Monday, February 07, 2011

Who Lost Super Bowl III?

For anyone wanting to hang onto the football season for another day, here’s an old piece by Geoffrey Colvin on the cultural implications of Super Bowl III. While overstating the impact/symbolism of the game, he may not be that far off. I remember watching part of the game while playing at a friend’s house. I also remember the adult males being stunned by the Colts’ loss.

While recently helping out on a project for my son’s class I scanned my first-grade class picture. I couldn’t help but laugh…there I was with a #12 jersey. The picture is back-and-white but I clearly remember the green color of that shirt. My dad was old school—Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas were the quarterbacks to admire, not the loud-mouth upstart whose jersey I wore. To his credit, I don’t remember him ever saying a word about my Namath jersey. But I still received flattop haircuts each month for quite a while...
If the millions of Americans who rose blinking from their seats sensed they had seen the beginnings of a new world, later events would confirm the feeling—though few could have seen what was coming. The triumph of the New Culture, the ascendance of self-gratification, the demise of the old sports ethic that Bubba Smith so eloquently expressed all were part of the cultural unraveling that has shaped the past three decades and that continues to be reflected in sports. With the ideal of an athlete no longer defined by an elevated character, or by much of anything other than the size of one's contract, sports began to lose the place of authority they had held in the culture.

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