Superball Sunday

By Shamus Posted Sunday Feb 6, 2011

Filed under: Personal 201 comments

I made a joke in an episode of Spoiler Warning last week about how I didn’t know anything about (American) football. That’s only 95% true. Very occasionally, I have paid attention to the game in the past. Understand that it was very, very hard to grow up this close to Pittsburgh in the 1970’s and not have some of the football fandom rub off on you. My brother is a zealous Pittsburgh sports fan, and keeps the rest of the family abreast of which celebrity athletes are overrated preening hacks and which rule changes are bringing the pastime to ruin. Talking to him always reminds me of how vast other fields of knowledge can get, an ersatz version of a total perspective vortex.

Yesterday was a family gathering at my parents, and so when I sat down with Patrick I decided to find out how much I didn’t know this week.


HEATHER, MOM, and ANGELA are standing at the counter, having a pleasant conversation. PATRICK and SHAMUS are at the table wolfing down a bowl of pretzel chips like children. Aging, hairy, overweight, graying children.

So, how are the Steelers doing this year?

The conversation STOPS. Everyone looks towards the table.

Dude, are you messing with me?

Patrick! He’s pulling your leg!

No. (Laughs.) I mean, I guess they’re doing good, right? I mean, I know they’re doing good. I was just asking…

Did you not notice the decorations?

SHAMUS looks around the room. Black and gold towels are hung over the backs of chairs. A CAKE is decorated with black and gold frosting, and beside it is a large plate of black and gold SMILEY COOKIES. MOM and PATRICK are both wearing black and gold. ANGELA has black and gold fingernail polish.

Yeah. That’s… Oh wow. You guys really went all out this year. Is that because they made the playoffs?

(Deadpan.) The Superbowl is tomorrow.

Yeah. Is it? And the Steelers are playing?


(Deadpan.) The Steelers are playing.

(Long, awkward pause.)

Yay! Go Steelers!

I had a plugin for running polls installed at one point, but I either uninstalled it or it went out-of-date. So we’ll do a manual poll, which is sometimes called a conversation. So do you care about American Football? Do you have a favorite for today’s game?

EDIT: Like I said, I don’t have proper poll software installed, but allow me to simulate this incredible chart of the poll results:

Pittsburgh Steelers: .
Green Bay Packers: .
Complete and all-encompassing apathy: _____________________________________

From The Archives:

201 thoughts on “Superball Sunday

  1. IncredibleGeek says:

    Being in Grove City, it’s hard to escape Steelers fever around this time. Can’t say I care very much, though. Since none of my friends care very much either, we’re having our own little “anti-superbowl” party, where we’ll be watching John Carpenter/Kurt Russell movies and not paying any attention to the game.

  2. DGM says:

    A… “conversation?” How primitive. We may have to revoke your computer geek credentials if you keep this up, Shamus.

    Anyway, no. Don’t care about physical sports at all. Which makes me the odd one out in my family. My mother watches a game, her screams and howls can be heard through walls and doors from across the property.

  3. Stern says:

    To be honest, I only knew the Super Bowl was sometime in February. I didn’t know who was in it until your post. Come to think of it, I couldn’t tell you that the Steelers were from Pittsburgh if you quizzed me.

    I never really got into watching sports. The last game I went to wound up being a day where I watched to birds on the field because they were more interesting. Maybe I’d feel more invested if I were the one playing.

  4. Shinan says:

    I’m European so obviously I don’t care about American Football. However I think it’s a fairly amusing game and I love watching it on those rare occasions it airs here. I remember after about half a game I sort of understood what it was about and then I really dug it.

    But no I don’t know anything about any teams or any thing. But it looks like a fun game nonetheless. I think in the early nineties there was a team in the neighbouring town. I have a feeling I once went to a game with my dad when I was about ten years old. But I can’t be too sure.

  5. Zukhramm says:

    He’s kicked the ball. Now the ball’s over there. That man has it now. That’s an intersting development, maybe he’ll kick the ball.

    That’s what all sports are for me. The whole cheering for a team is something I don’t really get, maybe if I played something myself I could appreciate it more for the skills used, but cheering for a specific team? So what if they’re from the same general area that I am, doesn’t mean I care.

    1. Fourthords says:

      I’m right there! I’m in the St. Louis area right now, and we have three local pro sports teams (baseball, football (American), and hockey). Am I supposed to root for a team because I live here now, or am I supposed to care about the teams local to where I grew up? I lived in three different states growing up, is there a rubric for deciding which?

      1. MOM says:

        yes there is a rubric and it works out that you should root for the Steelers.

    2. Someone says:

      Same here. I honestly can’t understand the appeal of knocking a ball around in a pool, or whatever it is they do when they play American Football.

      Of course, part of that may be attributed to me not being an American, but I don’t care about soccer either.

      Hilariously, I get a kick out of watching my friend, who’s a huge soccer sim freak, play FIFA or PES or whathaveyou. For some reason, I find the fake version much better than any of the real matches on TV.

      1. Zukhramm says:

        Well I can understand playing, it’s just watching and cheering for others doing it that seems pointless.

  6. Friend of Dragons says:

    I’ve never had any interest in it, and my interest in most sports is almost nonexistent. I might very occasionally watch a Red Sox game, but that is all.

  7. Eel Snave says:

    Yeah, I’m actually really into football and baseball. When I was younger, my dad tried getting me into football but I was only interested in baseball for some weird reason. We would play Tecmo Bowl, and I wouldn’t understand that you had to follow the play that you had selected and would just run around in circles, much to his chagrin.

    Now I love football and am able to dissect a game pretty well, but it’s a close second to baseball. Plus, I’m from Wisconsin and Packer love runs pretty deep here.

  8. Sara Pickell says:

    I’ve lived in Arizona my whole life. Other than a blip a couple years ago, cheering for the Cards is rather akin to cheering for a dead guy to win the triathlon. I’m not sure if that’s the exact reason, but it’s certainly contributed to my never taking much interest in Football. To be honest, I don’t dislike watching it I just don’t go out of my way to do so.

  9. Zagzag says:

    I’m on the wrong continent, have never seen the game, and have no idea how it even works. Presumably it involves a ball in some capacity…

    1. Scott (Duneyrr) says:

      Only if you consider this to be a ball.

      1. Chargone says:

        should be called ‘hand egg’ really… *has a demotivational poster to that effect around somewhere*

      2. Fat Tony says:


      3. Will says:

        It was a ball until all the players got into a fight and one of them sat on it by accident, squishing it out of shape.

  10. Rothschild says:

    Not in the least bit interested. Watching American football (or indeed any other sport) is as boring as it is perplexing. There’s a bunch of random meaningless numbers that seem to have no baring on anything happening on screen, that are constantly changing and rotating out for equally meaningless numbers. A couple of overexcited unseen voices that are speaking in an, as of yet, unidentified language that loosely corresponds to what’s happening on screen. There’s a bunch of guys decked out in Warhammer 40k shoulder armour sporting gaudy colors. They get into completely arbitrary positions, then a whistle sounds and they run around for a random of amount of time until the same whistle blows again. They then get into different, yet equally arbitrary positions and then do it again. Repeat ad nauseum.

    Oh, and there’s apparently some kind of oblong shaped ball involved which is kinda important. I’m not sure.

    1. pinchy says:

      It’s clearly Bloodbowl armour not 40k- how I miss you Gw’s Specialist Games.

    2. Klay F. says:

      Now you know how it feels to watch a DnD campaign in progress when you aren’t familiar with the game itself.

      1. Galad says:

        ouch..well, tell you what, feel free to post here, in some more appropriately-themed topic. Ask people familiar with DnD to try to explain to you how and why it attracts, even enchants them, and in what way. No one’s going to laugh at you, this is a blog where there’s only VERY intelligent and considerate people, all discussing interesting topics, interesting to the “modern man”, if I may say so, hence why it’s the only blog I try to follow at all..

        Cue Someone feigning proving me wrong with a witty line or two in 3..2..1..;)

  11. In a word, “No”.

    In general, professional sports is not a competition. It’s an entertainment industry founded on the illusion of competition. There is little-to-nothing at stake in any given game. Losing is only a big deal if it happens often enough that people stop coming to games. It’s a step away from pro wrestling. Pro wrestling just to the concept to it’s logical conclusion and decided that “hey, if the outcome doesn’t really matter, let’s fix it to at least have the most entertaining outcome.”

    Not that they have been all that successful in the last few years, but my point still stands. College football is at least a bit more entertaining, because the players do have something to fight for, that being pro contracts.

    1. Joshua says:

      Hehe, + Rep for this one. A bunch of players who likely did not grow up in the area where they play and thus have little in common with that city except they live there because that’s where they work.

      In theory, the Superbowl(or any other championship) should be exciting because it’s the two very best teams of the year competing against each other, which should mean the most exciting and well-played game. Doesn’t always work out that way in reality, however.

    2. RPharazon says:

      I agree with you wholeheartedly and in most aspects.
      I just don’t find anything entertaining or meaningful in professional sports. It’s gladiatorial combat without consequences or real violence. We turn the players into modern nobility, slather them with more money per year than most people watching the games will ever make in their lives, and for what? They can kick a ball, handle a stick, keep their balance, or run for a while? Do we not have higher priorities?

