The weird emotional power of sports (Super Bowl special)
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“I hate the Kansas City Chiefs with a passion reserved only for things that I love.” —Tod Goldberg In this episode of Deviate, Rolf shares his 2002 NPR “Savvy Traveler” dispatch about trying to watch the Super Bowl in Thailand (3:00); then he and Tod Goldberg discuss how they became NFL football fans as kids in the 1970s, and how this affected their fandom later in life (8:00); how it could be difficult in the days before the Internet for kids to find information about NFL teams and players, and which books they read about the early days of pro football (23:00); the origins of the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs in upstart pro leagues, their more recent fortunes in the NFL, and how the last Chiefs Super Bowl appearance was nine months before Rolf was born (38:30); on watching Super Bowls from overseas and following the Chiefs (or 49ers) as adults, the strengths of the 2020 Chiefs and 49ers teams, and the emotional stakes of Super Bowl LIV (49:00); how the Chiefs have dominated the AFC in the four years since 2020, how this success has affected people’s perception of them, and how the Chiefs’ Midwesternness makes them different from other NFL dynasties (1:05:30); the role superstition plays in sports fandom, how some team fandom comes out of love for individual players, how fandom creates a leveling of social classes, and the merits of “fair weather” fandom (1:10:30). Novelist Tod Goldberg (@todgoldberg) is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen books, most notably the Gangsterland series of crime novels. He is also the director of the University of California-Riverside Palm Desert Low-Residency MFA. NFL games and players: Super Bowl LIV (2020 KC Chiefs versus SF 49ers NFL title game) Rolf Benirschke (San Diego Chargers placekicker in the 1980s) The Catch (touchdown reception in the 1981 NFC Championship Game) Christian “Nigerian Nightmare” Okoye (Chiefs fullback in the 1980s) Mike Mercer (NFL punter in the 1960s) Marshall Goldberg (Jewish Chicago Cardinals running back in the 1940s) 1934 NFL Championship Game, aka the “Sneakers Game” (title game) 1940 NFL Championship Game, (73-0 Bears-Giants title game) Steve Grogan (New England Patriots quarterback in the 1980s) Ed “Too Tall” Jones (Cowboys defensive end in the 1980s) Super Bowl IV (1970 Chiefs versus Vikings NFL title game) NFL Films: Super Bowl IV Highlights (sports documentary) Hank Stram (Chiefs coach from 1960-1974) Len Dawson (Chiefs quarterback in the 1960s and 1970s) Todd Blackledge (Chiefs 1983 draft-pick quarterback) Joe Montana (quarterback who won four Super Bowls with the 49ers) Super Bowl XLVII (2013 Ravens versus 49ers NFL title game) Patrick Mahomes (current Chiefs quarterback) Andy Reid (current Chiefs head coach) Jimmy Garoppolo (former 49ers quarterback) Super Bowl XVI (1981 49ers versus Bengals NFL title game) Jet Chip Wasp (pass play that helped the Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV) Other links: “Pandemic Love: A personal history of nostalgia“ Deviate episode 142) Kumbh Mela (Indian Hindu pilgrimage celebrated every 12 years) Tod Goldberg on why sports is so emotionally affecting (Deviate episode) Matthew Zapruder (American poet and editor) West Coast offense (passing-oriented football strategy) Candlestick Park (former stadium that hosted San Francisco 49ers games) Tom Landry, Existentialist, Dead at 75, by Sarah Vowell (essay) Tecmo Bowl (1980s football video game) Sears Christmas Wish Book was great American literature (Deviate episode) Nerf (toy brand that made foam footballs) Championship: The NFL Title Games Plus Super Bowl, Jerry Izenberg (book) The Super Bowl Shuffle (rap song performed by the 1985 Chicago Bears) All-America Football Conference (professional football league from 1946-49) Los Angeles Dons (football team in the AAFC) American Football League (professional football league from 1960-69) Battle of New Orleans (1815 battle between British and
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Published 03/12/24
Published 03/12/24