Friday, January 31, 1997

Close Encounters of the AF Kind

The California Freeman family met Antonio Freeman's family in New Orleans on Monday. Here is the story. During the actual weekend of the Super Bowl, we were staying across Lake Pontchartrain in Covington. On Monday, after a brief side trip to Kiln, MS, we drove back to New Orleans and checked into the Embassy Suites. When we checked in, we learned that many (maybe all?) of the Packer families had been staying there (the players were at the Fairmont).

Anyway, I was waiting for a beer at the bar, when I noticed that the woman in front of me was wearing a Packer hat with "Antonio Freeman" and "86 Son" embroidered on the back and side. I introduced myself and my family to her, as the California Packer Fan Freeman family, and she was nice enough to take us over to introduce us to Antonio's father, brother, God-Mother, and one other whose connection I did not catch. They were very nice and appreciative of our words of congratulations. I discussed the Championship game with the father, as we had both been there, and we discussed the record-setting Super Bowl catch. We both mused on what an amazing year he had, what with breaking his arm in the middle of the year.

Anyway, they couldn't have been nicer, and it was a real pleasure to meet them.

Tuesday, January 14, 1997

Championship Game Report

Several of my friends have asked me what it was like to be at the game Sunday. As a football game, this was not one of the best of all time. Even though the Packers were only up by 7 points
at the half, it seemed clear that they would have to really mess things up to lose the game. I overheard one guy on his cellular phone during halftime, explaining that "The game is over! They can't move the ball at all, and the Packers are rolling." I wasn't quite as confident as he was, but let's face it - he was right. The way they were moving the ball vs. the Panthers, and the way the Panthers were being bottled up by the defense, it probably would have taken a series of 2d half turnovers to give the Panthers much chance.

So while this game had the excitement and pageantry of a really big game, it didn't have the tension of a really close game, such as the instant replay game of 1989, which I attended, or the OT victory in October over the 49ers, which I did not. But any lack of tension was made up by the pure emotional joy of realizing, somewhere in the middle of the 4th quarter, that the dream was really going to come true. The signs started coming out, the chants of Su-Per-Bowl started. Many people, myself included, had tears in their eyes, as the players jumped in and greeted the fans in the stands after the game, and then during the entire trophy ceremony. That is what I will always remember about this game, more so than any of the individual plays or performances.