Saturday, February 6, 2016

Tale of the tape

I missed Super Bowl I.

I missed Max McGee fighting off a hangover with both sure hands to catch seven balls for two scores, and I missed Willie Wood's signature almost pick-six -- the play of the game, and one which he tragically no longer remembers. I missed Bart Starr and Len Dawson and Otis Taylor. I missed Boyd Dowler. I missed Donny Anderson KOing Fred "The Hammer" Williamson. I missed Fred Arbanas, Kansas City's one-eyed receiver, and Willie Lanier, and Buck Buchanan, and Ray Nitschke.

I missed Green Bay's 35-10 win because, at the moment it was happening, I was sitting on a piano bench trying not to be strangled by my tie. This was because our piano teacher, Mr. Burford, decided to schedule our annual  recital on the same Sunday afternoon as Super Bowl I. And so there we all sat, moms glowing with pride and dads trying to look as if halting renditions of Brahms were an acceptable substitute for ONLY THE BIGGEST FREAKING FOOTBALL GAME IN HISTORY.

So, I missed it. Which makes it all the more aggravating to learn that there's a man named Troy Haupt who has most of it on tape -- thanks to his father, who for some reason he could never name decided to tape the game. The problem is, most of us will never see it, on account of the NFL is run by a pack of cold-blooded hyenas, with all the vicious territorial instincts of same.

It seems  Haupt was willing to sell the tape to the NFL for $1 million, not an unreasonable figure when you consider it's the closest thing to an actual game tape that still exists, and the NFL, is, well, the NFL. In other words, it sits on a pile of money higher than Everest.

The NFL, however, only offered a Montgomery Burns-esque $30,000. Haupt, no dummy, all but laughed. And so the NFL said if he tried to sell it to anyone else, the league would fling lawyers at him until the end of time.

And so there you have it: A vital piece of football history held hostage by a bunch of soulless autocrats who value getting theirs more highly than posterity and the fans who made the league rich to begin with. Posterity should belong to those fans above anyone else, but no such high-minded principle apparently exists within the walls of Roger Goodell's mercenary kingdom.

I know what I think about that.

I think they should all have to spend tomorrow at a piano recital. Let them eat Brahms.

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