Posts Tagged ‘the quest for historical transcendence’

Unabated to the QB, Week 5: Perfect No More

“Everything perfect of its kind must transcend its kind: it must become something other, something incomparable.”

“Certain shortcomings are essential for the individual’s existence.”

–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Elective Affinities

It was a thrilling moment on Sunday, when those underdog Indianapolis Colts were able to hang on and defeat the NFL’s decade-long behemoth, the Kansas City Chiefs, to finally end yet another run at perfection.

Wait, what?

The Colts did beat the Chiefs, but that’s about the only aspect of that sentence that’s accurate — unless you find field-goal kicking especially thrilling. And now, just five weeks into the NFL season, there are no unbeaten teams left.

Kinda sad, right? A potential season-long storyline gone, right? A chance at historical transcendence done with, right?

Wrong.

Well, sort of wrong.

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Aught Lang Syne: The Sporting Decade

The defining sports game of this decade occurred at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 3, 2008. That night, in a game that moved about as quickly as the clock in Tecmo Super Bowl, the New York Giants upset the unbeaten New England Patriots, 17-14, to win Super Bowl XLII.

It is debatable whether Super Bowl XLII is the single best game across sports in the Aughts; however, it is almost certainly the game that crystallizes the two competing movements in sports this decade: the quest for historical transcendence and the ascension of the postseason underdog.

Sports are too broad and diverse a subject to write a coherent essay that addresses what happened in the Aughts. Too much happened to be melded into a sustainable theme or argument. And although for many the story of the Aughts is what occurred off the field—be it scandals surrounding performance-enhancing drugs, referees, or personal conduct—to me, the defining narrative of sports in the Aughts is of those two competitors in Super Bowl XLII: the unbeaten Patriots and the pedestrian Giants.

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