KC finale (for now)

Less than 24 hours from now, I will be back in Russell and resuming my life as a small-town sportswriter, which is very good news.

My father just got released from KU Medical Center, a day earlier than planned. He and my mother are relaxing at the hotel near the hospital. My father needs the rest, because as is usual when you’re in a hospital, he got awakened at all hours of the night. I’ll never forget that happening to me when I was in the hospital in 2004 for pneumonia.

The trip to Overland Park last night was much needed. I stopped at The Cheesecake Factory for two slices of Kahlua cheesecake. I ate one last night and I’ll eat the other tonight, or I’ll take it back to Russell and refrigerate it for when I get back to Oberlin. I don’t think it would keep long enough for the drive to Norton tomorrow evening.

I got lost this morning leaving KU Med. I went east on 39th Street and ended up in Westport, the historic district on the Missouri side south of downtown. I finally made my way to Main Street, then to Ward Parkway. I got lost trying to find Shawnee Mission Parkway to return to Kansas, but fortunately, I ran into State Line Road, which took me to SMP. From there, I found Metcalf and went south to Bed Bath and Beyond, where I picked up another Tervis glass (Arizona Cardinals), plus some New Orleans food and drink I haven’t found in ages. I got some more Abita beer at Lukas Liquor for Liz, since she enjoyed it so much when I boutht it for her birthday.

I had to take a nap this afternoon in my hotel room. I was dead tired. I’m now back at Buffalo Wild Wings in Zona Rosa with Tori at the bar. Brittany is supposed to work tonight, so I’m waiting for her.

Super Bowl factoid: Today is the 20th anniversary of the only Super Bowl to be contested on January 29. It may be the worst Super Bowl ever. If not, it is second or third worst.

It was bad. Beyond bad. The Chargers, the AFC champion, got damn lucky to make it. They rallied from 21-6 down to beat Miami in the divisional round, then going to Pittsburgh and defeating a Steelers team which looked totally disinterested. It seems as if the Steelers felt they had done all they needed to do by crushing Cleveland (coached by Bill Belichick) the previous week.

The 49ers were back to being a juggernaut after failing to make the Super Bowl for four consecutive seasons, an eternity for the franchise in those days. Joe Montana was gone, and Steve Young finally had the starting quarterback job all to himself. He responded by posting the highest passer rating ever for a quarterback in a single season and winning the Most Valuable Player awards unanimously. Jerry Rice was still catching everything in sight. The defense was vastly improved, thanks to the free agent addition of Deion Sanders, who had labored for five seasons only mostly pitiful teams in Atlanta.

The 49ers didn’t look like world beaters in the first five weeks. They lost in week two at Kansas City, where Joe Montana quarterbacked the Chiefs to victory, and three weeks later, were eviscerated 40-8 at home by the Eagles. It got so bad for the 49ers that coach George Seifert pulled Young.

Instead of the season going south, the 49ers zoomed straight to the top.

They would not lose again until the regular season’s final week, when Seifert rested the starters in a meaningless game at Minnesota. The 49ers were unstoppable in the playoffs, routing a grossly outclassed Bears unit in the divisional round before releasing two years of pent-up frustration on the Cowboys, winning the NFC championship 38-28 in a game nowhere near as close as the final score.

Just hours after the Super Bowl matchup was set, the Las Vegas sports books made the 49ers anywhere from 13- to 18-point favorites. It should have been more. Way more. In fact, the Chargers should have been a larger underdog than Joe Namath’s Jets in Super Bowl III.

I knew the game would be awful before kickoff. Kathie Lee Gifford sang the national anthem. She was introduced by her husband, ABC Sports announcer Frank Gifford, and you could practically hear him drooling on the microphone as he introduced “my wife”.

Come to think of it, Kathie Lee was nowhere near the worst singer of the anthem at a Super Bowl. Not in the bottom 10. Christina Aguilera, of course, holds the bottom spot for botching the words before Super Bowl XLV, but I thought Alicia Keys’ version two years ago in New Orleans was pretty pitiful, too. And don’t get me started on Whitney Houston before Super Bowl XXV. I know so many people say it’s the greatest rendition of the national anthem ever, but I hate it. Just hate it. Every time someone plays it, I run to the restroom or otherwise cover my ears.

My favorite national anthem at a Super Bowl (at least those I watched)? Herb Alpert, Super Bowl XXII. Just a trumpet, no words. As for singers, Neil Diamond’s before Super Bowl XXI was great. Short and to the point.

As for the game, the Chargers should have called in a forfeit. It was butt ugly. The 49ers scored on a long touchdown pass from Young to Rice on the game’s third play, and the massacre in Miami was in full gear. FINAL: 49ers 49, Chargers 26.

I watched Super Bowl XXIX from my dilapidated dorm room at LSU. Fitting.

If I never see any highlights from Super Bowl XXIX again, it will be too soon. I try not to remember that game, or anything from 1995, which may have been the single worst year of my life.

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on January 29, 2015, in National Football League, Personal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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