      In the words of someone else, professional sports are a meaningless exercise except to those who have spent years convincing themselves of their significance.

      But I worked for two years (as a “volunteer”) at a sports arena, so you can just choose to dismiss this as bitterness from dealing with half-drunk fans.

      1. Someone says:

        Well, in theory sports are supposed to inspire the people to keep themselves in shape and exercise. It’s a safe way for young people to improve their physical development and let out aggression. That’s sports in a nutshell.

        But then you have Professional Sports.

        Then you have people telling you that sports help overcome weaknesses, handicaps and insecurities and whatnot. And then you have the whole patriotism angle, with competing towns and countries; people love that because victories of “their” teams help them feel superior to others without actually doing anything and governments love that because successes in sports help distract the masses from real issues of the state. Add to that the mass media that live off venerating or demonising (sometimes both) everyone even slightly famous and talked about so that they become more famous and put more asses in the seats when they venerate and demonise them again, and you get what we have now: a moderately beneficial pastime blown way out of proportion.

      2. Galad says:

        “I just don't find anything entertaining or meaningful in professional sports. It's gladiatorial combat without consequences or real violence. We turn the players into modern nobility, slather them with more money per year than most people watching the games will ever make in their lives, and for what? They can kick a ball, handle a stick, keep their balance, or run for a while? Do we not have higher priorities?”

        I bow to your analyzing capabilities, and that’s already coming from someone who can write 5 college end-of-education courseworks (not sure what they’re called) on what-have-you kind of topic about .. usually myself. And I still don’t know myself well enough, or how to deal with society etc. But don’t let me go “stupid philosopher” on you..What I wanted to say was .. if things were the other way around – as in, if the millions of sports fans could think like you, and only unique people like you could think like today’s sports fans think, humanity would be very different..maybe sadder and smarter, like a weird cross between an elephant, and a form of life higher than human..but certainly, very different..

        1. RPharazon says:

          I’m not sure if you’re being truthful or condescending.
          Perhaps your possible sarcasm whizzed over my head.

          1. Galad says:

            I uh am honestly, candidly amazed at this person’s thoughts

  12. burningdragoon says:

    I don’t really care about any sports that much. Unfortunately I’ve never been involved with any circle of people (friends I guess) where no one cared so, I’ve generally had to be at least slightly involved with at least the SuperBowl. Even some of my friends who “don’t care” about football still watch it.

    I spoke to one of my friends last night, jokingly asking if he was ready for the SuperBowl. His answer: “lol noooooooooo. I will spending the superbowl playing Halo.” Sadly, my time will be somewhat more football related.

    Also, how do you properly write out superbowl? Superbowl, SuperBowl, Super Bowl, Super-Bowl, SUPERBOWL?

    Double also, my favorite spellcheck suggestion to superbowl: “superb owl”

    Triple also back to sports. My “favorite” sport would probably be Baseball, though I don’t really like watching that either. My favorite sport to um… “watch” would be soccer/not-american-football, but that’s mostly because it’s played without commercials.

    1. Some Jackass says:

      Nowadays, with all the royalties and money, you can only write out/say it this way:


    2. Klay F. says:

      I would argue that playing Halo is the bigger waste of time between the two activities.

    3. Tomulus says:

      From now on, I will only refer to it as “The Superb Owl”. Presumably the best owl in the world performs spectacular owl tricks once a year.

      It certainly sounds a lot more interesting than a bunch of grown men chasing an inflatable toy.

  13. Eric says:

    I’ve tried watching American Football before, but I just can’t get into it. I actually got some crap for it yesterday at work (half-jokingly) because I said I’d be writing an essay/analyzing a poem/translating Beowulf/cooking instead of watching the Superbowl.

  14. Maryam says:

    My strongest feelings about football are the feelings of hatred towards the combination of orange and blue after living in Gator-town Gainesville. There was even an entire gas station near the university done up in those colors. Seriously, that is an ugly color combination, especially if both colors are bright like they almost always are. (The university managed to tone it down for their signs around campus, which I appreciated. They used a dark blue background and an unobtrusive dull orange line under the words.)

    Other than that, I don’t much care about football. I don’t even know how the game is played. I may have heard the names of prominent athletes from time to time but it’s not likely I’ll be able to tell you which sport they play. I don’t much see the point of watching sports rather than playing them yourself, or getting behind one team over another.

    1. Maryam says:

      Addendum: It’s worth it to know when the Superbowl is for one reason, and that’s because it’s when Animal Planet shows the Puppy Bowl.

      Too adorable.

  15. somebodys_kid says:

    Shamus, that conversation with your brother has made you my hero!
    I only know about American Football because I listen to the radio during the day and it is always mentioned during the half hour news breaks. I’ve watched a total of maybe 4 hours of Football in the past four years. My city’s team (which usually is one of the worst) actually made it to the playoffs this year (I’m told). Professional sports has never really interested me, though I will admit to being thoroughly entertained when watching a good football game.

  16. X2-Eliah says:

    … I don’t get it. Did I miss the punchline?


    Anyway, yeah, I have almost no concept of the superbowl at all (and I actually don’t know the rules to any sport ever – never understood why I wasn’t allowed to trip/push/shove people while playing basketball/soccer but everyone else was. And it wasn’t even that I tried to do it, too.), so, yeah, that’s about it. I have enough testosterone in my system as it is, I don’t need to watch sports to pump it up or anything.

    Not that I get the excitement in it… Some guys chase a rubber bladder of some shape. Uh. Yay?

    Also, why is American football even called football? 1) the bladder isn’t even shaped like a ball, 2) only thing feet are involved in seems to be kicking other players, 3) there is no connection of the two things..

  17. BenD says:

    I looooove the superbowl. Everyone stays home or goes to sports bars and other places with TVs, leaving the rest of the world uncrowded for me to enjoy.

  18. Milos says:

    While I like watching sport on TV, not being American I don’t really care for your “football”, nor do I know anything about it except having some vague understandings of it’s rules. Drawing conclusion from your anecdote that makes me a… Steelers fan? Go Steelers!

  19. Nyaz says:

    I’m European, so this whole “american football”-deal doesn’t come up very often.

    That being said, every time sports are mentioned, I have a tendency of running out of the room, screaming…

  20. Bill says:

    I briefly followed it when they first showed it in the UK (1985-86).

    I knew that the programme was a highlights show following one game without the stoppages plus the best bits from other games that week. What I didn’t realise until that year’s Superbowl was the number & duration of the stoppages to put men on, take them off, discuss the price of fish and consult the bleeding manual.

    I lost interest after that…

  21. winter says:

    There’s a game?

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      There’s dudes running at each other and sometimes chasing a pig’s bladder.

      I guess that constitutes a game. No idea why, of course.

      1. Someone says:

        Wasn’t that Volleyball?

        1. BenD says:

          In America, if volleyball is televised, it’s probably dudettes.

  22. Sarcastro says:

    I do enjoy the occasional football game. It’s as diverting as a lot of TV shows, and can be enjoyed socially in a way that a lot of TV cannot.

    It is the only sport I really enjoy because of it’s pacing. It’s not glacial like baseball, but it is not flash-fast like basketball. It’s deliberate. And I find that brings out the tactical side of things. Athleticism has never engendered much other than vague envy in me. But the tactical side of football is surprisingly deep. Kinda reminds me of the Aubrey-Maturin novels, with their slow paced tactical gambits etc.

    That being said, I don’t actually follow any particular team, and I think I’m going to miss the Superbowl to play D&D this year.

  23. Exasperation says:

    I don’t care at all. If you had asked me at the start of your post what month the superbowl was held in, I would not have been able to answer correctly. And, yes, I do live in the US. I just ignore all that stuff.

    1. BenD says:

      Well, it used to be in January.

  24. froogger says:

    No, and no. I played defensive tackle in HS, got the varsity letter and all, and that was fun. Watching sports otoh is as uninteresting to me as videogames are to those who don’t play them.

  25. krellen says:

    I don’t care about football, but I want the Packers to win, because they are essentially a non-profit organisation. (They’re still in Green Bay because their charter literally does not allow an owner to profit from their sale – all profits go to charity.)

    That said, my best geek friends are Cowboy fans, so we usually watch the Super Bowl together and play board games around it. We’re not this year for various reasons.

    1. Matt K says:

      That’s actually really cool. I knew a little bit about that but not that they were non-profit.

      As a die hard Baltimore Ravens fan (well I only watch all of the games, so I’m not a hardcore fan) I’m rooting for the Packers anyhow but as I have to be up early for work tomorrow I won’t be watching all of the Super Bowl.

    2. Shinjin says:

      They're still in Green Bay because their charter literally does not allow an owner to profit

      Incidentally, the team does not have a single owner like most (all?) other teams. They are owned by the fans themselves.

  26. Shadow says:

    Let me put it this way. I live in Illinois.

    In which, we have the Cubs and the Bears.

    Yeah. Doesn’t give me much to hope for, unless I’m rooting for the White Sox. Or the Blackhawks.

