Superbowl Sunday is here. I have some funny memories of this famous day.

Actually this wasn’t a Superbowl, but it was a very important football game. The New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders. This game was to go down in history as the ‘Heidi’ game.

NBC’s decision to cut away from an unfinished game in favor of the movie “Heidi” came to symbolize the turning tide in favor of saturation Sunday TV football coverage.
Many readers won’t believe this, but there was once a time – long, long ago – when football wasn’t the top dog on fall Sundays. Let’s go back – way back – to November 17th, 1968, the day when Shirley Temple in her role as Heidi sacked the Jets and Raiders.
The Jets-Raiders match-up that day was eagerly anticipated. The Raiders were a tough team at the top of the league while the Jets were an emerging power that featured a brash young quarterback out of Alabama named Joe Namath: a team that would go on the following season to beat the NFL’s Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
The game itself turned out to be a monumental struggle. With less than 2 minutes remaining and the score knotted at 29, Namath moved the Jets into field goal range. Jim Turner connected on a 26-yarder and the Jets led 32-29.

From Oakland to the Swiss Alps in One Commercial Break

Following the score, NBC went to a commercial break (some things don’t change). When the break was over, though, the network returned to regularly scheduled programming. Instead of hulking football players prowling the gridiron, viewers everywhere but on the west coast saw Heidi cavorting in the Swiss meadows.

That was enough to cause NBC switchboards to light up. But when the network announced the final score 20 minutes into the movie, the torrent of calls turned into a deluge. The NBC switchboard broke down under the pressure and angry viewers began phoning police and other emergency numbers, tying up those lines for hours.

Why all the fuss? Well, while Heidi tended her goats, the Raiders drove to a touchdown with 42 seconds remaining. The Jets’ Earl Christy followed that by fumbling the ensuing kickoff. After a mad scramble, the Raiders fell on it in the end zone for another major: Two touchdowns in 9 seconds and the Raiders were 43-32 winners.

I remember that day as we were watching the game in our living room. It was so exciting and then ‘Pow’, or as we say in Hawaii, ‘Pau’, which means done.

Now here is a true Superbowl memory:  In 1973 I was working for my father in the family business. My father had never been a sports fan, didn’t follow any sports at all and never knew who was playing what. I, on the other hand, followed sports and especially football. It was the Saturday before Superbowl Sunday and I asked my father if I could have the afternoon off to prepare for the party I was hosting the next day.

“Dad, could I have the afternoon off? I have to prepare for the Superbowl.” Answer: “What’s in a Superbowl?”

Now it is Superbowl time again. I always enjoy the game. Of course food is the big draw, even if you aren’t that into football.

The market ads all week have been featuring beer and ribs and pizza and chicken wings. Not to mention avacados, hotdogs and chili. Of course chips and peanuts and pretzels and coca cola.

I am going to try to make some ‘healthy’ food this year. Guacamole is a must. And humus. To be served with celery and carrot sticks. Then for a hot dish, I am going to make Spanish Rice with olives. And a Chinese chicken salad for something green.

For dessert I made Tiramisu. This is an Italian dessert made with coffee soaked ladyfingers, pudding/ricotta cheese and usually whipped cream and cocoa. In the interest of good health, I made mine with splenda, sugar free/fat free pudding, low fat ricotta and cool whip.

Oh, and I’ll be rooting for the Patriots.

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