a Super Bowl, not even for the commercials. Last year I had an anti-Super Bowl party where I made cosmos and my girlfriends and I watched Sex and the City. That was a lot more fun ;-P

  3. Siobhan

    We tune in for the ads, that’s about it. Good luck with the 3-1.

    [Sorry to be off-topic with is, but do you have a recommendation for a wattage/plug converter for the UK. Hubby wants to take the Mac and I am crapping bullets about it…]

  4. Dylan Post author

    I guess I will support the Giants as it would be nice to see half of the city in a very good mood on Monday…but I can’t help but have a sneaking hope that the Patriots go unbeaten all season. To be honest though, it’s much more important that United win at Tottenham tomorrow…

    Grahame – that is karma, you realise??

    Melanie – to be honest, even I would probably prefer your party. I think the BBC are broadcasting the Super Bowl live in the UK this year for the first time, but I wouldn’t exactly be staying up for it…

    And Siobhan – you don’t need to worry about the Mac at all…as far as I’m aware, they’re all dual voltage (110-240V) – certainly I brought over both my Macs from the UK and they work fine here. I bought a couple of step up-step down transformers from Amazon, and they work really well. I’ll send you an email if you need more details. And you can buy plug converters really cheaply in any hardware store (or buy them directly – although at a higher price – from Apple). Hope that helps!

  5. Almost American

    Ah – the grid! Dear Husband bought a square the last time the Patriots were in the Super Bowl. He couldn’t care less about football, but they needed one more person to buy a square. At his workplace, they fill the grid, then draw numbers at random to label the rows and columns. (They claim that makes it not real gambling, because it’s a real gamble what numbers you get.)

    So your Giants 1, Patriots 3 box means that if at the end of any quarter the score is Giants 1, Patriots 3 (or ends in those numbers) you win. It is possible of course to win for more than one quarter. If you have the winning score at the end of the game, you get a bigger prize than for the other quarters. They didn’t ask DH to buy a square this year – I think they’re still mad that he won last year and didn’t even watch the game!

    Siobhan – check the specs for your Mac – it may be that all you need is an adaptor for the power plug. I’ve taken my Mac laptop to the UK before, and because it was one with a built-in smart power pack it automatically sensed the higher voltage and adapted. I have a bunch of Mac-head friends at http://www.bostonbbs.org and I bet someone there could tell you if all you need is an adaptor. (We talk about other things too, not just Macs, but they’re always the first people I turn to if I have a computer question.) If you want to visit over there, let me know and I can arrange a short-term guest membership so you can ask questions in as well as read the forums. (Disclaimer – I’m a long-term member and volunteer there!)

  6. Almost American

    Siobhan – forget contacting me – I just realised Dylan answered your question (and you can sign up for a free membership at the BostonBBS without my help anyway as they have a link up to do that now.)

  7. Siobhan

    Hi Dylan, I’d love the link. I’ve been trying to find some on amazon.com that have good (consistent) reviews without success. Any help I can get would be great!

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