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19 Jan 2012

Walkthrough: Feeling Old

by Mike Tanier

In a Bay Area Bedroom

JIM HARBAUGH: Mrrph ... toss ... grumph ... turn ... Numbers ninety, seventy-four, ninety-nine, seventy-five, fifty-two, ninety-six, and sixteen report as eligible for the home team. Yes. Yes...

MRS. HARBAUGH: Honey? Wake up. You were installing short-yardage packages in your sleep again.

JIM HARBAUGH: Never wake me from that dream again! Do you hear me? NEVER!


The thought of a Ravens-Giants Super Bowl makes me feel incredibly old. It must make Ray Lewis feel even older.

Super Bowl XXXV was impossibly long ago: January 28, 2001. A time when I was childless, had no writing career to speak of, and had dark brown hair and a 34 waist. Thinking about Super Bowl XXXV makes me feel ancient in a way thinking about Super Bowl XV does not. I was a kid eating meatballs from a TV tray in my grandmother’s living room and throwing epic tantrums during Super Bowl XV. Childhood is childhood; we all have one. I was a full-grown adult for Super Bowl XXXV, yet it was a decade and a lifestyle ago, and the only thing worse than gearing up to watch a rerun is gearing up to play in the rerun.

Super Bowl XXXV was arguably the worst Super Bowl ever, though that is a matter of preference. Many people single out Super Bowl V, a 16-13 Colts win over the Cowboys. Having watched the television footage of that game, I can verify that it was a snoozer, except 1) it was close, 2) it was on a par with most early 1970s football, which was defense-dominated and dull, and 3) one quarter of Johnny Unitas (he was hurt early in the game) beats four lifetimes of Trent Dilfer. Also, it was 41 years ago, and if I had clear memories of it, I would feel really, really old.

Super Bowl XXXV gave us Dilfer versus Kerry Collins and 440 yards of total offense. The Saints produced 499 yards of offense by themselves on Saturday, and they lost. I think. Super Bowl XXXV was 10-0 at halftime, but it did not feel close, because ten points against the Ravens back then was like ten goals in a World Cup soccer game. The Giants were cooked, and they spent the second half resting on a countertop while their juices redistributed.

Where were you during Super Bowl XXXV? Please don’t post on the message board that you were in high school, because you will make Ray Lewis and me feel old. (Actually, post away). Try to remember the details. You did not own an iAnything. You watched in low-def, maybe on a "projection screen" television that took up an entire room and delivered ghostly images of the Giants, though you couldn't tell since they were delivering ghostly images of themselves anyway. You didn’t come to Football Outsiders to kvetch, because we didn’t exist. But you may have dialed in to America Online, then found a favorite bulletin board somewhere to post your thoughts. Only quickly though, because you then had to shut down so you did not tie up the phone line.

Let me jog your memory: the halftime show was ‘N Sync, Britney Spears, Aerosmith, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly. Remember those abominable mash-ups of pop artists with one token classic rock act? Remember ‘N Sync? Justin Timberlake has gone from boy band member to highly respected actor-performer-comedian. Ray Lewis has gone from linebacker for the Ravens to linebacker for the Ravens. Where have we gone?

I keep bringing Lewis up because he made retirement noises, or anti-retirement noises, after the Texans game. In the preseason, he said he might retire if the Ravens win the Super Bowl. Now, he is having second thoughts. "Let me sum it up for all players: this is a one-time thing," Lewis said on the NFL Network. "We don’t get youth back, so there isn’t any coming back to this for me. If we go win the Super Bowl this year, what am I supposed to look at my team and say? Individually, ‘I have two, I’m done.’ Or do I look at my fellas and say, ‘Let’s scrap it up one more time, let’s see if we can make this run one more time.’ That’s all what the legacy is about: togetherness and to hoist that Lombardi with my boys. There is nothing I wouldn’t give up for that."

We don’t get youth back? Ouch. Only old people say and think that.

When Lewis talked about retirement in August, he mentioned that his son was a junior in high school and that he wanted to spend time with him. I really hate to give anyone bad news, especially someone like Ray Lewis, but ... too late. Ray Lewis III will soon be off to college, probably as a highly-recruited running back, and dad will have retired just in time to stand next to his boy at Signing Day, straighten the lapel on his prom tuxedo, help pack the SUV, and suffer from crippling empty nest syndrome. Lewis has other children, but Ray III was singled out as the impetus for retirement. Lewis should play five more seasons, then retire to help Ray III lay down the linoleum in the kitchen of that starter home.

Actually, this has the makings of a terrible sitcom. "Ray Lewis plays a retired football star who disguises himself as a high school senior so he can be closer to his teenage son." Even better: Lewis could dress in drag and pretend to be a lunch lady who dispenses wisdom and creamed corn. He needs a gay buddy, a smart-aleck precocious younger son, and a sexy wife who talks non-stop about her private parts. It could run for seven years.

The most important time for a father to be at home, in my very biased opinion, is when his kids are in the five-to-twelve range. That is the time when first peewee touchdowns are scored, when monkey bars are conquered, where lessons about self-confidence and self-discipline have some chance of sinking in. Lewis was hurt for much of 2002 and 2005, so he had a chance to be around the house for a few of his son’s most important formative years. Hopefully, he finished his three-hour rehabilitation assignments and hit the family room floor with the video game controller, or stalked the bleachers at biddy basketball, or watched SpongeBob until his eyes bugged out, then helped with Everyday Math homework until he realized that SpongeBob could design a better curriculum. If he didn’t, I would not trade places with Ray Lewis for anything, not his wealth, his fitness, or his ring.

Infancy is a close second in the fathering department: mom needs strong backup so she does not become a raging lunatic, and a man needs to clean a little poop for a year or two to reaffirm his lowly place in the cosmos. You are not the snarling general in an epic, never-ending gridiron war. You are the man holding his breath, head cocked sideways, gripping the legs of a wriggling mass of adorable non-cooperation and wondering whose bright idea the second helping of mac-and-cheese was. Toddlerhood is the best time for a father to be far, far away (for his mental health anyway, the kind probably needs him). A strapping 16-year-old? He knows you are traveling for business, dad. And next year, he will be traveling for business. And as a football player, you will be home for the prom.

It’s no surprise that feelings of fatherhood, legacy, and waning youth are all clashing in Baltimore this week. Lewis came before Tom Brady, before Patriots dominance, before social networking, before terror alerts, before iPods. He entered the NFL of John Elway, Dan Marino, and Troy Aikman as a rookie in 1996. He’s a holdover from another era of history, and to understand that you only have to look back on your own personal history. He has been on the job for lifetimes: his, his son’s, ours.

Retirement talk aside, Lewis’ Super Bowl hopes are pretty slim. He will probably scrap it up for another year or two. He’ll never get his youth back, but Lewis has done some remarkable things with encroaching middle age so far, and it will be interesting to see where he goes with it. Hopefully, not to his own sitcom.

First and Two

Twitter follower nrecca writes: "I could’ve sworn that I saw first-down and two at midfield in some game this season. Scouring NFL rules, is this possible?"

Why yes, it is. Offensive holding is a spot foul when it occurs downfield, so if a blocker holds 12 yards from the line of scrimmage, the ball is marked back 10 yards from the spot of the foul, creating the rare first-and-2.

This very thing happened in the first quarter of the Vikings-Raiders game in Week 11. On first down at the Raiders 35-yard line, the Vikings ran an end-around to Percy Harvin. Harvin found an alley and raced for a touchdown. But there was a flag: holding, Michael Jenkins. Jenkins takes a lot of ribbing as the girl with the nice personality when it comes to wide receivers: we say nice things about his blocking because he is not much good at anything else. Jenkins threw a very good downfield block on this play, knocking a defender to the turf. As noted a few weeks ago in an article about the Panthers receivers, referees sometimes interpret "the receiver properly and aggressively blocked" as "the receiver clearly must have done something illegal," and Jenkins’ tacky-at-best foul nullified a touchdown.

