Many of you will probably be seated before your televisions at some time tonight; some will have bowls of popcorn or slabs of pizza lined up in front of them. Many will have a cold beer warming in his or her hot hands. It is the night you have been yearning for since last February. It is the opening of the National Football League Season.
As you know it is an ancient tradition to have the Super Bowl Champion play in the first game of the year. That tradition began in 2004 and has remained constant since that time. This is called the Kickoff Game and it will be surrounded with all the hoopla that the NFL can produce which means you will be inundated with commercials. At one time, I am told, the NFL was going to cut down on the entertainment because of the wardrobe malfunction incident but after due consideration on its effect on the profits the owners decided to have a delayed broadcast of the big show so that any showing of skin can be covered up.
What is amazing, truly amazing, is that the games attract so much notice and attention. This is because the NFL a while ago decided that the most important thing about football was not the game but the hype. It took a lesson out of the play book of J. Edgar Hoover the 48 year director of the FBI who went to bed on May 1, 1972 and did not get up again. Hoover knew that the most important thing the FBI could do was to publicize itself. He set up a whole division in the FBI that did nothing but send out propaganda about how great it was.
Of course the FBI did not have the ability to come up with a fantasy FBI scheme. It was hard to wager money on what agent would make the most arrests during any week when the people you were betting on were supposed to be opposed to betting. So as wise as Hoover was, he paled in comparison to the advertising geniuses hired by the NFL. If we were brainwashed into thinking the FBI was the world’s best group of cops so have we been doubly brainwashed into believing that the NFL is the greatest sports group in the history of mankind.
I say all that as an introduction to my true story in which the names may have been changed to protect the innocent and any resemblance to any person living or dead may be a pure coincidence.
I have a friend Rebecca (Becky) Bright who I have known for more than fifty years. She is happily married to her husband Bill who I met during their courting days so I have known him for about forty years. They are happily married.
As the years passed Bill Bright landed a fine job in the mid-West and to our chagrin they upped and moved there. Recently we received news from Bill that Becky had a stroke. All we first learned was that she had been rushed to the hospital and was being treated. We anxiously waited to hear more about her condition but the information came back in drips and drabs. Happily it did not seem that it was too bad since she was able to communicate but she seemed to be having some difficulty with her memory.
Rebecca’s sister Elizabeth (Betty) hopped on an airplane to go to see if she could do anything to assist. With Betty being there we all felt much better. Bill Bright, as you might expect, was really traumatized by the event so Betty quickly took over dealing with Becky. She would call us to keep us posted on her progress. One night she called to report and told us this.
“I was talking with Becky so I wanted to see if her memory was improving. I decided to ask her some questions. I asked her if she knew who Bill Bright was. She looked at me with a blank stare which indicated to me she had no idea Bill was her husband of more than forty years. I asked her again and received the same response. Then for some reason I asked her if she knew who Tom Brady was. She perked up and said “he’s the quarterback for the Patriots.””