There’s been a discussion in my Twitter feed today about whether Super Bowl Sunday is an overrated sports day. I’m 100% on board with this take.

The actual sports side of Super Bowl Sunday kind of sucks, as the game is always secondary to all the other things that surround it. The parties, the pregame show, the halftime show, the commercials. Unless your team is playing, the football is kind of a letdown. And even then the game’s cadence is so unlike any other NFL game, that it can make you crazy if you care who wins.

Within that discussion were some folks sharing their memories of Super Bowls past. My kids are all either working or babysitting, the wife is traveling back from a weekend away, and I refuse to watch any of the early, early pregame stuff. So, here are my Super Bowl memories.

Super Bowl XII, Jan 15, 1978. Cowboys beat the Broncos.
A transformative moment in my life. For years I faced the question, “Why are you a Cowboys fan?” This is the game that explains it. Six-year-old me watched my first Super Bowl and thought it was cool both teams were from cities that started with D’s. The Cowboys won, and I became a Cowboys fan until Jerry Jones pissed me off.

SB XIII, Jan 21, 1979. This was a doozy for kids of the 70s, the second meeting between the Steelers and Cowboys. Jackie Smith dropped a sure touchdown, the Cowboys lost by four, and I cried.

SB XVI, Jan 24, 1982. I was still bitter after the 49ers beat the Cowboys in the NFC title game. My aunt and uncle hosted a party and one of my good friends was with me, along with another kid our age we did not know. When the national anthem played, this other kid stood, put his hand over his heart, and sang along. My buddy and I about shit ourselves.

SB XXIV, Jan 28, 1990. I watched this in the lobby of my dorm. One of the most perfect games ever played, done by the Niners at their absolute peak.

SB XXVII, Jan 31, 1993. My Cowboys finally made it back. I had to work and missed the first half. My roommates all messed with me when I got home at halftime, claiming the Bills were shellacking Dallas. Boy the look on my face when the second half started and I saw the score! Also, Leon Lett.

SB XXX, Jan 28, 1996. The Cowboys finally beat the Steelers. My bigger memory of the day is that KU played at Colorado before the Super Bowl. This was Chauncey Billups’ single year in Boulder, so it was a solid Buffs team, but KU got the W.

SB XXXII, Jan 25, 1998. Jewel sang the national anthem. This was right when she was busting out as one of the brightest stars in music. With her rise came the story of how she lived in her car for a stretch in her starving artist days. I was at a party, and folks were correctly solemn during her performance. Responding to her attire, which accentuated her curves, I said, “Wow, hard to believe she was ever homeless,” a little too loud after she was done. There was a moment of silence before everyone lost it. I felt a little sheepish about my statement, but was thankful the room was with me and I was not asked to leave.

SB XXXV, Jan 28, 2001. I remember S and I getting into an argument on the way to the game and us not talking the entire game. Fortunately we were at a party and could avoid each other, but I did wonder if she was going to break up with me on the way home. We didn’t talk for a few days before she sent me an email saying she was sorry. Dating a pediatric resident who got short-tempered when she didn’t get much sleep was a delight.

SB XXXVI, Feb 3, 2002. Another doozy with the ghost of 9/11 looming large. A great game. The beginning of the Patriots dynasty, when we all thought Tom Brady was a plucky underdog and Belichick’s team over individual stuff wasn’t sociopathic. Adam Vinatieri’s first kick into legend. U2 at halftime. And going to a party where I ran into an old college friend and offended him by loudly greeting him with his college nickname, which he did not want his adult-life friends to know about. A couple other college buddies and I still laugh about that a few times a year.

SB XXXVII, Jan 26, 2003. I won like $220 in the square game. My biggest sports gambling win ever!

SB XXXIII, Feb 1, 2004. Wardrobe malfunction!

SB XLI, Feb 4, 2007. The Colts win, but Prince’s greatest ever halftime show overshadowed the game. It was also so cold here in Indy that a man literally froze to death a couple miles from our house.

SB XLIV, Feb 7, 2010. The Colts lose a game they should have won, mostly because Peyton played terribly and Dwight Freeney had blown up his ankle late in the AFC title game. When Peyton threw a pick six, I, after having several drinks, said, “Well, fuck!” in a room filled with kids under the age of six. I was just saying what all the other parents were thinking.

SB XLVI, Feb 5, 2012. Indianapolis’ Super Bowl came off without any hitches, weather or otherwise. Seriously, it was a miracle it wasn’t 10 below all week. Our girls thought it was great that Peyton’s brother was the quarterback for the Giants and made Eli masks at school.

SB LI, Feb 5, 2017. Furiously texting with friends as the Falcons jumped out to a huge lead over the Patriots. Then furiously texting later wondering “They’re going to blow this, aren’t they?”

SB LIV, Feb 2, 2020. Two weeks of me explaining to people that (and why) I’m not a Chiefs fan.