So the Vikings faced first-and-2. The color commentator called it a "waste" down, and the Vikings wasted it. They ran another end-around to Harvin! Michael Huff dumped him for a six-yard loss.

That was the only first-and-2 play this season, and in fact there were no plays of first down and one, three, or four that were not really first-and-goal plays. That’s 388 total plays, all of them at the goal line but the Harvin reverse. Once you move up to first-and-5, encroachment becomes an issue, and non-goal line plays become much, much more common.


Another Walkthrough, another old Chargers running back. Aaron Hernandez’s rushing performance on Saturday reminded me of Rod Bernstine, the last tight end in the NFL to switch more-or-less full time to running back.

Bernstine was a fullback until his junior year of college, when Texas A&M coach Jackie Sherrill moved him to tight end. Bernstine initially resisted the move, but later went on to lead the nation’s tight ends with 65 receptions.

The Chargers drafted Bernstine in 1987. These were the post-Don Coryell Chargers, but guys like Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow were still around, and coaches Al Saunders and Dan Henning used a lot of single-back, H-back sets. Bernstine was the H-back, catching ten passes as a rookie and 29 passes in 1988. Bernstine suffered a knee injury in 1988, and Henning wanted to find ways to get him on the field without making him block at the line of scrimmage. In 1989, Bernstine began motioning into the backfield more often on passing downs. It was a short step from there to a role as a committee back.

"I’m a tight end in disguise," Bernstine said after scoring a 27-yard touchdown against the Chiefs early in the 1989 season. It was not much of a disguise: Bernstine’s uniform number was 82. The play was a third-and-8 draw, which Jim McMahon may have called as an audible (sources hint at this but are not clear). The element of surprise played a role, but as San Diego Union-Tribune writer Wayne Lockwood pointed out in his game story: "It was the ninth time in three games Bernstine has carried on what is, essentially, the same play. Shouldn't people be catching on by now?"

Benstine ended the season with 15 carries, 21 receptions, and more knee injuries. Marion Butts was the Chargers’ featured runner, with Tim Spencer and Darrin Nelson in complementary roles. At 6-foot-3, 238 pounds, Bernstine was too small to be an in-line tight end. Bernstine was the subject of trade rumors during 1990 training camp, when the Chargers began limiting his reps and he appeared to be a player without a position. He openly fretted about feeling unwanted.

Bernstine then earned a preseason start against the Rams at running back. He rushed for 97 yards in a half, including a 67-yard touchdown that demonstrated his cutback ability. "The thing I saw him do was make tough runs that involved not just physical play, but make a great cutback run with a great move, go over the top with great athletic ability and catch the ball as a receiver," offensive coordinator Ted Tollner said. "He just expanded his abilities."

The Chargers replaced Nelson with Ronnie Harmon, a traditional third-down pass catcher, and replaced Spencer with Bernstine. Butts was the battering ram, Bernstine the slasher. Bernstine averaged 4.8 yards per carry for three seasons in a complementary role. When he signed with the Broncos in 1993, Bernstine’s uniform number finally changed to 32, and he led the Broncos in rushing with 816 yards. He added 44 receptions. The backfield tandem of Bernstine and Leonard Russell was called "Leonard Berntine."

That was Bernstine’s last good season. He tore his ACL in Week 3 of the 1993 season and played sparingly in 1994. His legacy, besides his generation-defining inclusion in Tecmo Super Bowl, is that he was the last tight end to switch to ball-carrying running back at the NFL level. At least, he is the last one I could find. The only nearly comparable player I could dig up was Leonard Weaver, a pure tight end in college who moved quickly to fullback early in his Seahawks career and became more of a committee back with the Eagles. But Weaver never had a uniform in the 80s, played parts of multiple seasons as a tight end/H-back, or led his team in rushing.

Is Aaron Hernandez taking the Bernstine route? If so, it is truly a road less traveled. The description of those early plays is intriguing: like Bernstine, Hernandez has started his rushing career by lining up in the backfield, presumably as a blocker, and taking "surprise" handoffs. He also generated a lot of big plays in that role. There was no master plan to move Bernstine: he was a guy without a clear position who showed he was a viable running back in training camp. Hernandez is stuck as the second-fiddle tight end for a team that gives players an opportunity to redefine their roles on the fly. Could he rush for 800 yards next year?

If so, Hernandez is in good company. Bernstine was a heck of an all-purpose performer. And if a player like him only comes around every 25 years or so, it is safe to call them truly unique.


In just a few days, I will be flying to Indianapolis to cover the Super Bowl for the New York Times!

I probably won’t be able to provide links here to every little post I write there. Be sure to check in at the Fifth Down Blog from time to time during Hype Week.

Some of you have suggested/threatened locations for a meet-up. Leave serious suggestions on the message board. I don’t know my exact schedule for that week, but I am guessing that I can sneak away from the Supersweatshop for a drink on Thursday night. Please, no cigar bars. If you will be in Indy and want to be involved in an activity of this sort, follow me on Twitter.

What about the week before the week before the Super Bowl? Why, I will be in Mobile, Alabama, covering my very first Senior Bowl! I will be filling in for another of your favorite writers, covering the game for the Shutdown Corner over at Yahoo! It is part of my takeover of all media. The Senior Bowl coverage will be traditional stuff –- who looks good, who looks bad, features –- with a dash or two of my trademark silliness.

Of course, Walkthrough will be right here, as it always is. Why do anything else in the next two weeks when you can stare at your monitor and read about football?

The Subconscious

I dreamed on Monday night that I was watching Tim Tebow and the Broncos play an unidentified team. It was third-and-long, and Tebow was sacked. The Broncos went for it on fourth-and-15 from their own 20-yard line. They ran a draw, or maybe a quarterback power play, and Tebow weaved for 18 yards. I leapt from a couch and cheered.

First of all, thank you, football writing career. I used to dream about women, you know.

Anyway, the folks on Twitter did their best to interpret my dream for me. Some wisenheimers went in the homoerotic direction. Some others suggested that Skip Bayless has invaded my dreams. Thankfully, no one suggested both.

Here’s what I think is going on. Fourth-down conversions represent the rational mind and the quest for objective truth through careful inquiry. Fourth-down conversions were a big deal when Mike Smith was demonstrating what a nasty waitress probability can be two weeks ago. They came up again when the Ravens were stuffed on fourth-and-goal from the one. Rational thought about fourth-down decisions doesn’t mean screaming "never punt" or adopting an impatient "tut, tut" stance when a team plays it safe. Rational thought does, at the very least, require us to understand that Smith and John Harbaugh weren’t making some stupid, inexcusable decision, particularly Harbaugh, who sent one of the best running backs in the NFL into battle behind one of the best offensive lines (and into one of the best front sevens, but still) in a situation where the marginal costs of failure were not too terrible.

This is the kind of discussion that we often have here, and I try to have elsewhere. It is also something that makes the eyes of the world glaze over. The huge part of my psyche that still calls itself "math teacher" perks up when it is time to discuss probabilities, and it likes to be challenged: tellingly, the situation in my dream was fourth-and-15 from the offensive 20-yard line, a circumstance in which all but the fourth-down hardliners would punt. The sleeping brain does not want fourth-and-inches from midfield.

