By Anne McKee
The Meridian Star
Okay, it finally happened – I’m a football fan. I held off a long time, but WHAM when it came to me, it came in a big way. I think it all started with the recent Roll Tide vs. Georgia game.
I didn’t have enough so I tuned into War Eagle against Alabama. I moved right along to Auburn and Florida, next was the Saints against the Sea Hawks. Now Sunday afternoon will be the two playoff games, with the BIGGEE – the Super Bowl, on Feb. 2.
Why football? Why me?
I mean after all of the years I have dipped and darted, zigged and zagged – as I tried to dodge football in my life, why would I suddenly develop a taste for the game-of-games, the ole pigskin, and some would say, America’s favorite new pastime – outing Major League Baseball? Don’t mean to start any rumors, but … I don’t understand my newfound love of FOOTBALL.
As I have reflected upon this new time in my life (watching reruns of favorite plays, checking facts regarding QBs favorites, odds to win, offense/defense strategies, you know important stuff), in the back crevices of my mind I really know. You see in Mississippi the name MANNING says it all.
Yes, my first professional football game (in person) was the New Orleans Saints, with Quarterback Archie Manning, family football patriarch.
Archie played for the Saints from 1971 to 1982, later the Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings. He was the starting quarterback at Ole Miss for three years. His sons, Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos) and Eli Manning (New York Giants), are real chips off of the ole football block – a third son, Cooper, an up and coming football star was diagnosed with spinal stenosis at age 18, stopping a football career for him.
Peyton and Eli, as every good Mississippian knows, has brought the game forward in amazing and talented ways.
Again, in Mississippi the name MANNING says it all.
As I ponder my new need – the world of football, I reason. Yes, at this point in my life, who cares? I sit in my recliner, choose my favorite team of the afternoon (could change tomorrow – yes, I’m fickle), ask a lot of questions directed to husband, watch closely to learn (I’m a late football-bloomer), hip-hip-hooray my favorite team, argue with the ref, if I want, and make sure we have plenty of chips and dip.
That’s all – why should there be more?
If you are a novice, like me, I have listed the upcoming final games of the season:
Playoff games: Sunday, Jan. 19
AFC – Broncos and Patriots, 2 p.m. (QB Peyton Manning, Broncos)
NFC – 49er’s and Seahawks, 5:30 p.m.
48th Superbowl – Feb. 2 – Kickoff 5:30 p.m. at Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ.
Of course, I’m pulling all of the way for the Bronco’s, but may the best team win. Oh, and by-the-way, now is the time to plan your Superbowl snacks. Check your pantry and be ready. Sigh – I love my new world!
After all, in Mississippi the name MANNING says it all.
Anne McKee is a writer and storyteller. See her website: www.annemckee.net