    So no, I don’t follow sports much. Although I’ll root for a Chicago team if they make it all the way.

    1. rayen says:

      the bears did pretty good this year. division champs and got to the NFC championship. Was a good game.

    2. Irridium says:

      Same here. Only I lived really close to Chicago(right out in the suburbs). Pretty hard to escape it. Thats why we moved to Vermont.

      Ok, not really, but it could be a reason.

    3. Sphore says:

      The Blackhawks /did/ win the Stanley Cup last year, so things could be worse.

  27. Viktor says:

    I care very slightly. I know in general how the Colts are doing, and know which teams made the Superbowl. Tonight I’m going to be doing an IRC RPG while the game happens, so I’ll probably keep the TV on.

    In response to everyone who has said they don’t get sports, it’s a tribal thing. Your side is getting together and fighting against their side. You get a sense of connection to everyone else on ‘your’ side, you delight in the triumphs, you share misery for the failures, and you get a lot of food at the same time. The little caveman inside you loves it.

  28. Double A says:

    Oh, so that’s why no one’s online today! I thought everyone was just ignoring my existence again.

    Well, at least I know who one of the teams playing is. I won’t be totally lost tomorrow when everyone I don’t care about is yapping away.

  29. RichVR says:

    Near the end of the season I see if the Jets are going to be in the playoffs. I watch them until they fail. Then I lose interest again.

  30. NonEuclideanCat says:

    I’ve never been able to find any sort of sport entertaining, and the whole 3-week fervor leading up to “the big game” has always confounded me. It’s like watching a game of TF2, except it’s visually boring and what passes for tactics and strategy are completely meaningless and the players only get one set of the same equipment and the cart doesn’t explode and….

    So yeah. My knowledge of that area basically makes me sound like T.UD from Dresden Codak:

    “Do you like the Sportland Sports? They did SO many points in the last game of Sportball!”

  31. Van Tuber says:

    I was going to make a comment that I must be the only one who reads your blog and has interest in football (although that has waned in recent years); then, I realized that the football fans are all at superbowl parties and bars rather than reading your blog.

  32. Zombie Pete says:

    Despite being American and having a dad who was way into (watching) sports, I could not care less about football or the Superbowl. Living in Los Angeles only intensifies my apathy.

    I once even scheduled my daughter’s birthday party on Superbowl Sunday because I was so oblivious. Luckily, a parent at her preschool mentioned this to me and we had to reschedule/relocate or risk having no one attend. Lost our deposit at the playland, tho.

    I will be attending a Superbowl party today, but it’s only for the commercials, dip, and networking.

  33. Taininfernus says:

    Shamus, don’t feel too bad. Yesterday, my mom was asking me if I had plans for today and I said, “Should I?” She replies “Well, it’s the Superbowl”. “No, then” I finish. I care so little that I didn’t even know that it was that late in the season.
    Football is over-rated. However, futbol (read: soccer) can actually hold my attention. The ball is in motion for most of play, unlike football, where 95% of the game is huddles, time-outs, and commercials. Plus, it’s funny every time he announcer yells “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL”

    1. Galad says:

      funny you should mention football..Unlike most young people my age from my country, I couldn’t care less about football..I enjoy watching pool though, from all the possible sports :)

  34. Dr Kwang says:

    I know the Superbowl is today because one of my gaming buddies who does follow American football is going to miss today’s game because of Superbowl activities. Certain commentary from this friend in weeks past indicated that the local team, the New England Patriots, lost a playoff game and are, therefore, not playing.

    I know it’s in Dallas because I’ve been hearing stories about how the weather in Texas will cause/is causing problems all week.

    I now know the Steelers are one of the teams playing.

    I don’t think I can be said to follow American football. :)

  35. Doug Sundseth says:

    I’m a very serious football fan. And right now, I’m looking forward to August and hoping there isn’t a work stoppage.

    For today? I’m rooting for a meteor strike in Dallas; there’s really no downside.

    1. Viktor says:

      Arlington. The team hasn’t been in Dallas in all the years I’ve been alive. Taking it out won’t help. Taking out Jerryworld in Arlington, however, would be a public service.

      1. Klay F. says:

        I agree. Being from Texas, it would sadden me a great deal if Dallas was taken out, as Dallas has a super rocking live music scene (yes better than Austin and if you argue you are WRONG), whereas Arlington is one big ghetto apart from the stadiums and Six Flags.

  36. Mathias says:

    In this respect, I’m really the black sheep of my family. All of them are colossal sports nerds, following both football and handball, both the local team and the Danish team. I could hear them cheering from the next room over last week when Denmark got to the semifinals in the handball world cup.

    I don’t participate in much sport myself (swimming, mostly), but I can’t stand watching competitive sports, and I have no interest in hearing about it.

  37. DaveMc says:

    Nah, not an American football fan, or really a fan of any sport. I had a pretty similar conversation on an airplane a few years ago, which could have lost me my Canadian citizenship:

    FRIENDLY WOMAN NEXT TO ME: So, do you think the Senators will beat the Ducks?
    ME: … At what?
    F.W.N.T.M.: … Ah. Not a big hockey fan?

    It turned out (later, with the help some googling when I got home) that these two teams were about to play each other for the Stanley Cup. Which I’ve heard of, but I’d been paying even less attention to sporting news than usual, at that point. I guess this Cup is considered kind of a big deal, like this Bowl everyone’s talking about today.

    (EDIT: I should note, I guess, that although I don’t follow sports, I do generally know how they *work*. I spent a lot of time, growing up, effectively interviewing my father on the subject of “What’s going on, on the television?” I’d probe for the rules, the exceptions, why they were allowed to do such-and-such just then when normally they’re not, that sort of thing. It was interesting, actually, and eventually led to me at least understanding the action in most major sports. I had to go through the equivalent process with my wife, a soccer fan, many years later.)

    1. Galad says:

      Best comeback ever to F.W.N.T.M., only suitable for times when she mistakes a non-american who not just knows NOTHING of hockey but also wants to have nothing to do with it..for a canadian..kind of like me and rugby, though I’m not exactly like that: (and yes, I know you canadians don’t like being called americans, please don’t write me 15-page “love letter” papers on that..ARGH!)

      *look at her for a second or so as if she’s a fugly martian with a cake instead of an antenna on her head, and with an indetermined gender, then finally utter, considerably confusedly, in a vile(or at least, very worried) and unnecessarily loud voice*

      – I’m sorry, Lady..Ma’ something….I don’t speak whatever hacked up fiendish bumbling dialect of 13th century Mongolian you just concocted and attempted to hex me with. Now keep your distance from me, please. *short pause* Or I’ll have to stay away from you. Like the plague. *flabberghasted, funny expression*

      And finally wink and smile at her so, if she’s a smart woman, she can just laugh her kidneys away and have a good memory of you and of this moment .. even maybe remember you foor-evah =)

  38. Chad says:

    I’m a big Green Bay fan. As someone else said above, it’s hard not to be when you grow up in Wisconsin. Accordingly, we made sure to not schedule my gaming group for today (It kinda helps that I’m sitting in the god seat right now) and I’ll be heading to my sisters in a couple hours all decked out in green and gold.

  39. Some Jackass says:

    As someone who games, I always feel a bit wierd at times because not only am I a huge baseball/football fan, but I actually keep up with all the current news and enjoy discussing it. And I seem to be the only one of my kind…
    Gaming and sports never cross each other very often outside of sport games (except Madden, fuck that series) and it always feels taboo for me to bring one up around fans of the other-cuz they tend to have 0 interest.

    …but yeah, I happen to be a HUGE Green Bay Packers fan (just in case anyone was wondering who the other team playing is) and today is a big deal. Heavy bragging rights hang in the balence between myself and a bunch of Steelers fans I know

    I sure as hell will be watching, though I assume most people here will watch it for the ads (if at all)

  40. McNutcase says:

    Very much not bothered by your “Rugby for Wusses” sport. It’s kind of like rugby, but with all the interesting play taken out and only the boring set pieces left. The only sport less interesting is baseball. Give me a cricket match any day of the week…

  41. I am more of a fan of Blood Bowl actually.
    Now that is a game worth playing!
    Even if, like me, you have very little interest in team sports (I do rather enjoy martial arts competitions though), I think you will still enjoy playing Blood Bowl!
    Hell, go check out the web page.
    Play the demo if you can still find one around.
    I prefer the PC version of the game, but perhaps there are console versions that have amusing differences to explore(?)…
    Or play the tabletop version with your weekly D&D group for a change of pace.
    No matter what, fun will be had.
    Live Action Role Playing a Blood Bowl game, not such a good idea…

    As for the Superb Owl (hehe, love that spelling!), I shall be at a party today where the game shall be watched and people cheering for the Packers primarily.
    As for me, I am going for the free food and to hit on all the neglected/ignored girlfriends hanging out in the kitchen!
    Girls like it when you chat them up about your favourite D&D characters, right?

    1. pinchy says:

      Totally agree about Blood Bowl- it’s just a fantastic ruleset.

