Saturday, February 4, 2017

Beer and football VII — playoffs, week four (bye)

The beer: Samuel Adams Hopscape Wheat Ale
The commentary: Still fits.

Twas a bye week of Super Bowl memories, thanks to the NFL Network, which I still can't believe is part of my one-step-beyond-basic cable package. Leading up to the Seahawks game a couple of years ago I already covered where I was at with previous Patriot appearances (plus Buccaneers–Raiders, for some reason, though ignoring my first conscious Super Bowls in Redskins–Dolphins, Redskins–Raiders and 49ers–Dolphins, which might have been when we actually got Chinese food). Indeed, a series of Film Session recordings brought some of it back, even the more-competitive-than-I-remember Packers game that felt like a lifetime ago. It was. I wore a red, white and black Banana Republic sweater that night and walked out in a haze after Desmond Howard's backbreaker. Bill Parcells wasn't far behind.

I skipped the Bears and the first and second Giants disasters (shudder) and, after XXXI, watched the four victories in order, saving an electro-jazzed XLIX for the beer of the week. Said Hopscape was smoother than its name implies but sure, Atlanta proprietor, stop selling Sam Adams for a week. (Isn't it brewed in Ohio now anyway?) You're lucky I stopped drinking Coke except when I go to the movies three times in a week.

Supplemental Pats Pulpit material, in which they similarly revisited past Super Bowls, set the scenes and tones a little beyond, you know, slow-motion John Kasay schadenfreude, particularly when letting one's memory fill in the blanks of a bare-bones but well presented David Tyree dagger. (Cheers to Shutdown Corner, as well, for remembering Asante Samuel's non-interception and Mike Carey's judgment over what is and is not in the grasp.) The world's smallest violin—this is G's third Super Bowl in her five-and-a-half years.

Tomorrow, Super Bowl Sunday, "the Big Game Day of Our Lord," I will attempt and fail to sleep in. If I awake past seven it will be welcome—and mean that the nap G. is taking as I type this didn't knock out all of her exhaustion. She's usually in our room around then, asking to watch "teebee" because weekend mornings are really the only periods of screen time we allow. Parenting is hard but it eases up when your child can become engrossed in something else while lying right next to you. (We'll still judge harshly those who let their kids play games on cracked-screen iPhones at every restaurant I've ever been to. But neither are we perfect. I mean, the swearing on this blog.) We push teebee time off until eight and ask her to entertain herself with puzzles/books/elaborate Playmobil dioramas so A. can get some more sleep (bless her) and I can catch up on week-old Patriots news (Brady's dad again?), since I have no realistic shot at dozing so late. Sleep until noon all you want, nineteen-year-old self. Grab it while you can.

This is when it will sink in. Injury speculation will evolve to concern (Alan Branch, who needs to play), resignation (Nate Ebner, who maybe shouldn't) or hand-waving dismissal (everyone else, who might as well put their shoulder pads on now). I'll take everything I've read about the Falcons this week with a grain of salt and dive deep into Patriots Football Weekly, a team-owned enterprise that is the only source for unbiased analysis. Can the Falcons' defensive front seven scheme up some decent interior pressure? Is it enough to limit Julio Jones and let the running backs do what they want? How much does the XLIX win over Dan Quinn's defense matter? Are Martellus Bennett and LeGarrette Blount due to break out this postseason or will they barely register on the stat sheet again? Am I superstitious or do I just like to ask a lot of questions to flesh out a pre-Super-Bowl entry? If only my regular commute still involved driving by Danilchuk Auto Body.

Once I've learned all those answers and not budged from my ninety-percent certainly that the good guys will win by a touchdown or more (and G. has watched a solid two hours of Octonauts) we'll all freshen up and leave the house later than planned to meet friends in Salem for brunch. I'll get an egg sandwich, a muffin if they have any and probably a beer just because. We'll walk around after, maybe hit the playground and then swing by Trader Joe's on the way home because there isn't enough chaos in the world. G. and I will look for Larry the Lobster so she can score a lollipop that won't do her baby teeth any favors and then we'll head home to eat a late lunch and start that Sgt. Pepper puzzle to distract me from the tension that comes with seven Super Bowl appearances in fifteen years. Eventually we'll order a pizza (chaos redux) and settle in for some pregame hot air. G. is excited to watch and is already talking about training camp later this year. She's the best.

At kickoff I'll pop the top off another music-themed beer, paving the way for more nonsense criticism that isn't of Trout Mask Replica or, generally, football. I picked this up a couple of hours ago at yonder culinary shop that, according to its Facebook page, was offering "one free rub per customer" with any purchase of two six-packs. I await satisfaction and so bought a vaguely musical bottle of wine as well. The internet cries for help.

And then? And then! "What time does 'What time does the Super Bowl start?' start?" Kickoff! And I'm feeling pretty good.

"I'm feeling pretty good."
Tony Eason
January 26, 1986

Up next: SBLI. Cheers!