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NFL remembers at Soldier Field:

Chicago Bears v. Minnesota Vikings, (Remembrance Day, November 14) PHOTO ©JIM LARRISON

In Super Bowl III the New York Jets then stunned the football masses by beating the fabled Baltimore Colts in the first victory for the old AFL teams - little did the Jets fans know that this was to be the only time their team to date would grace the field in the NFL showpiece. Dynasties have been created

long before the Patriots recent dominance across the last dec- ade or so. In the 1970s it was the Pittsburgh Steelers who were top of the mountain winning 4 titles, but this was after the Miami Dolphins left their mark in NFL folklore as they recorded the only “perfect” season, going 17-0 back in the days of a 14 game regular season. They won Super Bowl VII against the Washington Redskins 14-7 to cap of their incredible campaign that may not ever be repeated in these days of parity. Kings of the ‘80s were the San

Francisco 49ers. Led by the seem- ingly never troubled quarterback play of Joe Montana they set a new standard and broke all manner of records, receiver Jerry Rice still has the record for most touchdowns scored in all Super Bowls with 8. The Niners were a well-oiled and methodical machine, but they were soon to be upstaged by a new brash, cocky player in the game as the early ‘90s saw a significant change of the guard. The media created the moni-

ker Americas Team for the Dallas Cowboys, they were the darlings of the NFL with many larger than life characters off the field as well as on it. Through the ‘70s they were con- stant contenders winning 2 titles, but the ‘80s were painful as their fall was far from gracious. It was only when the team was sold to oil rich Jerry Jones that the good times

started to roll back into Texas. Within 4 years they were back on top and won 3 more Lombardis in a 4 year span. This brings us

to the New England period of superior play, they themselves winning 3 in 4 years. They did come close to achieving the near impossible of a perfect season in 2007 only to be upended by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, 17-14, the Giants scoring late in the game to cause one of the biggest upsets of the modern era. As mentioned before the Super

Bowl is more than the game itself, it has grown into a behemoth that now takes up the whole of the week prior to the game. From the infamous Media Day that enables journalists and television crews to get up close and personal to the players and staff of the competing teams, through to music concerts. It really has become a festival of everything about the game. Some of the facts and trivia that

are born from Super Bowl Sunday are not to be sniffed at. For example last year it was said that 44% of people who eat Chicken Wings during the game prefer bleu cheese dressing to ranch. Add the 9 million estimated pounds of guacamole that was to be consumed by the viewing public - only Thanksgiving has a larger amount of food eaten in one day - you can see that it’s good for the economy too. Sales of the latest state-of-the-

art TVs go up, and with all the gadg- etry and tech available it was noted

that 15% of viewers last year tuned in via their smartphone or other mobile device. With an estimated global audience of 170m in over 180 countries, it’s easy to see why $360m will be spent on advertising during breaks. This year’s attendance will not

be close to that of the all-time record of 103,985 that were in the Rose Bowl, Pasadena to see Super Bowl XIV. The cheapest face value ticket last year was $800, with the average ticket price being a record high of $6459.21, a far cry from the $6 to see Super Bowl I in person. As this season winds down the usual suspects are there in the mix with the Patriots favored to repeat. Teams that will be hoping for a first Super Bowl title will be the Bengals, Vikings and Cardinals. The Packers and Broncos, Steelers and Panthers will all have a more than fair chance of being crowned new champions in San Francisco on the first Sunday in February. One thing for sure it will be a

vibrant week, ending in a dramatic day, for which the saying “On Any Given Sunday” seems perfectly suit- able. Book your place on the couch nice and early as you won’t want to miss the history unfold.

The American 69

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