  42. rayen says:

    sorry gotta be a stick in the pittsburg mud, i’m rooting for the packers.

    Football and baseball are my sports of choice. Hockey too if nothing else is on. Grew up in fort worth/arlington area (where the supoerbowl is taking place, do not correct me. it is not in Dallas and if you think it is you are wrong and should read the last two sentences.) For those wondering thats 30 minutes away from dallas. i’m a cowboy at heart. thus a dallas cowboys fan, thus bred to hate the steelers. i don’t, but i’m supposed to, what with the 1970’s (?) rivalry and all. Also back in the 90 i’d watch the packers and brett farve for an exciting game when i didn’t feel like watching the cowboys dream team steam roll someone.

    All that adds up to me rooting for the packers later.

  43. rabs says:

    I’m more earing about the 6 nations championship over here (France).
    It’s rugby, a bit like american football, but more dynamic and without armor.

    Though, there are also a bit of informations about superbowl in the medias.

    I’m not especially fond of sport, but wake up with the 5min news flash on the radio, and have casual talks with coworkers etc… So I’m not often taken by surprise.

  44. Darthricardo says:

    Well, I’m really not an American Football fan at all. Of course, that makes sense, since I live in Canada. I actually don’t know if we even have a national league at all, though I do know we play it on a really small scale… Nha, I’m actually a pretty big hockey fan. My little brother plays, and has kind of gotten me into keeping track of what teams doing what. It seems to require a lot more finesse and skill than Football, anyways. Go Canucks!

    1. Ravens Cry says:

      We do actually and it is a bit of a different game then the NFL. There is more or less guys or soemthing. And that covers the extent of my Canadian Football League knowledge.
      Not a BIG Hockey fan, but yeah, Go Canucks!

      1. Daimbert says:

        Bigger field, I think. Bigger endzone. Fewer downs. Overall, I prefer the Canadian version of American football [grin].

        And that has nothing to do with the change that was really advertised by the CFL (Canadian Football League) a few years back:

        We have bigger balls.

        (The football in the Canadian game is actually a bit bigger than in the American game).

      2. BlackBloc says:

        I’m surprised at how many people here don’t even watch American football. It’s the geekiest of all sports, it’s like an RTS except the units are all a bunch of meatheads. The only sport that arguably comes close is baseball, and that’s because the analysis of it is maths-centric, not that the game itself is geeky.

        I don’t follow American football much (I’ll watch the Super Bowl, but like I missed the first quarter for a D&D game yesterday, just to show how much I cared) but Canadian football is a much better rules set.

        In American football, a team has 4 attempts (‘downs’) to advance 10 yards on the field. If they do, they go back to first down and they have another 4 tries to go another 10 yards. Otherwise possession is given back to the other team. In Canadian football, they only have three downs, which drives up the number of short passes (in comparison to running plays, which I find boring) and also makes field goals much much more relevant (that’s when you’re on your last down and you’re close to the goal line, so you have your kicker kick it between the goal posts for 3 points instead of getting 6 for a touchdown). I’ve seen games where there was a single touchdown but 3-4 field goals.

        Also, the field in Canadian football is 110 yards instead of 120 for American football.

      3. Kovbasa says:

        A few differences:

        CFL Field: 110 yards between endzones (100 in NFL);
        CFL Endzones: 20 yards deep (10 in NFL);
        CFL goalpoasts: front of endzone (back of endzone in NFL);
        CFL Field: 65 yards wide (53.5 yards in the NFL);
        CFL: 12 players per side (11 in NFL);
        CFL: 3 downs (4 in NFL);
        CFL: Unlimited motion in the backfield before the snap (only one player in the NFL is allowed to move);
        CFL: Kicking team must give the punt returner a 5-yard cushion. No Fair Catch rule;
        CFL: The Defense must line up one yard off of the line of scrimmage (In the NFL, the defense can line up pretty much as close to the line of scrimmage as they want);
        CFL: Uses US college-style tie-breaker format (NFL uses a slightly modified “sudden death” format);
        CFL ball is fatter than the NFL ball;
        CFL: In general, has a 20 second timer between the time the ball is spotted and the beginning of the next play (the NFL in general has a flat 40 seconds from the end of play)

        There are other changes, both in the rules and how the leagues are structured & financed, but those are the main differences. Despite all the similarities, the games are very different and the two leagues tend to involve very different strategies, and an all star in one league might not necessarily work out in the other.

        1. BlackBloc says:

          Thanks, that’s a lot more complete (plus I had miscalculated the American field’s length). Another difference is that if a team receives a kick and takes a knee in their endzone, in CFL it’s a touchback and is good for 1 point to the kicking team, whereas it doesn’t score any points in the NFL (I actually learned that yesterday, because one of the Superbowl teams took a knee in their endzone on a kick return and no point was added to the scoreboard… as you see, I don’t watch NFL often).

          In both leagues the play will start again farther upfield but I believe it’s not on the same yard line.

  45. SKD says:

    I know that there is a sport called football and I have even played backyard and sandlot football in the past and have favorite college and pro teams. But I have never cared for the act of watching a football game or any other televised sport for that matter. I would much rather go out and play a game than sit and watch one.

    For those sitting around enjoying the Superbowl this weekend I hope your team wins but I will be doing something else. Have a great weekend

  46. Fourthords says:

    Because it was so foisted upon me by friends and then my military acquaintances, I’m aware that the Super Bowl (I seriously almost typed “Super Football” there) occurs annually in the new year. Now, thanks to your post Shamus, I’m aware it’s happening today and that the “Steelers” (is that a slang reference, or their actual name?) are one of the prescribed two participants.

    The only time I’ve ever been inundated with sports happenings (as you appear to be?) was in 2006; while I was stationed in northwest Washington, the local football team participated in, and then lost, that year’s Super Bowl. This sums up my experience then: “The Sporting Life

    1. Shamus says:

      Heh. Yes, Steelers is the name of the team. Pittsburgh is often called the “Steel City”, due to the large number of Steel Mills around.

      In 2006, when the local team went to the Super Bowl? That was the Seattle Seahawks vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.

      Edit: I believe that game was the only time Penny Arcade covered football:

      EDIT EDIT: Yeah. That comic. The one you already linked. Okay then.

      1. krellen says:

        Why do I find it hilarious that you both linked the same comic?

        Edit: Obligatory link:

        1. Galad says:

          If I were Brahe(Tycho? *shrug*) as he is in this comic, I’d just raise my hands put the index finger of the left hand behind the perpendicularly crossed index finger of the right hand, as if showing a “cross” sign and tell the “weird alien” in front of me “Stay away from me, hellspawn!” and maybe wink as well..and let the football fan think I’m crazy afterwards lmao

        2. nilus says:

          Yeah I know how you guys feel. Living in Chicago things were crazy up until a few weeks ago. Then something happened and all of a sudden everyone was pissed and saying they want the Steelers to win.

      2. Sekundaari says:

        You appear to have linked to the same thing. EDIT: Whoa, I’m slow.

        Wait… Of course, that’s where I should have remembered “Steelers” from: Everett from The Pitt, for whom you collect steel ingots.

        1. Josh says:

          Yep, best part of Pittsburg is all of those one-pound Steel Ingots lying around that you can collect and trade in for game-breaking weapons.

          1. krellen says:

            Alas, Josh, you have dashed my dreams of a comment thread wherein we all link the same Penny Arcade comic.

            But you made me laugh, so I forgive you.

  47. Irridium says:


    You mean the event about commercials thats broken up by some dudes throwing a ball?

    1. MerryVulture says:

      Best description ever.

      1. Mumbles says:

        Look it’s Jonathon Coulton who thinks the same thing:

  48. Quicksilver_502 says:

    well, i’m british, so no. then again, i doubt i would if i was american since i don’t care much about football either. my dad tells me how the home team is doing and i nod. otherwise, i couldn’t really care less.

  49. Kale says:

    No interest, especially in football. That’s one sport that, to me, seems like something that is probably far more interesting to play than watch. Watching, from what limited exposure I’ve had, gets you maybe 10 seconds of action for every 5-10 minutes of footage of coaches and players walking around and talking to each other on the side.

  50. guy says:

    I enjoy watching american football, but not really following the reality show soap-opera associated with it.

  51. RTBones says:

    I grew up in a sports-loving family. American football and baseball were staples of life. In the years since my youth, though, I have grown to appreaciate fuessball/futbol/football/soccer more – give me Arsenal vs Manchester United, or England vs Argi, or USA vs Mexico. I am also more of a hockey fan now than American football (there is nothing like a home-and-home Blues vs Blackhawks, no matter where in the table both teams sit. And root for ANYBODY except the Red Wings – even the Blackawks fans here can agree with that). Do I enjoy the odd American football game? Sure. Do I know a little about the game? Yes. Am I going to watch the Super Bowl? Absolutely. Am I a “fan”? Not in the real sense.

    1. Falcon says:

      As a Blackhawks fan I agree with hating on Detroit. Though for my money give me home and home with the wings, sorry.

