Tag Archives: Super Bowl

Lost in translation

On a day like today, when the Super Bowl is the predominant topic of conversation at the watercoolers of American offices, I may as well walk around the city with a giant pink neon sign above my head that reads “I’m British, please ignore me”.

It’s not that I don’t understand what, erm, wide receivers and tight ends are. It’s just that nobody believes that I know what they are – or indeed, that I care. To be fair, they may well have a point on that second issue, but that doesn’t mean I’m not prepared to give it my best shot in the interests of community spirit.

Twice today I saw my fellow man’s excitement at the prospect of discussing “the greatest New York sporting triumph of the last twenty years” vanish into thin air when they suddenly realised that I’m not a natural-born fan of that game with the funny shaped balls.

Entering the office this morning, a few guys stood around reliving the final few moments of last night’s game. Back home, I would have quite happily barged my way into the conversation with talk of how Adebayor should have buried that last minute chance, or how Robinson had had a complete shocker with that cross from Mellberg. Here in New York, I simply received a sympathetic look that was almost certainly intended to convey something along the lines of “we’d love to talk to you about this historic sporting moment, but you were probably watching repeats of Fawlty Towers on BBC America while eating cucumber sandwiches”.

Later on in the day, I made my way downstairs in the liftelevator to grab a sandwich. The one man already in the elevator gave me a big smile, and said “What about those Giants, man?!” I was pretty sure my response was “Incredible, huh? Manning’s ability to avoid the Patriots blitz before passing to Tyree was a pivotal moment that changed the course of the game.” From his reaction to my British accent, I can only assume that I actually said “Who are the Giants?”.

Thankfully I’ve always been a fan of awkward silences.

Enough of this talk of gridiron though. If you want to talk to me about valiant against-the-odds sporting victories with an oval ball, talk to me about Wales defeating England in rugby’s Six Nations on Saturday.

Sadly, I’m not sure which one Americans are less likely to have heard of – rugby or Wales.

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.