Look, I love football. Can’t help it—love watching those spandexed male bodies flying through the air, especially when it comes to the thighs and bottoms. Watching football is like watching live battles from the Iliad, only (for the most part) without the blood—Achilles, Patroclus, Hector and all the rest strain, in my silly imagination, trying to stretch their bodies, in a ferocious battle, all the way to a glorious death. Of course, in the case of the Super Bowl, the prize isn’t the beautiful Helen, but a locker room full of popped champagne and a parade back in the home town.
So as I settle in with my second glass of wine (can’t blog for long—sorry, I know it’s a Super Bowl sin, but wine is what I drink), I can’t help but a) wonder if I got the Roman numerals right for the Super Bowl that’s about to start--um, that’s wrong up there in the title, isn’t it?; and b) realize how poignant it is that this time around, the Achaeans fighting the Trojans (aka the two NFL teams playing in the 45th Super Bowl) are named not for animals or abstractions or machines—like the Dolphins, Lions, Jaguars, Saints, and Jets—but for activities that once were the central, vital purpose of their towns. The very words “Steelers” and “Packers” recall a bygone era. Yet who, among the 20-something set—or even the 30-something set—even knows this? Who remembers that Pittsburgh was once the steel capital of America?
My husband suggested to me that what we need now are new teams with names like the Wall Street Off-Shorers, or the Silicon Valley Phone Bankers. I swallowed yet another sip of wine (the damn game just started—I gotta go) and smiled at his idea. How perfect would those names be for two 21st-century teams fighting out a brilliant, post-modern Super Bowl?