Happy Palindrome/Super Bowl Day
Happy Palindrome Day everyone.
As everyone's Facebook news feed has pointed out by now, it's the first one in 909 years, since 11/11/1111.
The Super Bowl that year was called the Battle of Shaizar. The Crusaders, who were coached by King Baldwin I, had stormed through the playoffs behind a hotshot quarterback who ran a medieval version of the West Coast offense out of the slingshot formation and had an arm like a trebuchet. Legend has it "Baldy" had a lot of weapons at his disposal, but was known to struggle with clock management and had a habit of coming up short in big games.
Seljuk Army defensive coordinator Mawdud ibn Altuntash of Mosul relied on a Wide-9 scheme with defensive linemen who used maces and spears while charging into the backfield. Linebackers often blitzed while the secondary relied on a Cover-Two zone to guard against deep throws.
Fans feasted on buffets that included bread, chicken, fish, venison and peacock. Because Buffalo wings were a few years away from becoming popular, mustard was the preferred dipping sauce. Naturally, they washed the food down with beer known as "godale," which was produced by the medieval version of 7 Mile Brewery in Rio Grande. As expected, Romans enjoyed wine that was the predecessor to the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc made at Cape May Winery in Lower Township.
The halftime show featured the rap group the "Barbarians" doing Gregorian chants and the ever-popular dogs chasing frisbees, or in this case wooden discs.
The game ended in a draw and because overtime rules wouldn't be established for another eight centuries or so, they were declared co-champions.
Tancred was voted the game's MVP after catching a TD pass on a trick play known in local lore as "Aleppo Special" and was reportedly the first to shout "I'm going to Disney World!"
Today, Kansas City and San Francisco will try to match that drama and excitement in Super Bowl LIV.
Some Eagles fans are rooting for Andy Reid to finally get a championship. Since the Birds won the title two years ago, they're pulling for their former coach to get one. North Wildwood residents and summer visitors are likely favoring the 49ers, whose lineup includes guard Mike McGlinchey.
McGlinchey has spent his summers in North Wildwood along with a contingent of relatives like cousin Matt Ryan, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback. The group is known for epic pickup football games at Bill Henfey Park at Eighth and Central Aves. in North Wildwood.
Super Bowl Sunday usually invokes a series of personal memories.
In 2004, I made the trek to Jacksonville, Fla. for Super Bowl XXXIX to cover the Eagles' 24-21 loss to New England. A few days before the game, I attended the Media Super Bowl party at TPC Sawgrass. Fueled by a couple margaritas, I hit the famous island green on No. 17. The event has been embellished over the years, which my daughter, Ashley, takes great delight in recounting at family parities.
A few years ago, I decided to smoke some pork ribs for the game at home and bought two racks at Westside Wholesale. I covered them in my special dry rub and wielded a hefty knife to separate them, prompting my wife, Karen, to say, "Don't cut yourself. I don't want to spend the Super Bowl in the hospital."
Fifteen minutes later, we were headed to Urgent Care.
I'm smoking ribs again today, though Karen made sure to buy some that were already separated.
I'm going to take the Niners to win 31-13.
After all, it is Palindrome Day.