      1. RTBones says:

        No offense taken. I’ll take home and home with Detroit too. :)

  52. Heron says:

    During college, I only cared about local college football games, and that only because if I didn’t keep track, I’d be caught unawares by the ridiculous traffic that would magically fill the streets for miles around those evenings…

    But since I graduated, I haven’t cared at all about any sort of football, or any other sport. When people ask about it, I reply with something like this.

  53. Ivan says:

    I absolutely do not care, i only just realized that the super bowl was today.
    Actually, i caught a bit of ESPN and it struck me that “these are all a bunch of football nerds” I mean seriously, the excitement is the same, they’re all wearing their teams colors, some do body paint or dress up in some weird way. There really isn’t much difference between the super bowl and comic con. Oh yeah one more thing is the same, the dead stare on my face when i see these guys going on about the play of the year or something like that. That one is kinda the same one i often get while trying to explain why this mechanic in this video game works so well.

  54. Volatar says:

    So, for the rest of us, could someone explain the punchline?

    1. Shamus says:

      It was more of a silly situation than a punchline. From Wikipedia:

      The day on which the Super Bowl is played is now considered a de facto American national holiday,[2][3][4] called “Super Bowl Sunday”. It is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day.[5] In most years, the Super Bowl is the most-watched American television broadcast; Super Bowl XLIV, played on February 7, 2010 between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts, became the most-watched American television program in history, drawing an average audience of 106.5 million viewers and taking over the spot held for twenty-seven years by the final episode of M*A*S*H.[6] The Super Bowl is among the most watched sporting events in the world, primarily due to mostly North American audiences, and is second to soccer’s UEFA Champions League final as the most watched annual sporting event worldwide.

      I was obviously unaware that it was the day before the biggest sporting event in the US. Then I learned that our team was actually playing in said game. And then said “Go Steelers!”, as if I was suddenly invested in the thing.

  55. Mischa says:

    The Superbowl is actually the only American Football game in the year that I try to watch. TRY to watch, because being in Europe means hardly any channel will be airing it, and it also means the game starts at about 1AM local time…

    That said, I don’t watch it to root for one of the teams (both of which I know nothing about), but to see the advances in computer graphics. The Superbowl was the first place I saw something like the 10 yard line, virtual billboards and rotating views.

    So thanks for the heads-up; didn’t know it was tonight. (So little is the coverage over here!) If I can find a channel, I’ll be rooting for the Steelers now!

  56. mixmastermind says:

    As a College student at an SEC school, I MUST CARE. Otherwise the school spirit police will drag me to their dungeons and perform exotic tortures of the Orient.

  57. Noble Bear says:

    I have scarcely paid attention to football for a good many years now. When I was more abreast, I followed the Raiders (motto: we have more grudges than victories). As a “dutiful” fan, I don’t have anyone I’m rooting against even, so no, no preference whatsoever.

    The moment I’m most pumped about today is the release of the trailer for Captain America (pleasedontsuckpleasedontsuckpleasedontsuck)

  58. Neil Polenske says:

    I remember as a very young child back in the 80s there was a two-three (possibly four) year long span of my family spitting out the decorations for a bunch of superbowls cause apparently we were niners fans (49ers if anyone’s wondering). I didn’t watch football, but the opportunity to create decorations and cut construction paper was NOT something I was about to pass up.

    It also meant it was that time of the year when they would put on that cartoon of beer bottles playing football that I loved to watch. Even now I can’t tell you why.

  59. jng2058 says:

    Growing up in Chicagoland, I’ve been a Bears fan for most of my life. I happened to be 12 when the ’85 Bears did their thing, and they’ve remained my team of choice through thick and thin.

    Mostly thin, if we’re being honest.

    That said, I didn’t become fanatical in my fandom until I moved away to Dallas for half a decade. While I was down there, the Bears (and to a lesser degree the Bulls and White Sox) became a touchstone to home, and I paid much more attention their progress (or lack thereof) than I did when I was living near Chicago.

    I’ve since returned to the city of my birth, but even so, the habit of watching the Bears and following them closely has survived in the decade since I left Big D.

    So yes, I care about American Football…as long as the Bears are still alive. Since they’re hibernating for the year, I no longer care much at all about the Superbowl. I’ll be attending my brother’s Superbowl party, which was arranged before the Bears flamed out two weeks ago, but our current plan is to play board games while the game is on in the background. I expect there will be more attention paid to the commercials than the game itself.

    It is, as one of the other guests at the party said, “a cultural event.”

  60. Desgardes says:

    I had to be reminded it was today. But! I also don’t plan on watching it, because watching organized sports is the worst goddamn thing ever. I don’t mind playing, so I know how to play pretty much all the sports, kinda, but Christ, I could not watch it for anything.

  61. Fosse says:

    I learned that the Steelers are playing when I read your blog. I already knew that they were facing the Packers, because I live in Chicago and a few weeks ago there was a lot of hullabaloo about the Bears losing to the Packers and thus not going to the Superbowl.

    But I could care less, except that I get the day off of work today. (I work in live entertainment, which typically takes a nosedive on Superbowl Sunday.)

  62. Davie says:

    I love playing sports. If I can get enough of my friends together to play some soccer or basketball or whatever, we have a great time. However, I find watching sports one of the dullest wastes of time in the entire course of human history. It’s also rather sickening that billions of dollars are spent each year to make it easier to watch guys punch pieces of rubber around when the country is still dealing with poverty and poor education.

    So yeah, sports are fun, the ridiculous cult that’s been built up around them is not.

  63. Neko says:

    So a super bowl is some sort of sporting event, is it?

    1. Taellosse says:

      Nah. It’s a dish with mutant powers. ;-)

      Which, come to think of it, would be WAY more awesome than a bunch of burly guys fighting over a giant lozenge made of pigskin.

  64. Sucal says:

    This is why I’m glad to be Australian. I can simply sleep in and miss all the drama about a sport that nobody here really gives a toss about. Besides, NRL is much more exciting, considering American footballers all wear pads and protection.

  65. Taellosse says:

    Not remotely. I was vaguely aware that the thing was coming sometime soon-didn’t realize it was today.

    The last time I was even peripherally paying attention to the event was when the Patriots last got to it (I live in MA), which I guess was 2007? The few years before that were kind of annoying, because they were doing really well for quite a while, and won their way to the big game pretty regularly.

    I also don’t care about other sports much at all, so it was kind of tiresome a few years ago when the Red Sox finally broke their traditional losing streak and won the World Series.

  66. toasty_mow says:

    I’m gonna be cheering the steelers on today. Hopefully they’ll win and I get to be hated by all the packers fans in my dorm for a few days. :D

  67. Traska says:

    I live in Philly, which is a “Big4” city. That is, we have all four major sports (baseball, football, hockey, and basketball). We also have lacrosse, soccer, and indoor soccer. So yeah, Philly is a big sports town.

    Of the major four, though, the order in which I like my sports is:

    1 Hockey
    2 Baseball
    3 Football

    That is, they’re tied for the number three spot because they can’t go any lower. Our football team, the Eagles (motto: Please keep watching! We promise we’ll think about winning next year!) are hyped beyond all compare. Imagine if the Chevy Impala were suddenly touted as a high-end sportscar, that’s the Eagles. If it’s not news about a current game, it’s news about an upcoming game, or about how we can improve for next season. Or about how the preseason’s almost here. They have a three hour pre-game show. That is categorically insane. They could show last week’s game AS the pre-game show.

    So yeah, I follow football. Because I watch the freaking news. I don’t follow it by choice, I follow it by osmosis.

  68. Kristin says:

    I love football! Hate the Steelers though, sorry.

    I generally prefer college, smaller egos on average and just as fun to watch, plus I’m only 30 minutes away from a place I can go watch live if I want. On the other hand college has the BCS. The BCS is to college football as the Collector “trap” is to Mass Effect 2. The stupidest part that if you let it can ruin a beautiful thing.

  69. I’m rooting for the Packers because they don’t have a rapist headlining their team, that’s about it. XD Sorry Shamus’ family.

    I’m still not actually -watching- the Super Bowl, though. I stopped caring about -this- fucked-up season by the play-offs.

  70. PurePareidolia says:

    Foot…what now?



  71. Cineris says:

    There’s a game today?

  72. Angie says:

    Don’t care, couldn’t have told you who’s playing. Same with my husband. Although now I know one of the teams. :)

    I don’t know much about the game. Huddles and passes and touchdowns. Hiking? Alligators? [shrug] Don’t know how it works and don’t particularly care.


  73. ehlijen says:

    I rarely watch sports, but out of all the egg shaped ball games (rubgy, american football, australian football), I think Rugby is the most fun to watch. It just seems to have the longest stretches of the players actually being active and trying to achieve stuff. American football seems to do a reset of the teamlines every couple of minutes and australian football is built around the comparitive ease of gaining free kicks.

    But at the end of the day, Soccer is the real ‘football’ on account of the game where you actually kick the ball with your feet more often than you carry it with your hand.

  74. Silfir says:

    I’m German, but I’m currently planning to watch the Super Bowl tonight for the first time in my life. Mostly for the novelty, and because I have a bizarre fascination for sports of all kinds, of all nations. If it’s sports at all chances are good I’m going to watch it.

