SI Vault
Soooper Dooperrr
Frank Deford
January 16, 1978
Last January, Sports Illustrated assigned Frank Deford to cover all the Super Bowl activities in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, he traded his press credentials to a stranger for a handful of seeds and spent the entire time visiting Santa Anita. Luckily, however, he was able to obtain wire-tap transcripts of phone calls that were made by several typical Super Bowl guests, who were enjoying this great American sporting spectacle for the first time. Deford has assured us that these random impressions will provide a more accurate portrayal of the week-long Super Bowl scene than he could possibly have managed.
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January 16, 1978

Soooper Dooperrr

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"I'm sorry, dear, a what?"

"A margarita. It is this dreadful liquid concoction that was, alas, not stopped at the Mexican border by immigration authorities. As you know, Sylvia, Americans employ salt to excess on all foods. We should have known that before long they would find a drink they could also destroy in this way. Such is the margarita, which has become a sort of liquid French fry throughout the Sunbelt. In any event, this was the staple of our bus ride."

"Did you get to the match?"

"Oh, my God, I'm afraid we did. We had to leave at the crack of dawn to reach our assigned parking place, and to accommodate the television network, which schedules the game for the convenience of saloonkeepers in New Jersey, rather than for the poor devils, such as myself, who make the supreme effort to appear at the bloody thing in person.

"Then, when we emerged from our mobile vault, we were greeted by a scene, darling, the likes of which you would not attribute to Dante at his most vivid. A full landscape of CB vans and motorcycles, with matching people, all at their most outrageously harlequinesque, all consuming equal amounts of beer and bus exhaust and dodging Frisbees, which clattered about like hail. The lights of the stadium were already on, ready to penetrate the smog, I imagine, even though it was not yet midday. Everywhere, a profusion of vendors—of the quantity and persistence of beggars in Bombay—tried to foist upon us souvenir merchandise of such quality that it would all surely be rejected in Taiwan as beneath human standards. Here and there, as we drew closer to this antique arena, scalpers were trying desperately to sell tickets at face value."

"But Michael, I understood you to say this was the great championship that every American longed to see."

"Oh, indeed, there is a great deal of glib sociological talk about how it is the average fan who attends this spectacle, but the fact of the matter is that those present are either expense-account freeloaders, such as myself, or zealots who have traveled thousands of miles, and thus must be well-off—and further, they must also be rather asinine to do so.

"So basically, luv, what you have at a Super Bowl is not an average American at all. You don't even have an average American sports fan. Instead, you have a collection of the affluent foolish—The Affluish Americans."

"The worst of the lot."

"By and large."

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