There was a football game there somewhere

Forty-eight years ago today the Dallas Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs.  Three years later they played the first NFL-AFL Championship Game.  It later became the Super Bowl, thanks to Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, who came up with the name.

It was a football game in those days.  An important one.  A big deal.

It’s almost a side show now, an event held amidst varying degrees of spectacles.   Some guys played football last Sunday between much-anticipated commercials, incessant plugs for FOX programs, and on either side of a halftime show that, as far as we know, has drawn zero friendly reviews. Pittsburgh had three costly turnovers but the most memorable fumble of the game was when whatsername forgot the words of The Star Spangled Banner.

Doncha wish we could have a major sporting event where somebody with a nice voice who does not have to be a Grammy-winning recording star just SINGS the National Anthem?  Doncha think our national song deserves to be sung, not performed?  Imagine somebody “performing” the Pledge of Allegiance in the same vein!!!

Missouri has a slight connection to this whole business of “performing” the National Anthem.  It involves the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals were playing the Detroit Tigers in the 1968 World Series. Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell arranged for a 23-year old Puerto Rican singer to do the Star Spangled Banner before game five in Detroit.   Jose Feliciano’s version was instantly controversial and it began the trend of “performing” the National Anthem. That was almost a full year before Jimi Hendrix lit up the crowd at Woodstock with HIS personalized version.

All of that was back in the day when a championship football game was a football game, not a sideshow and when The Star Spangled Banner was a hymn, not a “performance.”

Let’s face it. We’ll never see those days again.

And that might be okay.  Every generation finds new ways to express itself, entertain itself, be itself.  If the generation we are sending to places like Iraq and Afghanistan finds meaning in the way whatsername sings The Star Spangled Banner, it’s hard to say they shouldn’t have that opportunity.

Well, anyway, we’ve had the Chiefs for 48 years.

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