Valley Voices

One dad’s Super Bowl takeaways

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, No.12, in action against the Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl 51 on Feb. 5. 5
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, No.12, in action against the Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl 51 on Feb. 5. 5 Associated Press

It’s hard to believe an NFL fan like me would miss a Super Bowl, but I almost didn’t watch the game. It’s true.

My Minnesota Vikings had a rough season trying to cope with injury after injury. That, coupled with poor calls by officials, had me questioning how big a football fan I really was. Several blown calls throughout the season led to drives that may have changed the outcome of the games played.

The week before the Super Bowl, two phone calls changed my mind. My dad and brother, each at separate times, wanted to know where we were watching “The Big Game.” After some thought, I was in. It was an opportunity for much-needed family bonding time. Besides, our children hadn’t had a play date in a while.

We ended up at my parents’ house. Instead of cooking, we ordered Chinese food. After placing the large order, I drove to make the pickup. The typically busy road was quiet that day. Interestingly enough and contrary to my typical experience, the restaurant we go to for our takeout food was empty.

With the game on in the background, we spent time eating and watching the kids rip up a coloring book and make a mess on my parents’ floor. As we cheered the Lady Gaga half-time performance, the kids began to dance and toss up in the air the ripped pieces of the coloring book. We pretended it was confetti.

Despite my negative attitude that week, I was glad to have watched the game. It reinforced some life lessons:

▪  Never give up. By the start of the third quarter, many people thought New England was out. Nothing was going right for the Patriots, but they continued to take small steps toward victory. One yard at a time, they moved the ball forward. With patience and dedication, they marched toward the end zone.

▪  Age is a number. New England quarterback Tom Brady is 39 years old. That, to many, is still young. But in quarterback years, it is equivalent to a high-mileage vehicle. The Boston Globe in 2014 wrote an article about aging quarterbacks titled “At what age do NFL QBs start to decline?”

In the article, the author says, “Very few quarterbacks reach 37 during their careers.” Brady is a player like no other. At 39, he spent the year leading his team through tough battles. By the end of the game, he had set numerous records.

▪  Teamwork. In the first half, it seemed like the Patriots’ receivers weren’t able to catch anything and their defense wasn’t able to stop anything. Balls were being dropped left and right, and Atlanta players were flying past defenders. There was no finger-pointing that I could see; New England players just continued to play as a team.

▪  Continue your dreams. By now you know that the halftime performance was by Lady Gaga. Whether you like her or not, or whether you agree with her politics (which I don’t) or not, you have to admit she stayed focused on her dream of being a performer.

Lady Gaga has been quoted as saying that other children would tease her and say things like, “Why do you always sing and why are you so into theater?” Those children are now adults and probably enjoyed the game – from the cheap seats.

▪  Don’t celebrate too early. My heart sank for Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank. When his team was in the lead, his smile was from cheek to cheek. He was jumping up and down, and was in celebration mode most of the time. As the tide turned, his smile became a frown. For the record, my heart was in Atlanta. It put together a wonderful season and was a surprise to many.

Despite my own personal issues throughout the season, a fan is a fan. I watched the Super Bowl and was glad I did. Now, on to next year. I hope the Vikings can make it through their injuries and win some games. The Super Bowl next year is in Minnesota. Let’s see what life lessons are learned there.

Sevag Tateosian is host and producer of The Central Valley Ledger on 90.7 FM KFSR Fresno and the Community Media Access Collaborative Fresno/Clovis – CMAC Channels Comcast 93 and Att 99.