Tebow, of course, represents irrationality. Whole books could be written about the sociological implications of the last three months, and fans of Skeptical Inquirer can apply their whole toolkit of logical and rhetorical weapons to debunking and critiquing the more outlandish claims and themes of Tebowmania. Like Mike Smith, Tebow challenged the laws of probability and had the house on the run for a while. Like the fourth-down argument, Tebow discussions require the good kind of skepticism: the open-minded, information-gathering kind, not the humbug kind. I wrote some uncharitable things about Tebow in the last two months, but I also did my best to analyze the player himself, to point out his tangible merits, and to find analogies that might actually help fans make informed judgments about his potential. The kid is not dowsing for water with a stick. He is more like holistic medicine: good when applying nutrition, fitness, and stress relief to the overall treatment of human health, not so good when trying to cure serious illnesses with backyard herbs,

So fourth down and Tebow collide as examples of measured rationality: phenomena I strive to think clearly about, for personal and professional reasons. With Tebow safely out of the playoffs and fourth-down conversions unlikely to be a major storyline this week (when Bill Belichick goes for it, everyone shrugs their shoulders and says he is Bill Belichick), my mind could re-compartmentalize these issues. Except for one little fact: the subconscious must be heard. It wants to cheer. It wants to be excited by a fascinating player making a great play on a daring call. It does not want to ponder the percentages of the move, or brace for a societal nonsense eruption if the play succeeds. It wants to have fun watching football, and to reset the parameters of real life. Family and friends are important. Football is a job, so it is somewhat important, but it is also recreation, and when it loses its power to entertain, then there’s a classroom somewhere with my name on it.

So there it is. Androids dream of electric sheep. Football Outsiders dream of scrambling quarterbacks on fourth-and-long. And may Ravens, Giants, Patriots and Niners fans dream of Super Bowl parades to come. Ray Lewis can dream about whatever he likes.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 19 Jan 2012

121 comments, Last at 21 Jan 2012, 6:31pm by dryheat


by DZ (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 11:40am

Mike, I'm in for sure. I'd love to meet up anytime, anywhere.


by John (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 12:41pm

I'm out, he dissed my cigar bar suggestion. Fooey on Tanier.

Hard to imagine what places will be not insanely crowded that week. Childrens Museum?

by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 3:25pm

I get kicked out of every Children's museum I try to drink at. Nate, you gotta have some suggestions.

by DZ (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 10:42pm

Oddly enough, I'm a terrible person to pick a place. I've never been much of a bar guy, and while I know most of the places downtown, I have no real opinion on them. There are decent places away from downtown, but that can be tough on people from out of town.

by John (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 12:02am

Ok, resuming some semblance of reality, I can name a fair number of places downtown, but I have no idea what the Super Bowl crowd will do.

There's a great historic blues bar, The Slippery Noodle, which has a lot of square footage and thus might conceivably have a corner to squeeze into.

There's a fine jazz club, the Chatterbox, but it's tiny and thus unlikely to be suitable.

Ike & Jonesy's generally draws an older crowd, fair bit of space.

Loughmiller's pub, Scotty's Brewhouse...

Actually, for a slightly upscale experience, the Rathskeller is a good choice. It's a bit of a walk from the circle at the heart of downtown, but not excessive by any means. The distance might make it slightly less insanely overcrowded.

That's my final answer: the Rathskeller is your best bet.

(If everything downtown is absolutely slammed, The Working Man's Friend is a friendly dive about a 5 minute drive from downtown.)

by Mike Tanier :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 12:22pm

This Rathskeller sounds promising.

by Solomon :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 9:07pm

As someone who lived in Indy for several years, I can vouch that the Rathskeller is excellent, especially if you like German food and beer.

by beargoggles :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 11:02pm

(still trying to make a joke about "slippery noodle" and "chatterbox"--it's not as easy as it seems)

by John (not verified) :: Sat, 01/21/2012 - 6:42am

I'd have entered the chatterbox, but the slippery noodle dampened her enthusiasm?

by PatsFan :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 11:43am

Having a wife who is a curriculum geek, I appreciated the the dig at "Everyday Math". Singapore Math, baby!

by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 12:32pm

Everyday Math is the greatest evil on earth.

(I have been battling thru game previews and feel like talking about anything on earth except football right now.)

by Independent George :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 3:25pm

Everyday Math is the greatest evil on earth.

I'm afraid I have to disagree here, Mike.

There's also Connected Math, TERC Investigations, and Mathland.

by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 3:26pm

Oh God, Connected sucked in unspeakable ways. But it did not go viral in every freaking elementary school in the country.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 4:08pm

What route would you choose to get some tutoring for a bright 10 year old, who gets a little phobic about math? My assistance tends to bring out more anxiety, regardless of my efforts to keep things low-key.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:36pm

I loved me some Number Munchers when I was a kid.

by Athelas :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 7:00pm

Fantasy football worked for my son.

by Mike Tanier :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 12:35pm

Tutoring a 10 year old...

I have a hard time with CJ some times, because I am far more demanding with him than I would be with any other kid, and he is more anxious with me than with some other adult. Sometimes getting another adult or some 16 year old involved is good.

Keep activities short. When drilling math facts, think in terms of 10-question, 3-minute drills. If you are doing carry-borrow or 2 digit math and the like, think in terms of 3-4 problems.

At 10 he might still be doing multiplication drills. Emphasize, once he knows 7 X 2, that he also knows 70 X 2, 7 X 20, 700 X 2, and that he is one fact away from knowing 70 X 20. It builds both confidence and large number sense. A lot of kids reach high school with no sense of how much easy mental math is out there.

If borrowing has become an issue, work on organizers, like lining the numerals up carefully, crossing out and replacing values neatly, and so on.

When you reach long division, embrace the reality that you probably haven't long divided a four digit number by a two digit number since the day you bought your first computer. Stress the one-digit divisors, then stress the estimation and number sense, then look for applications problems and know when to relent with el-calculatoro. The preceding advice got me screamed at during more department meetings than I care to count, but you can teach a dozen other things during the time a kid is fretting over 2875/67.

If area and perimeter are getting worked on in his school, hit them HARD. Use counting techniques and simple addition and multiplication. Use grid paper and let him count squares to find area if he has to. Start asking for questions like "how much carpet do I need" or "how much fence will it take" to differentiate the concepts. If there is one single divide between better and worse math learners in high school, it is not computation, it is understanding these basic physical concepts and definitions. And once a kid who struggles at math doesn't have a good visual, spacial, applied concept to fall back upon, he or she is screwed in terms of getting a solid footing on anything else.

OK, back to my current occupation.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 1:37pm

Thanks. I think I really need to get another party involved. I just trigger too much anxiety, and I think my daughter's teacher just can't give the individual attention she would benefit from right now. She's doing o.k., but I just can't seem to find the trigger that would allow her to visualize the process, which is what worked for me. Once I began to "see" numbers in my head, I barely needed paper any longer, and still often don't bother to use a calculator unless absolute precision is needed. I just would like this to be less stressful for her, by getting her to the point that she can visualize the components to the problem.

by Independent George :: Sat, 01/21/2012 - 12:38pm

You might want to look into teaching the bar models from Singapore Math. My mind was utterly blown the first time I encountered them - it's an incredibly elegant way to bridge from arithmetic into algebra.

by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 7:02pm

I used to watch a PBS show called "Math Squad" with my sister's kids. Bad puns, recycled vaudville jokes - it was great!

by V (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 8:29pm

The secret name in my bride's elementary school was "Everyday Cry", and according to her - it often lived up to that moniker.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:35pm

I submit to you, sir, one William Golding.

No author should provide Cliffs Notes to his own book.

by White Rose Duelist :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 9:56am

I don't suppose you have an in with anyone who could get Square One TV onto DVD?

by Athelas :: Sat, 01/21/2012 - 9:23am

There do seem to be a number of clips, including Mathnet, on youtube.
That was a show I could actually enjoy watching with my children.

by thejoshbaker :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 11:52am

Two things: Wouldn't the offensive holding penalty occur 18 yards from the LOS, not 12?