    For instance, right now, I’ve got live snooker running while typing this.

    Unfortunately, about an hour ago I have been recruited into the lines of the “cheeseheads” after reading their wikipedia article. Apparently the fans actually own the club and you can’t make money with its stocks, and without their NFL team Green Bay would have to be content with housing one of the nation’s biggest waterfowl reserves. This makes me and Shamus bitter enemies, I’m sad to say, so from now on I cannot in good conscience like this blog anymore. Filthy Steelers fan.

    At least until my sudden interest in American Football has subsided. Which, by my estimate, should take about six hours.

  75. Ravens Cry says:

    American Football? Don’t really care. In fact, I find it rather boring. Guy takes non ball shaped ball, runs to other end of feild, lots of guys try to stop him. Then 5 minutes of slow motion analysis, 3 minutes of commercials, then 5 more minutes of commentary, and then another 30 seconds of play.
    I don’t watch much sports really, the occasional ice hockey game mostly. Fast flowing and less pausing, much better all around to watch in my opinion. But then, I am Canadian, it’s in our contract. My favourite game to play would be soccer in an informal way. It even has a real ball! And you use your feet! No wonder the rest of the world calls that football.

  76. Jeremy says:

    I found out which teams were playing from the Gamefaqs poll of the day. >_>

  77. Atarlost says:

    Sports I follow: none.
    Sports I’d watch if online videos were linked or I stumbled across them while bored in a hotel room with no laptop: women’s figure skating, couple’s figure skating, women’s gymnastics, some variations on downhill skiing.

  78. Rosseloh says:

    1) No
    2) Yes, but only because my brother is a horribly condescending Packers fan, so Go Steelers!

    That said, the food is really good. Sometimes I kinda wish I was going to a party this year. But, then I get over it.

  79. Nihil says:

    Sports are the best thing to watch together with friends (if you have nothing better to do than watch something), because you can break into conversation at will and not lose track of the plot.

    Other than that, no.

  80. Shinjin says:

    After many years of not giving a crap about football, I moved back to WI – very close to Green Bay. As a result, some sort of fan-fungus has begun to affect me to the point that I actually watched most of the games this season with my family. So I guess put me in the gaming camp that also digs (Packer) football.

    Note – had they not made it to the Superbowl, I would not be bothering to watch. So I guess I don’t really give a crap about football, just the Packers. Besides, for their training camps they have a tradition where they borrow kid’s bikes and ride them with the kid to the stadium. And I could be experiencing tunnel-vision, but I don’t recall any recent Packer players having any reports of being dickheads.

    And for kicks, here’s a link to a cheesy fan song (no, that’s not me).

  81. I don’t care about American football, but I’m not American, so it’s allowed. Bet I’m about the fifth person to say that. Most of us Aussies believe that American footballers are a bunch of poofters. I mean, look at all that bloody padding they wear! Are they afraid that they might get a boo-boo? And what’s with all that stuff I hear about “strategy” and “picking the plays?” In Rugby League, there’s only one play; charge towards the other guys as fast as possible and hope that they don’t drag you to the ground.

    I do care — mildly — about the football codes that are popular in my home town (rugby league and soccer), but I’ll most likely only watch them if they’re in the finals or my mates are going and I have nothing better to do. The only sport I actually care about is cricket, because you can turn on the telly, go off and do some chores or something, and come back an hour later to find that nothing’s really changed.

  82. Nasikabatrachus says:

    Sometimes I try to watch football. When I do, I notice a disconcerting inability to pay attention to it for more than about a minute. On an abstract level, I like the Packers better than other teams, but that is only because the team’s ownership structure seems to be the only major sports franchise in the country that does not suck its host city’s coffers dry for dubious benefit.

  83. Varewulf says:

    I’m not much into sports if they’re not winter-related, and even then only a few of them. I did however learn on Friday that our Norwegian National Broadcast Channel have decided to air the Superbowl today. Biggest WTF moment I’ve had for a while. Do enough Norwegians really care about that game to watch the Superbowl? It can’t be for the ads like in the US, because the National channel isn’t allowed to air ads.

  84. Znaps says:

    I have had very little interest in American Football.

    I used to watch the Scottish national team – the Scottish Claymores – with my dad when I was younger.

    And in college I was on the American Football team. Although to be fair, everyone who signed up got onto the team. I really wanted to play Line, but I was pretty small back then. It’s a shame, since we only had enough players to field one line, and they had to play the whole game.

  85. Jonathan says:

    No. Not watching the game. I’m in Dallas.

  86. Kdansky says:

    It is Superbowl today?

    I do know the basic rules of handegg, but that’s about it. I could not name a single team. I do not care about football either. I’d rather watch a game of Starcraft, at least there I am not supposed to blindly pick a team and root for them. I can just root for the guy that is currently playing more to my liking.

  87. Meredith says:

    Too funny. My dad and brother are big Pittsburgh sports fans, so football season goes something like the above for me just about every year. I did know the Steelers were in the Superbowl before yesterday, though. :p (Oh, and clearly I don’t care even a little bit about American football. I’m not big on regular football either for that matter.)

    I think I’ll go play some more Dragon Age while everyone else worries about the game. :)

  88. Blake says:

    Aussie rules football is best football.
    My work for the past year has been on the Aussie Rules PS3/360/PC game, the game is nearing its end, the footy season starts again next weekend.


  89. Blurr says:

    I don’t follow American Football. What I don’t get is how people will come up to me and say “We won! We won *insert match here*!” Last I checked, being a fan does not make you part of the team.

  90. Nostromo says:

    Just as a counterpoint to the numerous ‘I’m European, so I don’t understand football’ comments, I’m French, I live in Ireland and I don’t have the faintest interest about Rugby nor the Six Nations tournament.

    However, having lived for six years in Philly, I am streaming the game and my bucks are on the Steelers, coz’ hey, PA, right?

    Although frankly I like the playoff and Conference finals games better. Superbowl Games are often… just not as interesting, entertainment-wise. Just my two cents.

  91. Mrs. Peel says:

    Not a football fan either, except for my alma mater’s team. I do love baseball, but I’m mad at the Astros for various reasons, so I haven’t been watching the pro games for a few seasons. (Also, honestly, the Little League World Series is more fun to watch.)

    A number of you are remarking that X sport (mostly football since that’s the subject of the thread, but I saw a couple anti-baseball remarks and quite a few anti-all-sport remarks) is boring. Any sport is boring unless you are willing to invest the time required to become an intelligent viewer. I spent an entire summer studying baseball, which is why I don’t find it boring or slow; I know what’s going on to a low level. I don’t know much more than the high level (e.g., run/ride/skate/swim that way to get the ball/puck over there) for most other sports, so I sometimes find them slow.

    (Incidentally, this is part of why most Americans aren’t interested in soccer/football – most people frankly aren’t going to invest additional effort to become intelligent viewers of another sport when between basketball, football, and baseball, the entire calendar year is covered.)

    Ok, time to convince my husband that I should get to spend the half playing FFX (and then conveniently not find a save point). Yay!

    1. Mari says:

      That’s so true. I think the exception might be hockey. There’s an appropriate amount of unregulated brawling to entertain people who don’t know what’s going on during the actual gameplay in hockey. Sadly, since the strike I’ve quit following hockey. I just had a lot more respect for them when they were underpaid and played for the love of the sport. Then all the other silliness that’s come out in the last year or two about gambling rings and dog fights and whatever else, it just doesn’t feel like the sport I love anymore.

    2. Daimbert says:

      I know baseball at a pretty low level, having watching it for years and always paying attention to those things.

      I am kinda a fan of baseball.

      I’ll say flat-out that it is, in fact, slow and a bit dull. That’s not a bad thing. But baseball is, to me, a tension sport: it’s more about waiting to see what will happen in those rare moments of action than it is about actual action. Every pitch gives the potential for something to happen, even though nothing happens on most pitches.

  92. Amarsir says:

    I can watch a game of just about any sport and appreciate it for what it is, but do I care or go out of my way to watch? No.

  93. Aufero says:

    While I’m aware the Steelers are playing in the Superbowl (and that they’re from Pittsburgh) due to the post, I couldn’t name the other team to save my life. Football just doesn’t catch my interest much, American or otherwise.

  94. Pingback: 11 Tactical Side
  95. Hitch says:

    To clarify what all this is about for the foreigners and otherwise un-American:

    1. Dante says:

      I didn’t laugh once at that, does that make me Un-American?

      1. Klay F. says:

        It means you’re under 60 years of age.

  96. uberfail says:

    Real men don’t wear body armour to throw a ball around. Real men play rugby.

  97. Mari says:

    Easy to say now, but my daughter and I were betting on Green Bay. Literally. My youngest daughter has a running bet with my mother-in-law for Superbowl. Last year the kid picked the Saints and won the whole family a steak dinner courtesy of grandma. This year Packer fever has won us another one.

