Well most people see geeks and nerds. Nerds wear pocket protectors, big thick glasses and have Spock Ears and a collection of Star Wars toys. Geek is about loving something perhaps too passionately. Generally we like our Star Wars, our computers, or our cell phones and many techies are geeks. But you can be geek about other things. Will our Knitting geek’s raise your hand and be counted, for instance!
Two weekends ago a lot of testosterone got together in Phoenix and Pittsburgh with participants coming from New York and Maryland and charted a two week flurry of media hype and attention. Observers from all over arrived in the Valley of the Sun and Steeltown to take part in these two events which really other than making a lot of money for some people had the single effect of polarizing the country in a rift more serious than any political election.
For the mean, nasty, bruising Pittsburgh Steelers football team would head to Tampa, Florida to meet the unlikely underdog, the Arizona Cardinals a team with a lot of talent and no respect. The old Underdog cartoon had a mild mannered beagle who had a drug addiction, but when he was high, he was unstoppable to a heroic level. Much like that beagle, the Cardinals are a quiet mild mannered team that you can’t help but like. They don’t offend anyone.
This is the Super Bowl. Super Bowl XLIII to be precise (thats 43 for the non-math and sport-geeks reading this). Forty-two times before two teams of oversized, over-muscled, armor laden warriors have met on a battlefield to war for three hours and at the end have one victor stand tall.
The Steelers have been to this event more times than people can remember and have come out the victors five times. For the Cardinals, this is their first trip to the show and Sunday’s game should be a show with their high flying offense against a lot of pain and anguish coming their way from the boys from Western Pennsylvania.
But this isn’t about the 100 or so players or even the 75,000 spectators that will pack the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. This is much bigger. Even those Nerds who normally don’t care about sports will be come a sports geek for the day, turning their 60′ plasma TV’s off of the Sci-Fi channel for NBC’s coverage of the game. Gigapeeps will watch this one event around the world. It is probably the biggest event on the planet.
But why as this become such a big event, after all its a bunch of brutes pushing themselves around? Well a good part of it has to be our natural human instinct for conflict and combat. We are natural warriors and even the most passive person will find a little warrior bubbling up in their soul no matter how hard you put it back. Maybe you don’t care for the combat, but you will generally cheer for one of the teams.
As I boarded my flight back to Raleigh, the Captain had his Cardinal’s Conference Championship Cap hanging up for the 180 or so passengers to revere. Needless to say the 5 Steelers fans flying to Tampa for the game had to get their shots in.
Its also about money and its something that money geeks pay very close attention to. This year, the ads for the game are going for $30 million per 30 second spot, thats a megabuck a second for watching someone hawk their wares. The economy sucks? Well there are some people this isn’t a problem for as NBC will no doubtably sell out its inventory of ads for the game. Of course that money will go to NBC, the NFL, the teams, the players and the rest of the league and their players and staffs, so when its divided out, it should still be a good economic stimulus package. Perhaps the US Government should consider this model?
Anyway, this geek and his absolutely non-geek wife or the anti-geek (I hate to break it to her, she’s a sports and couponing geek) will be hanging out with some photo geeks around a really high tech audio/video geek’s dream setup to watch those 30 second commercials and a little ass-kicking.
So down a beer, eat some chips, pick a side (this Cowboy’s fan will be cheering for his #2 in their quest for #6, sorry redbird lovers….) and take part in this spectacle that is “Geek to the Core”.