And I was in middle school for Super Bowl XXXV, so I'm assuming I was at my church's middle school Super Bowl party. Clearly was very memorable.

by Guido Merkens :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 11:54am

For Super Bowl XXXV, I was in Montreal, having taken a trip north of the border with some friends from college during our week between semesters (we went for the drinking, not for the deux-deux-deux). We watched the game in a bar with a bunch of hilarious French-Canadians who didn't know much about football. Since one of my friends was from New York, the locals decided that they were Ravens fans so that they could talk smack to him.

When the Giants returned a kickoff for a TD to make it 17-7, my friend announced that they were coming back and brought down the house. It was obvious even to these non-football-fans that the Giants didn't stand a chance (confirmed seconds later by Jermaine Lewis returning the ensuing kickoff for a TD).

by David Mazzotta :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 12:08pm

I'm 51. Super Bowl XXXV happened just recently.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:08pm

I'm 55 and feel much the same way. I think I now hate Tanier for reminding me of just how old I am.

by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 6:35pm

Probably the same way I hate my knees for reminding me how old I am.

by Shattenjager :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 12:14pm

I would have been a sophomore in high school for Super Bowl XXXV. I did not watch it. I believe that was one of the times when we could not afford television service, and one of the houses we lived in where we couldn't get broadcast. On a Sunday night in high school I was in all probability reading. I think that was even be the year when I got my Shakespeare anthology, which would mean I was probably reading that. Having written that, I'm glad I've never tried to claim not to be a geek.

I remember watching Bernstine. In '94, I have a dim memory of the few Wade Phillips defenders blaming the "nightmare season" (They actually went 7-9 and had a 7-2 stretch in the middle of the season 20th in DVOA at -8.9%. Nowhere near as bad as I remember people acting like it was.) on his injury, but I was 9 years old, so I don't know how accurate that is.

Hooray for mentioning Skeptical Inquirer. Boo for praising "holistic medicine."

by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 12:31pm

That wasn't praise! It was just recognition that the basic argument for including nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle adjustments under the same umbrella as medication and surgery makes a lot of sense for the segment of our society that looks to pills to solve everything. I am at the "walk 10 miles per week to alleviate muscle stiffness and stress" stage, not the "use shark fins and fresh garlic to cure your compound fracture" stage!

by dryheat :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 1:53pm

But...but...but....when combined with a healthy diet, an exercise regimen, and proper rest, those pills have been clinically proven to work!

I'm in Tanier's cohort, so it's not surprising my SB experience that year was pretty much nailed in the Walkthrough.

It was odd in that even before the game started, I couldn't get up for it. I had it on in my townhouse (first home I owned!) in Phoenix, but I don't recall paying much attention to it. Wifeless, childless, and for some reason which seems unfathomable to me now, I didn't go to a bar or friend's house to watch it. Perhaps I was ill or unusually poor or in a spectacularly bad mood. I "watched" it alone on my ~21 inch, non-cable-equipped, TV with a built in VCR. I remember wondering (I still am) when the NFL identified 11-year-old girls as its core audience, with a halftime show featuring N'Sync. Being Phoenix in the winter time, I do remember grilling and eating on my patio during halftime. I don't remember whether or not I bothered going back inside.

by DaveP :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:25pm

> It was odd in that even before the game started, I couldn't get up for it.

There's a holistic remedy for that.

by dryheat :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 3:50pm

I think my indifference still would have won out. It's not like this was SB XXXVI, when I was very close to having to see a doctor 4 hours after Vinatieri's kick.

by Shattenjager :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:07pm

Part of the problem here is that you're using a different definition of "holistic" than I would. Everything you're talking about (At least nutrition and fitness, anyway. I have no idea what "lifestyle adjustments" means other than promoting religion, which I'm doubting is what you mean.) is already within the category "medicine." I've never once been to a doctor without being told that I need to eat better and exercise more--those are basic medical tenets. No appeal to "holistic medicine" is necessary for that.

From the American Holistic Medical Association: "Holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses care of the whole person - body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and complementary therapies to promote optimal health, and prevent and treat disease by addressing contributing factors. In practice, this means that each person is seen as a unique individual, rather than an example of a particular disease. Disease is understood to be the result of physical, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental imbalance. Healing, therefore, takes place naturally when these aspects of life are brought into proper balance. The role of the practitioner is as guide, mentor and role model; the patient must do the work - changing lifestyle, beliefs and old habits in order to facilitate healing. All appropriate methods may be used, from medication to meditation."
This is the definition I understand when I see the phrase "holistic medicine." It includes SCAM (Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicine) alongside traditional medicine (which, I repeat, includes diet and exercise).
To quote my favorite comedian, Tim Minchin, "Alternative medicine is by definition either not proved to work or proved not to work. You know what they call alternative medicine that's proved to work? Medicine." When something in that arena is proven to work (for example, willow bark), it becomes medicine (aspirin) and is no longer "alternative." "Holistic" medicine is thus no longer necessary to include it within the category "medicine." Adding the word "holistic" only serves to ad SCAM (homeopathy, acupuncture, reiki, energy therapy, chiropractic, etc.) to legitimate therapies.

The other problem is that what you're talking about in this post is naturopathy, not "holistic medicine." Here's part of the definition of naturopathy from the Skeptic's Dictionary*:
"Naturopathy is a system of therapy and treatment which relies exclusively on natural remedies, such as sunlight, air, water, supplemented with diet and therapies such as massage. However, some naturopaths have been known to prescribe such unnatural treatments as colon hydrotherapy for such diseases as asthma and arthritis.
Naturopathy is based on the belief that the body is self-healing. The body will repair itself and recover from illness spontaneously if it is in a healthy environment. Naturopaths have many remedies and recommendations for creating a healthy environment so the body can spontaneously heal itself."
As you can see, naturopathy, through relying on natural cures as a nostrum, is actually fundamentally opposed to "holistic medicine," which integrates SCAM like "natural cures" with medicine. Naturopathy is what you're arguing against by saying "I am . . . not [at] the 'use shark fins and fresh garlic to cure your compound fracture' stage."

What you're actually doing in your original statement is creating a straw man version of medicine that doesn't believe that diet and exercise matter. You then attribute diet and exercise to "holistic medicine" as though "holistic healers" invented it.
I'm betting, from your response in the comments, that you did not actually mean to promote SCAM, but you're helping them out by feeding into their claims that doctors are too stupid to see that diet and exercise are important.

*I will note that it does also include the following: "Much of the advice of naturopaths is sound: exercise, quit smoking, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, practice good nutrition. Claims that these and practices such as colonic irrigation or coffee enemas "detoxify" the body or enhance the immune system or promote "homeostasis," "harmony," "balance," "vitality," and the like are exaggerated and not backed up by sound research."

by Noah Arkadia :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 1:16pm

My definition of holistic is: "not created by the same system that created all of the problems which we now need healing from". You stick to traditional medicine if it works for you. If you ever get fed up, you at least know which is the way you've never tried.

We are number one. All others are number two, or lower.

by beargoggles :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 11:13pm

I'm a doctor, and I would include in holistic the idea that treating your mental state is going to help a lot of your physical symptoms and even medical problems. This can include mediation and other stress reduction techniques, that are not traditional medicine, but not quackery. It's not going to shrink your tumor in half, but can have a ton of benefits for all the ailments that the modern lifestyle creates. Legitimate medical organizations are starting to accept this and research it.