    Honestly, I’m not a huge football fan. But I live in west Texas where football is a religion with thousands of zealous adherents filling high school stadiums every Friday night to worship the pigskin. Then Saturdays are spent driving to Lubbock for religious services at the Texas Tech stadium and Sundays “real” church has to let out early so you can make it home in time to catch the Cowgirls (ok, yeah, I hate Dallas and I admit it even though I’m probably going to be thrown out of the state for doing so). It’s just plain self-defense for me to know enough to follow the subject of 50% of conversations around here in the fall (the other 50% being comprised of oil prices or cotton prices depending on which industry you happen to be in).

    But about 3 years ago I actually started getting interested. I don’t watch the NFL games, but I follow the sports coverage real-time on the ‘net during playoffs. I don’t follow a single team, but I have a few that I prefer including the Packers, the 49ers, and the Redskins. And I have a few that I hate: mostly the Cowboys, that team from Houston that I won’t even name because they’re not the Oilers and never will be, and the Raiders.

  98. Ramsus says:

    I don’t care at all and I guess I bonus don’t care about either of the teams playing. I’m not much into sports at all in fact.

  99. Klay F. says:

    I watched it this year and I am so glad I did. Why? Because I got to see the new Captain America trailer.

  100. Nick says:

    I like the IDEA of American Football, specifically having separate offensive and defensive teams and the complexity of some of the plays, but I can never watch more than about 5 minutes of it without being completely bored.

    The only other televised sport/competition I watch is the World’s Strongest Man competition and the Dakar Rally.

  101. Alden says:

    So, er, who are the Steelers playing against?

  102. Erik says:

    I GM’d a session of Pathfinder this evening, instead of the Super Bowl. I do not care about it, although I’ve always thought that I could get interested in fantasy football – it’s a game like any other stats-based RPG, right? Kinda?

  103. Ingvar M says:

    I care about as much about american football as I do about football (or “soccer”, if you prefer). I know that Manchester United plays one or the other.

    Apparently, there is a team called “Steelers” playing AF, so I no wknow more about AF than I did yesterday. Amusingly, I’ve seen more american football “live” than I have football (never seen a game of footie, I’ve seen one game of american footie (“handie”?), between VT and UVa, I believe; my take-away observation is that it was cold outside).

  104. Felblood says:

    For one week every year I feel like some kind of alien infiltrator. No one must find out that my allegiances and interests are structured around a completely different paradigm. This year, I had a revelation.

    At work today, there was a Superbowl party, that took up an entire floor of our three story building.

    I didn’t work today, so I went to church. The sermon was regularly interepted by the pastor talking about the Superbowl parties. Apparently, that’s how you keep an audience interest on Superbowl Sunday.

    Afterward, I went to my cousin’s place to hang out. He was having a Superbowl party, but nobody there actually cared about the Superbowl. They were just interested in the commercials and the half-time show (both very disappointing).

    Most people don’t really care, they’re just faking it in the spirit of the holiday. Like an agnostic at a Christmas party, people are just embracing the excuse to get together and have a party.

    I feel so much less alone now.

  105. Patrick The Malcontent says:

    I will say it wasn’t always this way. During some time in which I sent about to put life into ruin, which didn’t succeed fortunately, Shamus was kind enough to let me crash in his basement temporarily. By temporarily I mean 4 years. And by crash in his basement I mean freeload. Anyways, during this time Shamus actually was interested in football, and in fact we had the superbowl XL party in his house. He was cheering, and even at one point cursed at the TV in disgust that the steelers continued to throw the ball in short yardage 3rd downs.

    I was very proud.

  106. X2-Eliah says:

    So, did something happen by now? Did the Pigskins win? (I heard that name around time to time, I guess that’s the third team on the gully, yes?)

  107. Benny Pendentes says:

    I remember Super Bowl Sundays in West Valley, Utah in the 70’s.

    If I recall correctly, that is the date of an epic battle between people who drive Ford trucks and people who drive Chevy trucks. Ties were broken via hand-to-hand combat between Coors drinkers and Bud drinkers.

  108. Ross Angus says:

    Black and gold mean one thing to me: the next Deus Ex game.

  109. PhoenixUltima says:

    I couldn’t give less of a shit about sports (football or otherwise) if someone paid me to.

  110. Raynooo says:

    Never watched US football (that’s how we call it) and just like baseball it seems to be both really complex and to have a lot of time where NOTHING happens.

    Anyway had the same kind of talk as Shamus with my brothers about soccer (aka “classic” football here), handball or whatever. Only thing I like to watch is Rugby !

    Haven’t read all the comments I was wondering if there has been a Rugby VS Football flame war ?

  111. Ragnos says:

    I’m from Chile, and although I understand and watch the Super Bowl sometimes, Association Football (Soccer) is where it’s at.

    For why Americans don’t like soccer, this might help you out:

    1. Raynooo says:

      Nice vid, almost makes you want to watch football. Obviously they don’t mention how most of the time it is boring and how attackers tend to act like whiny cheaters spending more time asking the ref for a penalty kick than actually PLAYING THE DAMN GAME.

      (This rant is mostly true for french, italian, portuguese and spanish soccer, don’t know about the rest)

  112. Numbnuts says: Is really the extent I know about football.

    I actually didn’t even know it was yesterday until someone messaged me asking if I was watching.

    So I did the only logical thing and replied saying that no, I didn’t like Hockey.

  113. Wolfwood says:

    I make it a habit of watching the Superbowl. But only the Superbowl. I treat it like an American Tradition, on the same par as say Thanksgiving or Christmas.

    Plus new commercials! :D Thought the best one was the Coke ad with the 2 enemy soldiers. ^-^

  114. TheAngryMongoose says:

    I think I watched the 2004 Euro Cup ’til England got knocked out, and that is the extent to which I’ve watched sports.

  115. Adam says:

    My college roomie and I ignored it completely. The only reason I know the Packers won is because for one brief, terrifying moment, EVERY update on my fb newsfeed was all about the superbowl.

  116. Galad says:

    HAHAHA, that was a great story, Shamus :) On a side note, I really liked this “total perspective vortex” thing and how you can fit in such intelligent and highly appropriate parallels..

    Anyway, you probably don’t know, but I’m from Eastern Europe, more precisely Bulgaria. I have Zero interest in rugby aka american football (tbh, I don’t even know if the two are the same). Yet I can tell(read: put you all to sleep :P) an amusing story about this. When I was back abroad, studying in an international environment, I was sort of a friend with an amusing, interesting black African(not african-american) girl..err, more like a woman. Short, plump, with piercings on her face in places I’d sometimes wonder if it’s not too painful hence not worth it to pierce like this .. She was VERY different from me, almost like a polar opposite, yet there was something about us that made us, I’d say, pretty good friends .. something like “opposites attract”..So anyway..she just LOVED rugby. To the point she was trying to get me hooked on it and I saw her being peacefully put to sleep by it. Er, because she likes it so much hence it has a peaceful effect on her. I could possibly understand a lot about her, but this .. strong affection of hers about rugby..I just couldn’t feel why and how it all.

    It’s truly a pity she couldn’t possibly get a diploma from where we were..a-anyway :(…… Her name was .. to the best of my memories – Linda Vongai. If anyone can tell me in brief how I can (try to) find her on Facebook (I don’t have an acc there yet, though I intend to make one soon gasp shock surprise horror etc lol), rather, if it amounts to anything more than typing 2 names and clicking search..well, I’d be grateful :)

  117. ccesarano says:

    I dunno, I think it’s a positive sign that someone would take the Madden video games and make a real sport out of it. Kind of shows the growing influence of video games on popular culture.

    1. asterismW says:

      ^ Win.

  118. Daimbert says:

    I have to say that I’m a fairly large sports fan, who doesn’t watch sports much anymore. When I had cable, about the only channel I really watched was TSN (the Canadian version of ESPN) and I watched most of the sports on it. So I still know a lot about it and still listen to and read the sports results, which means that I know the history of anything that made the headlines. Which is why I was cheering for Green Bay, because of the whole mess with Favre.

    But that’s about it for that. I’ve never been a big NFL fan, or a fan of the Superbowl. I’d actually rather watch curling.

  119. SolkaTruesilver says:

    I like American football, but I don’t really follow it. The only game I make myself watch is the Superbowl, and I have to admit the ads motivate 40% of that decision. (Luckily for me, my father procured an antenna that allows us to catch direct US feed father than have to settle for Canadian broadcast, which replaces the ads :-(

    (Doritos’ resurrecting crips was funny as hell!)

    Otherwise, I am somewhat of a big sport fan, but it’s Hockey which holds my heart. Montreal Canadien FTW!

    Then, Canadian Football, I like it more than American football. Then in 3rd comes American Football, then in 4th Soccer.

    I just don’t understand what people see in basketball, however :-(

  120. Christine says:

    When I lived overseas the Superbowl was such a big deal that military installations would give people time off to watch it. Of course because of the wonkiness of times zones and living on a heliocentric globe, that meant sometimes it would start at 4 in the morning or some such nonsense. Then people needed time off to recover from watching it. This was 10 plus years ago. Ships would make sure they had a satellite link so they could broadcast the game in the middle of the ocean.

    I watch it for the commercials.

    My brother is a major Steelers fan so if they make it to the SB then I pay a bit of attention to it. I watch it for the commercials, if I watch at all.

