Dear Phoenix, Wishyou were here. All you folks had to do was vote yourselves a paid holiday. Ano-brainer. You get a day off in January, and, bonus, you get the 1993 SuperBowl. I can't imagine what you were thinking. Tampa, which held the Super Bowla couple of years ago, claimed it netted $150 million. And, bonus, the game putTampa on the map. I'm not saying you folks in Phoenix need the dough, and I'mnot saying nobody knows where you are—L-6 on my State Farm Road Atlas. Butwouldn't it be nice to have visitors who aren't members of the Federal WitnessRelocation Program?
To be honest, Icouldn't have cared less when you had the Super Bowl taken away from you. Butthe NFL ended up putting this thing, this 100% entertainment bloat, in my towninstead. I guess the league figured that Los Angeles not only has a MartinLuther King Jr. Day, but it also has a Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. MaybeArizona will get the picture now. Of course, you have to feel for the NFL,which is about 60% black. It can hardly countenance a state (we know, Phoenix,that you were for it all along) that wouldn't vote itself a day off tocelebrate King's birthday. Anyway, the upshot is we here in L.A. have got theSuper Bowl—again. We've already got the Emmys, the Grammys, the People's ChoiceAwards, the Oscars and The Arsenio Hall Show. Like we need moreentertainment.
It's not thatwe're inconvenienced by this, only mildly irritated. The NFL comes to town andexpects us to automatically join in the frenzy. Sorry, but we won't do it.Maybe if this thing were held in Phoenix, where there has never been a SuperBowl (or a genuine NFL team), a real rumpus would break out, with deejaysholding contests to see what totally disgusting things people would be willingto do to win a ticket. But in L.A.—now, don't take this wrong—there are morethings competing for our attention than the finale to the Bud Bowl.
I got to laughingthe other day when the Super Bowl teams came to town. The way the NFL movedthese guys around—the charter planes unloading on the far reaches of thetarmac—you would have thought they were in...Phoenix. The presumption wascomical. The Dallas Cowboys showed up at their hotel in Santa Monica and therewere more guys with yellow EVENT STAFF¬¨¬®‚Äö√Ñ‚Ä†jackets on than there wereyahoos.
An NFL event staffguy who ordinarily likes to flex some crowd-control muscle was thoroughlydisappointed. "This is America's Team?" he said, disgusted, looking fora yahoo to wrestle to the ground. "Last year at the Skins' hotel inMinneapolis we had 300 people, crazy-! wild." I'm guessing that when thisthing goes to Phoenix, you all are going to have to call Minneapolis for itsleftover barricades.
This is no knockon you, Phoenix. But in the middle of this grand entrance, as these Cowboysfiled up the stairs in front of Texas TV folks mainly, thinking of themselvesas some kind of royalty, Gene Hackman stuck his head out of the hotel bar tosee what the fuss was about. Those cameras did a one-eighty, even the ones fromWaco. I mean, do you want Michael Irvin or Popeye Doyle?
See what I'mgetting at? Just myself—and I'm a little out of the loop these days—I know aguy who knows a guy who knows Joe Pesci. Played in a band with him in Jersey.He knew him back when, so you can imagine the stories / can tell. There arestars, and then there are stars, and we've got the real ones. So, I'm sureEmmitt Smith is huge in this league, but excuse me if I don't swoon in hispresence.
As for the game,now, I know this is supposed to be a big deal, the ultimate game and all that.But this is our seventh ultimate game out here. Been there, done that. Besides,the games are always bad, and what's more, they're on TV. So I don't know whoit is who buys all those seats at the Rose Bowl every time the Super Bowl comeshere, but I promise you it's not a Southern Californian who has everexperienced traffic control around Arroyo Seco. Nobody with a bit of sensewould hop into his car and duel RVs from Buffalo for a patch of grass on gameday. We had an Olympics here back in 1984, and the locals were so terrified togo out-of-doors, never mind to go see events, that we actually had reversetraffic conditions. The freeways were empty at rush hour.
We'll watch thegame on TV or do something else. Why? Because we can. The day the teams checkedin? At the beach, 79°. Oh, you could join 100,000 others in an admittedlyscenic ravine, or you could head for the beach and strap on the Rollerblades.I'll do neither—more about that later—but here's how afoot-ball player,defensive lineman Anthony Smith of the Los Angeles Raiders, explained hisabsolute lack of interest in this big game: "I've just got things todo."
To tell you thetruth, this whole countdown to Super Bowl thing plays a little thin out here.It's not that we're jaded. We've just got things to do. Monday, the BuffaloBills practiced in secrecy at USC, not that security was a problem for them.The real action was 200 yards down the street at the Shrine Auditorium, wherethe American Music Awards presentation was held. There, thousands lined thesidewalks to bask in the reflected light of sequins and lame. If an EVENTSTAFF¬¨¬®‚Äö√Ñ‚Ä†guy is looking to toss a yahoo in this town, he ought to be workingthe entertainment side of the street.
Do you see whythis town is not abuzz over a Jim Kelly-Troy Aikman matchup? We've got BillyRay Cyrus taking on Travis Tritt. ("Here's a quarter," the Achy BreakyMan offered the sniping Tritt at the awards ceremony. "Call someone whocares.") Sorry, but when the Boys from Nashville fall to fighting, theNFL's on its own.
It's not like theNFL hasn't guessed that the Super Bowl, by itself, doesn't galvanize SouthernCalifornia. When the game is in other towns, the league flies in a marchingband and calls it a halftime; but for LA. the NFL finds it necessary to hireDr. Strangeglove himself to fill seats and hold off the counterprogramming atFox. This is probably a good move, but unless Michael Jackson's hair is onfire, we're not going to leave the house to watch him do just two songs. Imean, I used to live in a part of L.A. that was 20 minutes (and some millionsof dollars, to be sure) from him. I move, he moves, and he's still 20 minutesaway. It seems I can't shake the guy. Now, I'm not saying I can drop in and logtime in his hyperbaric chamber, but I'm positive I can take a little drive andgo look at his llamas. So putting him in the Rose Bowl does not have all of usin a fever.
Actually, the mostinteresting thing to ever happen in the Rose Bowl was not a Big Ten victory. Iwas there once on New Year's Day when the stands began shaking, rocking backand forth. Earthquake! The fans, who had come from Michigan to watch BoSchembechler throw a temper tantrum, positively squealed in delight. Now,that's entertainment! Universal Studios, alerted to the showmanship of MotherNature/California Division, built an attraction that simulated the experience.Not football, an earthquake. See what you're up against out here?
As I say, Phoenix,wish you were here. The way the NFL struts this game around—the Greatest Showon Earth—annoys us. Maybe this flies in Phoenix. But in L.A. this insistence onhaving Super Bowl fun, on celebrating a game between Buffalo and Dallas, iswearing. Maybe we've just got things to do.
I'm not as crankyabout this as others. I regard this Super Bowl less as an irritation than as anopportunity. I've got plans. Come game day I'll enjoy some of those reversetraffic conditions and actually get the family out on the freeway. This is thekind of day, with people huddled around TVs too afraid to go out and mix it upwith the RVs from Buffalo, when traffic's light and lines are short. It's sureto be a perfect day. And by the time it ends and the cameras in Pasadena havefound their winning quarterback for what I hope is the last stupid word on thissubject, I will have already been to Disneyland.