Beyond that, I agree with you. But the way you descibe "naturopathy" is much scarier to me than "holistic"

by PaddyPat :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:58pm

I'm gonna have to jump in here about holistic medicine, Mike. I love your stuff. You make me laugh at my computer screen, and that almost never happens. But ayurvedic techniques, combining folk remedy herbs, amino acids, and a healthy dose of hormones actually have a very rich research foundation that often dwarfs the efficacy in clear clinical trials of pharmaceutical "mainstream" drugs. You're simply proliferating ignorant bias in your commentary here. The reason that homeopathy has such a bad name is because herbal remedies can't be patented, hence there's little profit potential in them for major corporations and much motivation to dissuade doctors and people generally from taking them seriously. Check out the literature though. You'll find that Maitake mushrooms, for example, demonstrate better long-term recovery outcomes for many types of cancer than do chemotherapy drugs.

by Mike Y :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 6:25pm

^^^ LOL Paddy, that's a bunch of crap. And nothing prevents herbal remedies from being patented if there is any sort of mixture involved.

by Shattenjager :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 6:28pm

Homeopathy also has nothing to do with herbs.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 10:50am

The efficacy of a treatment in homeopathic theory increases as its dilution increases.

As such, the logical conclusion is that the most effective homeopathic treatment is to not use homeopathy at all.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 6:44pm

I sense the beginning of years-long irrational thread. Let the invective start!

by Athelas :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 7:06pm

Everything is improved with a little xkcd:

by Dr. Mooch :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 4:45am

Check out the literature though. You'll find that Maitake mushrooms, for example, demonstrate better long-term recovery outcomes for many types of cancer than do chemotherapy drugs.

I thought I might do just that. A search of medical literature for the term 'maitake', including publications specifically for CAM and alternative medicine, yields 224 references. None of them provide evidence for any efficacy in the treatment of cancer.

by MCS :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 12:04pm

Many mushrooms enhance your body's natural immune system. By doing that, it logically follows that tumor growth could be slowed and healthy cells could be protected.

Anecdotal evidence: I have had a recurrance of Melanoma. It took 6 years for recurrance to occur (normal recurrance for my type and stage of cancer is 2 years). The recurrent tumor was loaded with dead cancer cells. The doctors believe that the recurrence is due to a missed cancer cell from the original surgery and what I was doing helped delay the recurrence. I enhanced my diet with green tea, mushrooms and lots of anti-oxidents.

If you are relying on this natural approach to cure you of cancer or completely protect you from cancer, I think you are being foolish. However, I do think there are definite benefits to a diet that maximizes anti-oxidents while minimizing gluten and GMOs.

There have been ties shown between a gluten allergy and some forms of cancer. I think I have a minor gluten allergy as I feel better when I don't eat nearly as much of it. I recommend you all try it and maybe you'll feel better and more energized.

by dbostedo :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 2:22pm

There's apparently some research going on. If you check this page on cancer.org under the "What is the evidence?" section, you'll see details of the studies that are going on. Previous ones have been promising but inconclusive.

That being said, this looks like another case where, if something that's "alternative medicine" actually works, it will just become "medicine".

by starzero :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 12:42pm

i thought i had a clear memory of superbowl xxxv: playing board games with friends and the game on in the background, but that memory is from 2002--as a colts fan i would have been annoyed with the ending but i forget now. i must not have watched xxxv because i was eight months out of college, living in rural ohio without tv reception, and still too broke to get cable.

hail damage

by Junior :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 12:50pm

I was starting my last semester at college and watched the Super Bowl at a friend's house. Got into an argument with my friend's wife whether Jamal Lewis scored a TD or not in the second half. I don't remember who's side who was on, but I remember her screaming at me while the rest of the dozen people sat aghast that she took it so seriously.

This led to a screaming match between the loving couple that directly led to their divorce 9 months later.

Nowadays, when my wife and I disagree on a call, I keep my mouth shut.

by rfh1001 :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 1:02pm

Since SB XXXV: same hockey club, different back (field hockey, UK). It does seem a long time ago, but I was old-ish for a proper hockey player then and I'm very old for one now (38). While I can identify with Ray Lewis, the differences are probably as significant as the similarities.

by Jim C. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 1:06pm

Funny how these threads tie together. I watched SB XXXV with my wife and kids (we live in Baltimore, so of course we loved every moment). Our youngest had just turned 13. That game was one of the last of our family events before she disappeared down the rabbit hole of adolescence. The good news is that she eventually came back out, none the worse for wear, like most kids do. So take heart Mike, Ray and all you other parents of teenagers: it gets good again.

by mansteel (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 1:13pm

Regarding SB XXXV: I was there, unfortunately. Just boring and depressing. On the plus side I got to meet Strahan and see Angie Harmon (Mrs. Jason Sehorn) up close at a party after the game. She's better-looking in person. Strahan is about the same.

For those of you who haven't been to both, the game experience at a home playoff is 1000 times better than a SB. At the SB it seemed like 1/4 fans were Giants fans, 1/4 were Ravens fans (or Bills fans 10 yrs prior) and 1/2 were posers who didn't deserve to be there. The atmosphere was tepid at best, whereas for a home playoff game everyone in the stadium is completely jacked up and crazy loud and when something good happens the place is electric.

by milleg2 :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 1:30pm

This might actually be my first post here.

Super Bowl XXXV was a very very hard game to watch as a lifelong Giants fan. In fact it's my #1 most despised game

Was a senior in college, watched it with a bunch of friends at our apartment. One friend brought over a couple people who barely watched any football (or any sports) ever. Watching your team get demolished in the Super Bowl with people who don't give a crap is one of the most frustrating and socially awkward things ever. It also doesn't help that of those also present who actually care about football, no one had any real rooting interest besides me.

So basically, picture your typical super bowl party during a blowout where most people don't care anymore and are basically just socializing and/or making fun of the losing team.

And then there's me, periodically yelling at Jason Sehorn and Kerry Collins, complainging about a holding call that nullified an Armstead int return, getting too excited after the kickoff return for td, then cursing incessantly for five minutes after the subsequent kickoff return for td.

In short, I'm the guy ruining everyone else's pleasant evening of beer drinking and commercial watching. I'm too serious about football, I should learn to chill. Whatever. I no longer attend super bowl parties. That game was a big reason why.

Outside the social awkwardness I still think that game is my worst memory as a Giants fan. Worse than last year's eagles game or the niners playoff game in '02 or the Flipper Anderson game. Losing a super bowl game for some reason just feels worse to me.

by CathyW :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 1:31pm

SB XXXV - I had a 6 month old baby then who had an unreasonable prejudice against sleeping through the night, so any memories I have from the first year of his life are pretty hazy. I seem to remember having the game on TV in the background while I dozed on the couch. I couldn't tell you much, if anything, about what happened.

Fortunately for everyone, he eventually stopped waking up 50 times a night and is now a happy, smart, well-adjusted 11 year old middle schooler (well, as well-adjusted as any middle schooler can be, what with all those crazy hormones raging around).

by drobviousso :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 1:37pm

I had no interest in watching the Ravens [redacted] the Giants, as a Steelers fan. I also had a robotics project that took up about 40 hours a week on top of the normal senior level engineering course load. I spent it the way I spent all my weekends. Hopped up on cheap coffee and, most likely, hot wings, trying to get 3 robots, 2 cutting machines, and a PLC to turn brass blocks into candlesticks.

