Sweetness And LightSweetness And Light The Score On Sports With Frank Deford

A Merry Super Bowl To All, And To All A Good Game

In a scene that may recall St. Patrick's Day revelry, New Yorkers celebrate the Super Bowl in a bar. i i

Holiday Cheer: In a scene that may recall St. Patrick's Day revelry, New Yorkers celebrate in a bar as they watch last year's Super Bowl XLII. Chris Hondros/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Chris Hondros/Getty Images
In a scene that may recall St. Patrick's Day revelry, New Yorkers celebrate the Super Bowl in a bar.

Holiday Cheer: In a scene that may recall St. Patrick's Day revelry, New Yorkers celebrate in a bar as they watch last year's Super Bowl XLII.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

So much has changed in my lifetime, except perhaps one important thing: the very calendar we live our lives by.

Oh, I remember my father used to have to work half a day Saturday. I guess that's largely gone for most jobs — just five days a week. And schools and college schedules are different. They never used to open before Labor Day, and graduations were in June. Now, school bells ring in August, and hardly has April left us before graduation speakers start their bloviating.

But I think that's about it in calendar revisions — except, of course, two new holidays: Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Super Bowl Sunday.

Like Halloween and Valentine's Day, Super Sunday isn't an official paid holiday, but let's face it, it's become as much an accepted part of the modern American calendar as President's Day or Memorial Day.

Super Sunday is certainly far more in our consciousness than, say, Earth Day or Veterans Day or Columbus Day. It's left Arbor Day in the veritable dust. I'd say Super Sunday has even become a more traditional day to drink than St. Patrick's Day. Ah, now who among us would have ever thought such a thing?

And at the end of the day, I'd suggest that Super Sunday is actually much more Father's Day than is Father's Day itself. Why don't we just combine the two and send out cards to Daddy now?

The greater beauty of Super Sunday, though, is that it has done such a wonderful job of appropriating those more discriminating citizens who do not worship St. Pigskin.

You see, the attention paid to Super Bowl commercials and the halftime show — this year featuring Bruce Springsteen — nearly rivals that of the incidental game itself. So it's a real big-tent holiday. Were Norman Rockwell still alive, he'd surely eschew Thanksgiving scenes and paint a typical American family fondly gathering round the Super Bowl pre-game show.

Moreover, unlike most very official holidays, Super Bowl Sunday is a whole season, like Christmas. The 14 days of Super Bowl begin after the conference championships. We are in the 10th day of Super Bowl right now: "On the 10th day of Super Bowl, my true love gave to me: 10 scalpers scalping ... three photo ops, two quarterbacks and a point spread from a bookie..."

I suspect, though, that this is going to be something of a down year for Super Sunday, sort of like when the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday so we can't wrench it into a long weekend.

One of the teams is the Arizona Cardinals, who have previously been to football what April 15, tax day, is to the calendar.

And whereas the Super Bowl plays well when war is uppermost in our minds — it always goes heavy on the martial, what with fighter jets whooshing overhead and great dollops of patriotic display — its wretched excess doesn't relate well to economic distress.

Nevertheless, for all of us here at Morning Edition, may I wish you and yours a very Merry Super Sunday — and a Happy Groundhog Day.

Commentator Frank Deford joins us from member station WSHU in Fairfield, Conn.

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Sweetness And LightSweetness And Light The Score On Sports With Frank Deford