So here we are: This is it.
I should have asked earlier; do you want an epigraph? Only one?
Knock yourself out: “It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream—making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible which is the very essence of dreams.” —Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
“All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning.” —Albert Camus, “The Myth of Sisyphus”
“In truth the way matters but little; the will to arrive suffices.” —Ibid
“This, to use an American term, in which discovery, retribution, torture, death, eternity appear in the shape of a regularly repulsive nutshell, was it.” —Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
Those last two sound familiar: There are only so many that work that well for a Super Bowl.
Are you at least excited for this one? Obviously. But two weeks is still too long. This game needs to be played the week after the championship games.
But a week’s too short! Play the game on Wednesday!
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There are sundry reasons Tecmo Super Bowl is the greatest video game ever. There’s the fact that the Giants are really good in it and Lawrence Taylor is unstoppable. There’s the flex done after every sack and that the computer’s quarterback is always left-handed. There’s how there’s always that chance you’ll block the other team’s extra point and the ridiculous number of safeties. There’s how poorly the other team punts and that flea flicker from Simms to Stephen Baker Touchdown Maker that works practically every time. There’s its most recognizable feature: that zig-zagging down the field on a long play is preferable to running straight, implicitly teaching a generation of children how to escape from alligators.
But maybe my single favorite thing about Tecmo Super Bowl is this: When you get to the playoffs, the background music changes. It shifts from the simple regular-season music, which you zoned out about 10 games ago (if you listened to it at all), to a more intense version that immediately reminds you it isn’t the regular season anymore. It’s playoff time.
This week in the NFL, the music officially changes. It seems an especially significant break this year considering the relative uneventfulness of the last few weekends of the season. The NFC playoff teams were determined by Week 16, and the AFC required the Jets and Ravens to beat the resting Bengals and the abhorrent Raiders, respectively, to get in. I can’t think of a Week 17 with less drama.
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