  121. Deoxy says:

    Sadly, I won’t be reading the whole comment thread today, but I hope you see this Shamus, because I HAVE LIVED THAT (with slightly different names and other details, of course).

    This year, I’m proud to announce that I actually KNEW the Super Bowl was this past weekend. In fact, I knew it almost a week before hand, actually, which is something of a record for me.

    Now, I don’t mind watching football, and it usually beats watching soccer (which is a BRITISH name, actually, even though they’ve switched from it, so the turds who get mad at Americans over the term can (insert a very rude term here)), which tends to have long periods of boring. What little I’ve seen of rugby (and that Australian variant of rugby) actually seem a good bit more entertaining to watch than either of them. (To be fair, from my experience, soccer is more fun to PLAY than football, if you’re in good enough shape for it, just not as much fun to watch.)

    In college, one year, I had the perfect roommate. He watched the game while I studied. When there was a commercial break, I watched the commercials and he studied. We both got what we wanted out of the Super Bowl without having to bother with the other part.

    I haven’t even watched the commercials in a few years now, though – they went through a slump, where the commercials just weren’t worth the effort of watching the game, and I haven’t been back to see if they’ve gotten out of it yet.

  122. Integer Man says:

    Totally relate.

  123. asterismW says:

    The only reason I knew the Superbowl was yesterday was because NPR (National Public Radio) mentioned it sometime last week. The only reason I knew who won (though I’ve since forgotten) was because NPR mentioned it this morning. If I didn’t listen to NPR, I wouldn’t have even known the Superbowl had already been played until I read your post this morning. Chalk it up to a profound apathy toward professional sports.

  124. Andrew says:

    Yay! – Go Avalanche :)

  125. Dev Null says:

    I was visiting my grandmother, and she was in need of a nap, so we turned it on. thats when I found out who was playing. We watched the first half, and I’ve got to admit that those guys are pretty damned good at what they do, and that makes it kind of interesting to watch. Not “sit through a halftime show where they try unsuccessfully to resurrect Guns n Roses on stage in order to watch the second half” interesting, but interesting.

    1. Tizzy says:

      I usually try to at least know who’s doing the half-time show. This year, I did not even know! And now I learn that my youth is dead and gone. They always have old and/or irrelevant acts for the half-time show, but it hurts when you can still remember when these people were cool…

  126. Jay says:

    Wow. Talk about feeling like a stranger in a strange land. I LOOVE sports of any kind and especially American Football. Give me a quiz on sports history in my lifetime and i’ll do as well as any obsessed fan. I also LOOVE video games and pop culture. And I feel alone.

    I guess I hadn’t really thought about it, but it seems I have two groups of friends. Those that play D&D, love video games (rpg’s, platformers, and action games), and watch movies with ‘distinction’ and then a second group who love sports, play video games (Sports and racing), and love any movie that has comedy or action in it.

    If and when I have these groups of people over, there is enough overlap to for them to enjoy themselves and have a good time, but they would never really interact with each other outside of this setting. It makes me wonder if its some sort of “side of the brain” type issue, like being left or right handed. Just an odd observation.

    But, I definitely can say that the properties that draw me in to sports are the same ones that draw me into video games. I like to break down the game, figure out strategies, and figure out how the rules work. Also, I enjoy seeing the end product of a job well done, whether its a great move on a playing field, or a well designed level or conversation tree.

    I am sort of surprised that there are less people like me on this board who enjoy both of these things. Or maybe they are all just staying silent for some reason. ??

    1. Cody211282 says:

      Being a nerd and liking spots don’t seem to go well together for some reason. I love watching football(and playing it when it isn’t freezing outside) but I’m the only one of my friends who really cares for it that much, and that sorta sucks because it’s always better to watch the game with some friends and a cold beer.

  127. Yar Kramer says:

    I’m only interested in the Packers winning to the extent that it was anticipated in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode “Giant Spider Invasion.”

    Oh, and Wil Wheaton was making Superb Owl tweets on Twitter …

  128. Even says:

    It’s hard to care about a sport they don’t even show here. Hockey is where it is mostly, and I have to confess I’m sort of in the same boat, if not on the same deck. I guess I’m lucky in the sense that hockey actually is fun to watch at times, since it’s action-packed and the “rhythm” of the game is usually always very tight. Only really bad downtime is between the periods.

    As for American football, it’s fun to read about, since here in Finland we don’t have the same kind of fire for any national sports. I mean, people do love them, but I’ve yet to see somebody bake cakes and decorate their house in a team’s colours. Only when it’s the world championship (or equivalent), that’s when everybody gets fired up and excited.

  129. Flavius says:

    Shamus, I find your claims to ignorance about American Football amusing, especially since I use your “Football: Total War” post as a basis to explain the game to uninitiated friends. Since many nerdish folk have a better understanding of sixteenth century warfare than the modern sport, it pays to explain the game in terms of cavalry, pike men, and generals instead of receivers, offensive lines, and quarterbacks.

    Also, the game was quite enjoyable. I was in the fortunate position of liking both teams, so the outcome either way would have been satisfactory. However, since Pittsburg got off to a rough start, I mostly rooted for them.

  130. Jon Ericson says:

    I’m late to this post since I was actually watching the Super Bowl. Being in LA, which has no local NFL team, I’m free to make illogical allegiances with distant teams. Like the Packers. (I swear it’s true, though I suppose not many here would care.)
    As someone else has said, sports are only interesting if you take the time to invest in them, which probably explains why few people here have. Playing a sport helps, obviously. But my wife has learned to enjoy college (or at least UCLA) basketball just by hanging around while the games are on. There’s just a lot of personalities in the sport that she latches onto.

    And in reality, every activity turns out to be much the same. Some people are sports fans, other are politics fans and others are soap opera fans. If you think these people are foolish, ask yourself how much self-evident information about [insert favorite game series here] an outsider would be shockingly ignorant of. Like who developed it. Everyone is a fan of something.

    EDIT: It’s probably too late now, but if you want to have something interesting to say to a football fan next season, try reading a few articles at The Walkthrough series by Mike Tanier sprinkles in plenty of non-football bits and generally entertains.

  131. Amorphic says:

    These Steelers sound like shady folk. I’ve seen Paul McCartney at a half time show before if that counts…

  132. Avilan says:

    I am Swedish, and (thanks to my American wife) I am really into Football. I don’t have a favorite team, per se, but both Steelers and Packers are on the list of those 5-6 teams I really follow.

  133. Nathan Sanzone says:

    I knew that the Superbowl was pending because in addition to talking about the local weather, some people were talking about how much money some people (that they know about from the news, I guess?) had spent on tickets, and that due to bad weather, they probably wouldn’t actually be able to GET to the Superbowl.

    I know that the Superbowl has taken place, because Hulu was featuring the winners of the Superbowl halftime commercial contest (I didn’t bother watching even the winning commercial, which was for a car, since I don’t drive them anyway).

    Also, I think that caring very much at all for the outcome of highly regulated contests of large groups of highly paid athletes…is pointless. I am unable to comprehend why so many people care at all, barring highly effective marketing.

  134. Maldeus says:

    I could totally get into sports if it weren’t how arbitrary all the teams are. I mean, what’s at stake here? What do all these teams represent? What happens when they win? Am I seriously supposed to get this worked up over some guy’s bragging rights? It kind of reminds me of console wars, actually.

  135. Mephane says:

    I am not even interested in professional sports at all. To me its just a business and totally boring to watch.

  136. Gary says:

    Hey, you found out about the Superbowl a day before I did! I didn’t know it was even happening until a few hours (I think) before.

    I really am not a fan of professional sports. The only sports I will watch on TV is the World Cup (soccer) and that is only once every four years :D

  137. Xpovos says:

    Not that it’ll get read at this position, but I’ll have to chime in for the minority here, apparently. I enjoy American Football. (I also enjoy European and Australian Football, but that’s another story. Oh, and I like Baseball and Tennis. But not Basketball…. loathe basketball.) I was rooting for the Packers on Sunday because I tend to root for the NFC over the AFC (translate that as I prefer Red over Blue).

    The game is fun, and many of the video games based on it are fun. I definitely understand the apathy most of us seem to share, but, I don’t. I grew up with it. Rabid Redskins fans in the family… though clearly that can’t account for all of it. Maybe I’m just not nerdy enough? Or maybe I’ve moved past that into some transcendanerd?

  138. Mersadeon says:

    I’m german, so american football isn’t really interesting to me. It kinda looks like guys are just running a few feet before they stop and take another try.
    But FuàŸball (soccer) isn’t interesting for me either – well, I’m at the soccer-world-cup-parties, but I’m there because of my friends (and free booze.)and to have fun. I look at the television, I can have fun with it, but there is so much that is even more exciting and fun to me, like learning the story behind a scar of someone I didn’t meet in ages or something like that, and there’s always someone to talk to on these parties. And at home, instead of watching 22 guys running after a ball I can run after a ball myself or sit at a PC and have fun in another world.

  139. Dante says:

    I thought about this post today, because it perfectly encompasses how I feel about sports: I don’t pay attention to any of them.

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