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:04pm

It is a bugger when all they want to do is make ashtrays isn't it?

by Adam (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 1:40pm

SB XXXV was my senior year of college. I went back up to school 2 days before the NFC CG, and spent a glorious afternoon at the Distillery in Rochester, NY watching my Giants pummel the Vikings**. For the SB my fraternity all got together in our house to watch the game on our 65 inch rear-projection TV (vintage the late 80s)- we even set up stadium seating using folding tables, couches, and various other pieces of crap lying around. A few key memories:

1) My girlfriend at the time was from Delaware, and her family were Eagles fans. So of course she decides to root for the Ravens- this leads all of the non-Giants fans of the house to root for the Ravens as well.
2) One of our very good friends/frat brother who graduated a year earlier was at the game and was shown on TV for literally 2 seconds before kick-off (most people had cell phones, but texting was not wide spread so we couldn't tell him until after the game!)
3) I had accepted a job working for Andersen Consulting in the fall. The consulting firm had a breakup with the accounting firm (Arthur Andersen) and thus had to change their name and rebrand- those chose SB XXXV to play no less than 47,000 commercials. I got a lot of shit for that from the house b/c the commercials started to get annoying.

Of course on top of everything the Giants got destroyed.

**That NFC CG will always be memorable to me b/c one of my best friends and fraternity brothers (a Jets fan) decided he was so all-in on the Vikings beating the Giants, that he maxed out a couple of credit cards and laid down an $1100 bet for the Vikes to cover a very large line (it was either 9.5 or 11.5 points). He arrived at the bar sometime during the second half looking whiter than a sheet- we proceeded to pump him full of beer and made sure he got home safely. It took a while for him to pay down the bet and live it down among our friends!

by Adam (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 1:42pm

For those who don't know, Andersen Consulting became Accenture. These were the ads before we paid $20M to Tiger Woods....

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:02pm

Perhaps the dream is an example of your brain solving a question that you flitted through your head earlier in the day, 'Will Tebow succeed in the NFL?'. Your brain has determined that installing him under centre is a bold move that you can rationalise with logic and will nearly work but is determined to end in failure.

I can't remember watching much of that superbowl. I'd won forty quid in a couple of poker games earlier in the evening and by the time the game kicked off (11pm-ish GMT) I was trounced. I can vaguely remember trying to convince my football neophyte chums that defensive football was as much fun to watch as great offenses. Messy.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:12pm

I also think the dream had to do with will Tebow succeed in the NFL. However, I interpreted it as Tebow will continue to have baffling games where he will suck and then do something spectacular, thereby continuing the Tebow controversy for several years. Tanier was not actually celebrating Tebow's success. He was celebrating that the Tebow controversy will continue after this year, giving Tanier all kinds of material for future columns to further his own career.

by Chris Smart (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:08pm

That was one great Walkthrough - even without a single diagram. Your discourse on the stages of child-rearing from the Dad's perspective in "RayTirement" was beautifully done - I'll carry that with me.

The comparison between SB XXXV versus XV really hit home too.


by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:11pm

I watched XXXV as I was unpacking boxes and moving around furniture, since we had just moved. Of course, I had just watched the Giants demolish the Vikings 42-0 in the worst Conference Championship Game in history, and I was sick, sick, sick, of Vikings teams that were soft as an infant's full diaper on defense, while covering up that softness with long heaves in the general direction of Randy Moss. I thus wanted the Giants to be utterly crushed, not because they embarassed the Vikings, but to drive home, to any Viking fan, or anyone in Viking management, that the Vikings' roster sucked.

I thus enjoyed the game a lot, although my favorite moment came on the Giants' one highlight, when Trent Dilfer handed the G-men a touchdown. I thought Brian Billick might have a stroke, and you just knew he had spent the entire time of preparation tellin' ol' Trent that the Giants' offense was incapable of scoring on Ray Lewis and company, so as long Trent did not do anything exceedingly dumb, there was no way the game could be competitive. Ol' Trent, of course, didn't listen, and seeing Billick's eyeballs protrude from their sockets, like a Loony Tunes character's, was comedy gold.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:25pm

Now I check the boxscore, and see that Dilfer didn't have an int, and the Giants scored their td on a kick return. I guess I wasn't watching too closely.

Somebody help me out. What the hell did Dilfer do that made Billick go crazy? Just be Trent Dilfer?

by Travis :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:31pm

Up 7-0 in the 2nd quarter, Dilfer threw a pick-6 to Jessie Armstead that was nullified by a questionable holding call on Keith Hamilton. Dilfer also overthrew an open Brandon Stokley at least once.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:32pm

OK, I'm not completely demented. I knew I remembered a Giant grabbing a Dilfer Special, and running it into the end zone, followed by Mt. Billick going all pyroclastic.

by Eddo :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:35pm

He did throw a terrible interception that was returned for a touchdown; but it was called back on a defensive holding penalty.

by Junior :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 3:03pm

"I had just watched the Giants demolish the Vikings 42-0 in the worst Conference Championship Game in history"

Years ago, a buddy of mine that worked in radio at that time in NJ told me that the Giants had tapped into the Vikings headset communications. John Fox would listen to Min's play call and relay that to the sidelines, so the Giants knew what all of Min's play calls were before the snap. I've never heard this discussed anywhere since, not sure if this has any legitimacy.

Anyone know if there is any truth to this or is it total BS?

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 3:22pm

This seems as likely as the Queen of England and Walt Disney being part of centuries-long conspiracy to fix the results of "American Idol"

The Vikings were a bad football team by the end of the year, that would not return to mediocrity until 2003, and were especially bad outdoors. Their most talented offensive player was a nortorious quitter under adversity, and the defense by the end of the year guaranteed adversity. I had no hope that they would be able to compete in the Meadowlands, which is why I knew they were finished when they were blown out in the last three regular season games, and thus lost home field advantage.

by MCS :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 4:46pm

You dare to challenge the Pentaverate?


by Travis :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 3:23pm

A Toronto Globe & Mail columnist reported that rumor sometime after the game, as recounted in this Reuters article. The NFL quickly dismissed the allegation, and nothing further became of it.

Three things make me think it was unlikely: 1) the Giants were up 14-0 before the Vikings' offense even touched the ball; 2) John Fox was on the Giants sideline, not in the booth; and 3) Culpepper and Matt Birk were tipping off the snap on every play.

by Independent George :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 3:29pm

Culpepper and Matt Birk were tipping off the snap on every play.

I never knew that, but it doesn't surprise me. Strahan also figured out a tell in John Runyan so that the line always knew whether the Eagles were going to run or pass.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 3:58pm

I'd forgotten that, but again it is hard to overstate how bad the Vikings defense was by the end of the year.

by Marko :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:38pm

That Giants-Vikings game was 41-0, not 42-0. So it wasn't quite as bad as you remembered.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:40pm


by Hector B (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:17pm

SB XXXV: Giants were coming from pasting the Vikes with a pass-heavy first-half, and the Ravens had upset the Raiders after Tony Freakin’ Sieragusa slammed Rich Gannon like Nero jumped on Poppaea. The big story was that the Giants gameplan had been faxed (faxed!) to Kerry Collins. Fly patterns on thermal paper; I hope somebody remembered to photocopy it for posterity. The Ravens’ gameplan, I assume, was delivered stuffed inside dead crocodiles. As to the game itself, I mostly remember seething at the sight of Goose and Ray Lewis. God that team was insufferable.

by Hurt Bones :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:27pm

SB XXXV: I was in Baltimore at a party with friends and family in one of those generic apartment complexes. A great party. Everyone was a Ravens fan so the mood was jovial to say the least.

This Walkthrough reminded me of another moment, September 1, 1996, Ray Lewis's first game and the day the NFL returned to Baltimore, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. The weather was beautiful. Memorial Stadium was packed. I was 32 and a group of us had gotten season tickets. We were former CFL season ticket holders.

