Last Monday was the day America stops doing all the things America usually does to watch a gladiatorial sporting event of gargantuan proportions, done in that way only America can. Yes, it was Superbowl Day, the final game of the American football season, a game that only America plays. So last Monday I travelled, not to New Jersey where the game was being played, but to Ellerslie (which is like the New Jersey of Auckland) to join some fine gentlemen in watching this sporting spectacle.
For those who know nothing about American football (which is most people outside of America), it is a game played between two teams of about a million aside. Only 11 of these million people can be on the field at any given time but players are allowed to run on and off the field at any given time, in a seemingly random fashion but actually according to an algorithm provided by each team's super-computers, located in bunkers deep under the stadium.
In addition to the million players, several hundred thousand people loosely associated with each team are allowed to stand on the touchline. These non-players have such designations as Important Guy With Clipboard (and Headphones); Smiling and Dancing Women Who Are Inappropriately Dressed Given the Freezing Weather; Scary-looking Guys in Hoodies; and Dude Holding A Pole.
The two teams in the Superbowl this year were the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. Apparently the smart money was on the Broncos. As it turned out, this only showed how sometimes smart can be very stupid.
The first score of the game was something called a "safety", which is kind of like an own-goal but not as bad as an own-touchdown, which doesn't exist. A safety is worth two points, which I guess makes it the equivalent of a rugby own-conversion, which also doesn't exist. 2-0 Seahawks.
There are a lot of referees at the Superbowl. They all wear black and white stripes and blow whistles all at the same time, which means there are a lot of times when it looks kinda like a bunch of mimes, making shrill noises, running through a forest of orange and white trees wearing shiny Spandex pants.
At the end of the first quarter the score was 8-0 to the SeaShanties. Then Peyton Manning, the Denver quarterback who has a name like a law firm or a soap opera, did some stupid things by throwing the ball to the other team, and suddenly it was 22-0 SeaScouts and the Broncos were more like the Donkeys.
At half-time at the Superbowl, in an effort to get women to watch the game and to sell Pepsi, there is a half-time musical extravaganza. This year it was Bruno Mars, who danced like James Brown, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers who danced like, well, middle aged white guys trying to pretend they were much younger than they really are.
Meanwhile the gentlemen of Ellerslie, as is the tradition, ate hot dogs.
The Broncos kicked off the second half. A SeaCows player by the name of Percy, a name more suited to Thomas The Tank Engine, ran it all the way back for a touchdown to make it 29-0. Not the best start for the orange blokes, to go with their earlier bad start.
After that, in Ellerslie at least, interest in the Superbowl waned somewhat. There was talk of a Broncos comeback, but the SeaSlugs kept smashing them and making them drop the ball. Eventually, when they were losing 36-0 the orange horse people managed to do something right and they scored and after a two-point conversion, which is completely different from a normal conversion in that no one actually kicks the ball, the gap closed to 36-8.
This seemed to make the SeaSerpents angry so they scored again in the last quarter, to make it 43-8. I think by this time all the Broncos fans were taking advantage of Colorado's new laws regarding marijuana use to dull the pain. It is entirely possible many of the Broncos players were doing much the same, the way they were playing.
Eventually the game ended. Even though I may have dozed off during the last interminable
bit where the game keeps stopping for reasons known only to the game, I know this because when I awoke, the millions of people who had been on the sideline were on the field. The ones who were loosely associated with the SeaSalts were jumping up and down with joy. There were interviews with players who thanked God for giving them the power to smash the little horse people into the artificial turf.
Then the sporting spectacle was over and the gentlemen of Ellerslie thanked America the beautiful and returned to their everyday lives. Go SeaBiscuits, go!