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Pause The Pandemic, We Need This Super Bowl Sunday In 2022

Super Bowl LVI

The Super Bowl has been a part of our lives for so long, when it was first played, avocados were affordable! We are on the brink of the 56th rendition of the big game – that’s LVI if you prefer the annoying Roman numerals – and even if you need a GoFundMe to cover this year’s guacamole, it’s going to be quite a party.

And boy do we need one.

super bowl

COVID And Football In 2022

Two years ago, we hoped the pandemic would be over by now. Now we know there’s always a new variant brewing somewhere, we read about people who proudly chose death over vaccination, and we live in a nation where the political divisions run so deep they can reasonably be declared irreparable. In the misinformation age, even life-saving vaccines are portrayed politically. (Can you imagine after the polio vaccine was invented if millions of people had fought it, asserting their “right” to become paralyzed? Mind boggling.) 

Yes, the battle continues, but if there’s anything that can prompt a collective exhale – it’s the Super Bowl. So with the hope that history doesn’t look back on this era as the “Coronavirus Century,” let’s put it out of our minds (yeah, right) and join hands (via Zoom), 100 million strong (especially at eating), and watch the Super Bowl (commercials).

The Super Bowl Brings People Together

How big is the Super Bowl? It is one of the few sporting events my wife and sister-in-law never miss, and by sporting event I mean you should see the speed at which they re-enter the room when the football has stopped and the commercials are coming on. Impressive.

OK, OK, I confess, that’s a guy thing too. Who doesn’t love a Clydesdale? The ads are always great, the game can be a letdown. The last four have been disappointments and the fifth was only saved by the Atlanta Falcons’ dutiful collapse to Tom Brady.

But just like I believe we’re going to get through this pandemic – and 27 booster shots down the road I’m going to be proven right – I say the new faces in Super Bowl LVI make it not only compelling, it shapes up to be a thriller.

The Super Bowl Looks Different This Year

From the NFC we’ve got the Los Angeles Rams, who made it to the Super Bowl in 2019 but haven’t scored a touchdown in a Super Bowl since 1980 (lost that one, too). LA looks like a different team than the one held to a field goal by the New England Patriots (Brady ring No. 6 if you’re keeping score). 

Matthew Stafford Is The Real MVP

The Rams deserve the Humanitarian of the Year award for sending a rescue team to Detroit to liberate quarterback Matthew Stafford after 12 seasons of captivity, and he has shown how happy he is to be back in the real NFL by leading the Rams back to the big one.

2020 NFL Detroit Lions vs Jacksonville Jaguars Matthew Stafford. April Visuals / Shutterstock.com

If you believe in karma at all, is any man in the NFL any more deserving of a Super Bowl ring than Stafford? He was the No. 1 overall pick in 2009 and for that honor was sentenced to the starting job with the Lions. Now he knows the secret to getting to the Super Bowl: Don’t play for Detroit, one of four NFL teams that have never made it.

Aaron Donald And Andrew Whitworth

I like to see legendary players who have paid their dues, get their due. Two more Rams who fall into that category are defensive tackle Aaron Donald and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth. Both are likely Hall of Famers and a ring would only make it complete.

Donald is a dominating player, but at age 30, he craves that championship. As for Whitworth, I interviewed him when he played at LSU in advance of the national championship game in New Orleans in 2003. (Did you know Whitworth was a part of Nick Saban’s first national championship team?) Whitworth is currently the oldest active player in the NFL and the first to start a game a left tackle at age 40, but I remember him as a kid. A kid shaped like a mountain, but a kid.

Joe Burrow And The Bengals

Across the field we have an upstart opponent led by a young quarterback who has the makings of an all-time great. Joe Burrow, who apparently couldn’t even get a look when he was at Ohio State, is looking to add a Lombardi Trophy to the national championship he won while shattering records at LSU. He’s one of the purest passers in the NFL, that’s already obvious, and he is the X factor in this game. If Burrow gets protection, the Bengals can win.

Regardless of what happens, it’s quite likely we’ll see Burrow in another Super Bowl. He’s a special player.

My Pick For Super Bowl LVI

What I see happening this time is the veteran team prevails – the Rams won’t squander the franchise’s third Super Bowl appearance. Stafford will play a great game and the LA defense will make more plays than the Bengals offense. Call it Rams 34, Bengals 28.

As for what you can do to prepare, it’s all about the eating. We lead the world in obesity and one of the keys to retaining that title is the huge lead we get off to every Super Bowl Sunday. Salty snacks, sweets, fatty meats – these are the fundamentals of the American offense.

We Know Guac Is Extra

We need guacamole too, and that’s going to cost us. The price of avocados is about 50 percent higher than last year – currently averaging $1.50 each. It takes two avocados to make a pound of guac and Americans consume 80 million pounds on Super Bowl Sunday. 

So just think, if you had that kind of money you could decide to pick up the nation’s $240 million guacamole tab for ONE DAY, or you could purchase a small country. Not one of the top ones, but a starter country. I mean, how much can they want for Grenada?

See you at the Monday morning weigh-in.

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About The Author
David Meeks
David Meeks
David Meeks has never hesitated to speak truth to power. He’s uncovered shady coal mine operators in Alabama, corrupt politicians in Louisiana and supported single fathers in Florida. When New Orleans flooded after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Meeks, then Sports Editor of The Times-Picayune, refused an evacuation order. He commandeered a newspaper truck, assembled a team of journalists and won two Pulitzer Prizes. He has worked for the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and was the Managing Editor of USA Today Sports. He is Alabama-born and Michigan-raised, and today lives with his family in Washington, D.C.
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