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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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"Hold on there, boy. That's all we need—ole Doreen goin' round tellin' every soul in the county that mah sports staff don' like the Super Bowl. You plumb crazy, Punch? You been drinkin' too many of them sissy California drinks, where they stick Morton's salt up alongside the rim?"

"Well, it's a damn nothin', Herb. It's all hokey, it ain't got nothin' to do with sports, let alone the gridiron, and...."

"Punch, Punch Zimmer! You gone be committed, you talkin' so foolish. Why, all the nationally known fellas I'm a-watchin' on NBC, they tell me the Super Bowl's 'bout the next best thing to heaven. And CBS allows that only heaven and last year's Super Bowl beats it. Now, Punch, who am I gonna b'lieve: ole Punch Zimmer from Mesquite Creek, or NBC and CBS? Hmmm?"

"Flat-out, Herb, I'd b'lieve me. 'Cause I ain't sellin' no commercials. And I ain't no regular NFL writer, shillin' for the league by callin' it a 'showcase.' I give you a little hint, Herb: anytime you hear a fella say this here is a showcase, that is one sure sign you have got yourself a shill."

"But Punch, jes' ever'body says it's a showcase. If it ain't a showcase, what is it?"

"Well, I guarantee you it ain't no football game. You and me seen football games all over the Panhandle and as far away as Waco, and this sure ain't no game. This here is one big ole commercial that runs for a week, with a football game chucked in at the end. And excitin'? I seen more interest generated in a pinball game down at Skeeter's Starlight Lounge than for what-all Ellay cares. They might as well be playin' this game on the moon."

"Punch Zimmer, you stop with that subversive talk. Why, it says right here in the wire service that, quote, interest is at an alltime high, unquote, and Vikki Carr herself gonna sing America the Beautiful. And then you come on the phone tellin' me stories that it ain't a showcase."

"You know, Herb, maybe I ain't on no first-name basis with the players, maybe I ain't never been to no Indonesia to see Muhammad Ali fight, maybe I only got the one off-cream leisure suit to mah name, but I can spot me a phony. This ain't no Super Bowl; this is a supermarket."

"Well, damn you, Punch, you keep these anti-'Merican thoughts to yourself, you hear me? And what do you know about traditional classic American e-vents, anyhow?"

"All right, I'll tell you one thing. When I was in the service up in Fort Knox, a spec-four in armor, I seen me two Kentucky Derbies, and also one year a bunch of us went up to Indy and seen that, too. And when I got released, 'fore I came back home, I went over to see mah cousin Ralph who lives in Greater Pittsburgh, P.A., and it was when the Pirates was playin' the O-ree-oles in the World Series; so no, I ain't no virgin in these exact matters. And lemme tell you, Herb Wiley, the Derby and Indy and the World Series is altogether diffrunt from this here showcase. Them other things was fun and there was real folks. And you know what-all, Herb? They had charm. And you're sayin' to yourself, what does ole Punch Zimmer know about charm from a carburetor, and I'll jes' tell you flat-out that if sumpin' ain't got no charm, then all of a sudden you know what charm is. And that's a fact, Herb."

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