Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Proof that XXI is Greater than LI

Thirty years ago, today, I was the proverbial cheese. 

From my dorm room on the fourth floor of Farrand Hall at the University of Colorado, Boulder, I watched the New York Giants play in their very first Super Bowl.  In Pasadena, California on that final Sunday of January, the Giants matched up against John Elway and the Denver Broncos, who were making their first trip to the Super Bowl since the "Orange Crush" debacle of the late 1970's, and whose journey to Pasadena had taken them through Cleveland, where "The Drive" had already attained infamy.  

In the room that I shared with Jay Bauer and Ed Knell, a small, intimate group of 35-40 friends and neighbors piled in to watch the Super Bowl with us.  Had we arranged seating in the room by allegiance, I would have been resigned to watching the action from the tiny sill of one of our two windows.  There were but two Giants fans in the room that afternoon.  One of them was me.  The other was the fellow who stared back at me in the bathroom mirror in the morning as I brushed my teeth.   

The Giants played dreadfully in the first half and were damn lucky to be down by only one point, 10-9, when the teams headed into their respective locker rooms.  Fortunately, in the second half, they came out as if Coach Parcells had handed out B-12 shots.  A one-point deficit transformed itself into a double-digit lead and, finally, a 39-20 victory, which was spearheaded by Super Bowl XXI MVP, Phil Simms.  History will show - I am constrained to admit - that Mr. Simms was far more gracious in victory than was I, spending the fourth quarter torturing the Broncos fans gathered in my room and, after the game, going door-to-door throughout Farrand Hall to torture the rest of them.  Of course, by game's end, only one of us (Simms or me) was sober.  Although it was three decades ago, I am reasonably confident that I was not the one. 

When the Giants won their second Super Bowl four years later, behind the relentless running of Ottis "O.J." Anderson, Simms watched from the sidelines, felled by an injury that occurred late in the season and forced him to cede his spot in the starting lineup to his backup and rival, Jeff Hostetler.  In four years, his Super Bowl stat line transformed from "MVP" to "DNP".  

But neither injury nor time has taken - or ever shall take - from him what transpired on the field of the Rose Bowl in Super Bowl XXI, on this very day, thirty years ago.  


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