I've been alive since January 6, 1976. In that time the NFL has held 32 Super Bowls. Since I can remember, I've watched the game and taken pleasure in the fact that I've been able to choose the winner nearly every time. Of course, it was pretty easy for those 13 years in a row the NFC team won the game. The first game that I clearly remember is Super Bowl XVIII when the Raiders beat the Redskins 38-9. Since then I've sat down somewhere to watch every Super Bowl. Every year I walked away from the game with a feeling of disappointment that the NFL season was over. Sometimes I even wondered what it felt like for the fans of the winning team.
This year, I finally got to watch my team compete for the Lombardi Trophy. I finally had a stake in the biggest football game of the year. I would have the chance to finally feel that Championship High - or that Championship Heartbreak. For the first time in my life, the commercials, the halftime show, and the bean dip would all be secondary to the actual football game. As I mentioned earlier, I made my plans to go down to Indianapolis and watch the game. If I couldn't make it to the actual game, Indy was the next-best place to watch the game.
The last time I was in Indianapolis was on December 4, 2005 to see the Colts whip the Titans at the RCA Dome. My fiancée (then girlfriend) surprised me with two tickets to my first Colts game in at least 12 years. Everything seemed about the same as I remember it from my visits in the past. However, this visit was different. Everywhere I looked, I could see something related to the Colts. Flags, stickers, banners, inflatable human-ish horse-like things wearing Colts jerseys, people wearing Colts hat and jerseys. I'd never seen so many people so excited about the Colts since, well, ever. After living in Chicago for eight years, I remembered that there were more people like me - people that were proud to wear the blue horseshoe.
I don't have to tell you the outcome of the game - I'm sure you know by now.
I celebrated with my brother and a few of his friends and we watched the rest of the city celebrate like... well, like they just won the Super Bowl. Our team was World Champs. After an entire NFL football season, our team is the only one left standing. It felt good. I can mention the Colts and people can give me all the shit they want, but after all their shit I can simply say, "World Champs." I win. I get to wear a Colts shirt that reads, "Super Bowl Champions." Strangely, it felt a little empty.
As good as I felt, I couldn't help but wonder, "Is this it?" I jump around like a fool for a couple hours and smile like a goof on the drive back to Chicago, but then I still have to go back to my life. My job hasn't changed, my bed is still lumpy and my soda is still flat. Sure, I get to brag about my team for the rest of the year but that doesn't seem like all that much when I'll you've been rooting for is for your team to win the title. There's a strange emptiness to the victory because it's built up to be so much more. The NFL season is still over and the disappointment is still there, though it's not quite as hard to take. Yet, it's not quite as satisfying as I would have expected. I'm not complaining, I'm just a little baffled. I guess that's what it feel like to be Super Bowl Champs - baffling.