I lived about a mile from the stadium and we tailgated at my place then walked over. I miss the NFL starting on Labor Day weekend. You could celebrate the beginning of the season with a little more zest knowing you had off the next day. Our seats were about halfway up in Section 31 (the right field upper deck).

They trotted out 40 old Baltimore Colts (Unitas, Moore, Mackey, Donovan, Bert Jones etc.). Ernest Byner scored in the 4th to give the Ravens the win. Byner said afterwards "I felt like a rookie today. I could hardly sit down before the game. I even went to a pep rally last night. First time I did that in 15 years—at least."

I was caught up in the excitement of the crowd, but you couldn't help noticing this rookie flying around on defense always near the ball even picking off Billy Joe Hobert. Ogden had gotten a whole lot more hype as the #4 pick, but Ray had the better debut. Seems like a lifetime ago, I mean Albert Lewis had a sack of Vinny in that game and he's 51 now. It's been 16 years, I'm older. Ray's older, but that was a beautiful afternoon.

by wr (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 3:15pm

The first SB I remember clearly is 7. Like 35, it was obvious the Redskins had no hope, even with the Garo Yepremian gaffe.

by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 3:35pm

I was taking a weekend off from a job with too-long-hours, still not quite able to believe the dot-com bubble was over and done.

A few of my friends made it. That seems to be common -- here in the Bay Area, most groups of friends who are of a certain age and certain technical inclination will have a few semi-retired millionaires. It makes for an interesting variety in get-togethers. One month we're meeting at someone's little 1500-square-foot Craftsman in Oakland, the next at someone's 3000 square-foot condo with the ceiling-to-floor glass walls overlooking Sausalito Bay.

by rich316 :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 3:59pm

I was an insufferable know-it-all of a 7th grader in Catholic School in upstate New York, and didn't really know what football was. I knew there was some sport that was called football, and for that reason we had to call the game that I played soccer, and for that reason I had a vague hatred of it.

by tuluse :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 4:05pm

SB XXXV: Sorry Mike, I was in high school, I was a freshman even. I don't remember the game, but oddly I do remember the half-time lineup, but I don't remember the actual show either. I'm pretty sure I was still depressed over the Bears getting pasted by the Eagles. I'm surprised I still don't have nightmares over McNabb scrambling around for what seemed like 30 seconds and then finding some crappy receiver wide open.

I actually rewatched that game more recently, and it really should have been a warning sign that Warrick Holdman wasn't very good. I'm not sure what the coaches emphasized for the past two weeks, but I have a fairly good idea that when facing a young McNabb, keeping contain is probably one of their points. I'm further pretty sure that doesn't involve letting him beat you to the outside and then falling down trying to make the tackle.

by Eddo :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:36pm

The Bears loss to the Eagles was the following year (the 2001 season).

by Marko :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:41pm

Whenever I see a reference, to Warrick Holdman, my Pavlovian response is "Angelo didn't check the box."

by ChrisFromNJ :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 4:28pm

Sorry, Mike and Ray, I was in high school during Super Bowl XXXV. Watched the game at home with my parents. Pretty boring, and pretty depressing given the absolute drubbing we got. Though it wasn't the worst moment in my lifetime as a Giants fan by a long shot: the playoff collapses against the Vikings in 1997 and San Fran in 2002 trump this game by a mile. Yes, the Giants were utterly pantsed on the biggest stage, on the losing end of one of the few bad Super Bowls we've seen recently, but hey at least we got to the Super Bowl in the first place. And it's not like we let certain victory slip from our grasp.

Super Bowl XXV... now that's a different story. Though again I watched at home with the parents. I was a wee little kid, barely old enough to understand football (it's the first season I remember following, in fact!). We had just shocked the 49ers in the conference championships, up against a fearsome Bills offense that was supposed to roll over us, and I was running around the room all game, jumping up and down behind the couch when Wide Right came, having experience of nothing but pure joy. I was five years old, and I was in Arcadia.

by armchair journe... :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 9:52pm

XXV was the first superbowl I remember as well. I was 11. Grandma, the immigrant Greek from Astoria, bought me a celebratory t-shirt.


by BT Slim (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 4:35pm

Life-long Baltimorean, rabid Ravens fan. I remember as far back as SB III as a 9-yr-old (and the '69 WS and Bullets-Knicks), so I defer to no New Yorker in my capacity for sports-related anguish.

For the weekend of SB XXXV, I had a long-planned biz trip to Cal, and my wife was going along. Watched the game, just the two of us, in our hotel suite in Palm Springs, renewed our vows (as it were) at halftime, rejoiced in the outcome, and then went down to the hotel bar in our Ravens togs to celebrate further, and no one there seemed to realize that Baltimore had even played. Best SB ever.

BTW, when Steeler fans brag about 6 SB wins, I like to point out that Baltimore has just one NFL championship fewer: '58, '59, '68, '70, and '00. True, we lost SB III, but that was the last pre-merger SB, so the Baltimore Colts, champions of the NFL, lost to the AFL champions, thus becoming the only NFL champ not to win their final game of the season. Great trivia question.

by Travis :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:00pm

The merger didn't take place until 1970, so the 1969 Vikings, losers of Super Bowl IV, also were NFL champions.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:05pm

Nope, the merger was not finalized until after the '69 season, which means the Vikings are the only NFL champ to not win their final game. We Vikings fans demand that our favorite team's peculiar form of futility be recognized!

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:49pm

Not true.

The 1931 Packers and 1968 Colts lost their last game.

The 1921 Staleys, 1926 Frankfort Yellowjackets*, 1928 Providence Steamrollers, tied their last game.

The 1930 Packers ended the season with a loss and a tie.

*The legitimate champs, the Maroons, did win their last game.

Back when the NFL was more or less a round-robin, losses and ties were common ways to end the season.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:51pm


by HNYGDL (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 10:11pm

If you're counting total championships, you then have to look at the Packers (13 titles), the Bears (9), and Giants (7) are all teams that have won more total championships than the city of Baltimore.

Also, the Colts are NOT the only NFL champ to lose their last game of the season. The NFL and AFL only became truly ONE league in the 1970 season, which means the 1969 season was the last separate NFL and AFL year. That season the Vikings were the NFL champ and heavily favored to beat the AFL's Chiefs, but the Chiefs won, making it two consecutive years that the AFL had upset the NFL. After that year the AFL joined the NFL, which split into two conferences, the NFC and AFC. Three NFL teams, the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Baltimore Colts all switched to the AFC to even out the conferences.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 10:55am

The city of Chicago has 11 championships, The Bears (+Staleys) have 9 and the Cardinals have 2.

by TomC :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 4:59pm

I watched Super Bowl XXXV via satellite at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. It was boring there, too.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:06pm

Absent an astronaut posting, we have a winner.

by armchair journe... :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 9:54pm


by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:14pm

Well, most anything would be boring when you could go out and play with the penguins in high-summer.

by Jerry :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 5:54am

I thought I did well to watch at midnight in Paris (albeit through snow on a premium channel), but you have me beat. I did turn it off and go to sleep before the game ended.

by Boots Day :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:08pm

Super Bowl XXXV was the first Super Bowl I ever watched with my son, who was four years old at the time. I remember nothing about the game (except the called-back Jessie Armstead pick six), but I remember how excited he was to be watching the Super Bowl with his dad.

by mawbrew :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:11pm

I remember watching SB XXXV at home with my family. I don't remember much of the game itself, but do remember my feeling afterward. I remember thinking how bizarre it was that Ray Lewis was celebrating and being celebrated a year after his involvement in the death in Atlanta. It seemed unbelievable then and even after all this time it still amazes me.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:42pm

Did some drinking. Enjoged Ravebs slapping Giants silly. Sick thing becuauaus jjust saw Ravens beat Raiders but Giants fruad team. Maube worst SB tesm ever. Kneq game would be roite. Thoight Ravwna would wim 20-0. Picked p. Boulware to be MVP. My father picked R. Lewis.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:50pm

There is a zen-like purity in the first sentence having no mispellings or grammatical errors. RJ is really on an astral plane.

by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 6:45pm

Nah, RJ just re-read the first sentence and decided to do some more drinking before he continued.

by John (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 12:53am

Note the aesthetic symmetry: his last sentence also lacked any errors. RJ might actually be the Dalai Lama.

by Todd S. :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:46pm

As an Indy resident I'm definitely interested in a meetup. (And I already follow you on Twitter, but thanks for the heads up. I'll check there.)

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:50pm

I was a sophomore in college. My roommate and I somehow finished a bottle of whiskey during the game. Neither of us liked whiskey.

Still, it was better than the 49ers-Chargers Super Bowl.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 5:56pm

49es vs xhargers most sickening SB all time. Compkete garbage. Watched opening monutes to see SF take lead and then knew gane officially over. Then hung out witj friend who also did not wan t tk watxh game

by MJK :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 6:40pm

Was a senior in college. In the throes of my capstone design project. Don't remember watching the Superbowl, but that may have been because I was in the lab or the machine shop trying to get the confounded thing to work, or I may have watched it and just forgotten it. Being a Patriots fan and seeing Pete Carroll slowly and systematically destroy the team over the last four years (and and the new guy, some joke of a coach named Bill Belisomething, hadn't done much better in his first year), had kind of sapped my enthusiasm for football at the time, and engineering school lack-of-sleep had quashed the rest of it.

by Shylo :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 6:51pm

I was in the seventh grade when Super Bowl XXXV happened. I barely remember the game, it resides in the same Super Bowl limbo as Super Bowl XXXIII. I have kind of a football blackout from 1999 to 2002, the 2002 was the first season where I watched all of a team's games. That period coincides with Green Bay no longer being a factor, but it doesn't coincide with the rise of the Titans. I watched the Super Bowl, but I don't remember watching any other game that year, because I remembered the past two 8-8 seasons

by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 6:55pm

I was in Nagaski with a team of engineers working on a ship of the Japanese Navy. As the time is 13 hours ahead there, we watched it after work on Monday (rebroadcast). I made the mistake of watching CNN international before I went down to the hotel bar - for the first time EVER, they actually gave an NFL score instead of just 29 minutes of English soccer results and random auto or motorcycle racing. On the plus side, I could enjoy the game knowing that the two Giants fans on the team would not be crowing the whole week. On the minus, I knew immediately that I'd wasted ten bucks on a block pool.

by dmstorm22 :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 7:33pm

I was in the 5th grade when SB XXXV was played.

Super Bowl XXXIV was the first Super Bowl I watched every play of, and I still to this day think it was the most entertaining Super Bowl from start to finish (at least from the one's I've seen). Seeing that abomination the next year was like going from a Van Halen concert to a Cool in the Gang one next (just chose that because the Gang is rumored to be VH's opener on the upcoming tour). Thankfully, next year we got back to standard operating procedure with Super Bowl's in the 2000s.

It is odd that the two biggest blowouts featured defensive teams winning. The Giants were just pathetic. At least the '02 Raiders decided to air it out and made the game somewhat interesting (down 34-21 with the ball and 7 minutes left - it wasn't impossible for them to complete the comeback).

by Shattenjager :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 8:15pm

This is nitpicking, but it's Kool & the Gang.

by dmstorm22 :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 9:53pm

You know, I had a feeling it might have been that, but I wasn't sure. I guess I was just a little too lazy to look it up. Should have gone with my gut instinct on that.

by Shattenjager :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 10:41pm

I don't blame you. They're not worth much effort, really.

by CG43 :: Thu, 01/19/2012 - 10:15pm

I can't claim that I was in high school during SB XXXV, unfortunately. But I was in 8th grade at the time, so I guess that's close enough. And with relative youth comes relative wisdom, so I can tell you that your dream was simply a metaphorical passion play.

Tebow was sacked/killed (presumably waiting for a WR on a crossing pattern), he was dead but after the third down he rose again to give his team everlasting life/four more downs. Also (I can't believe you missed this), the two yardage amounts you mentioned (15 and 18), add up to 33. And if you were to bet 33 dollars with standard odds (-110), it would pay out 30; EXACTLY the number of pieces of silver Tebow was sold for by Elway.

by Drunkmonkey :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 12:30am

So I don't know if you are looking for places to go in Mobile, but if you have time, go to Veets. Get a pizza and something relaxing from the bar. You won't be disappointed. I used to live in Mobile, and while I'm always debating whether or not I'm sad that I don't, Veets is really good. I'd offer to meet up there if I was in that part of the world.

by t.d. :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 3:00am

what happened with farrar anyway?

by MaxP (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 10:25am

I was in college and went to a friend's apartment to watch the game with 10 or so people. He had cable hooked up illegally via a complicated set of loose wires hanging out windows connecting apartments, and at halftime someone accidentally bumped into it and wiped out his connection, so everyone came to my much smaller apartment to watch the second half. Fortunately there were two immediate touchdowns, so it seemed kind of like good luck that we moved!

by radar (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 5:46pm

I had just turned 24 and slunk back home to Mom and Dad the month before from California, where I had lived for a year and a half after college. It didn't quite work out for me out there. The run to the Super Bowl was glorious for us as Giants fans. No one thought they were any good, and we didn't care because they kept winning. It's hard to think of a bigger fall than going from completely dominating the Vikings in front of a delirious crowd one week and then getting abjectly humiliated in the Super Bowl two weeks later. I was so shaken up by it that I ran out and joined the Marines - hey, I'll hang out there for a few years and figure out where my life is going. It's not like there's a war going on, right?

by joebarnin :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 6:50pm

Super Bowl V wasn't boring. It was poorly played, but it was a close game. It was full of turnovers and goofy plays (the Mackey tipped pass, the Thomas fumble at the goal line, the aborted flea-flicker). The flea-flicker was worth the price of admission itself - Morrall hands of to Havrilak, who's supposed to lateral it back to Morrall. But Jethro Pugh gets in the way, so Havrilak throws the ball down field himself. He was aiming for Mackey, but Hinton cut in front of him and took it toward to goal line. But he got caught from behind and fumbled the ball through the end zone. Funny stuff.

Nah, the worst Super Bowl, from a viewing point of view, was VIII, Dolphins over Vikings. Dolphins were so dominant. After they drove right down the field for a TD on the opening drive, you knew the game was over. The rest of the game was just running out the clock, basically.

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 9:35pm

Dolpjina vs Vikings terrible but chargers vs 49ers also disgusting game

by TomC :: Sat, 01/21/2012 - 2:49pm

I will always have fond memories of Chargers/Niners, because it capped a season of very lucrative betting, in which I used the extremely sophisticated strategy of "always bet the Niners, no matter the spread." Vegas kept upping the spread; the Niners kept covering. The Super Bowl was the culmination, when Vegas finally dared to go over 20 (depending on the book, the gametime spread was between 20 and 23), and, of course, the Niners covered.

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 01/21/2012 - 4:26pm

Knew htey would cover

As Raiders fan, do nit like xhargers or 49ers. Hate chargers more than 49ers. Since knew game would bw crap waited till SF took early lead (easy prediction). When jappen went bicycle ridimg im 20 or 30 something degree weather.

Today wetn to liquor atore bought Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye. Drawing of hot babe on box. Good nigjf of drinkimg comig up

by dryheat :: Sat, 01/21/2012 - 6:31pm

Believe it or not, I just came home with a 6er of Ruthless Rye. We can compare notes!