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Super Bowl LVIII

Super Bowl LVIII
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle
Super Bowl LVIII
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle

I had our dinner ready by 6:15 p.m., just in time to balance our plates on our laps and watch Reba McEntire sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

I didn’t have to ask my husband, Gene, who he was pulling for. I knew. Since I became a Nagle in 1990, I have heard the stories of Gene as a little boy, loving the Kansas City Chiefs with all of his heart, but at six years old, he referred to them as the “City Kansas Chiefs,” speaking the words in the wrong order.

Shortly after the coin toss, my husband looked over at me and shared a memory from his childhood.

“You know we lived in Columbia, Missouri, between 1968 and 1973,” he said. “Well, Kansas City won the Super Bowl when I was six, beating the Minnesota Vikings. And that’s the season that I became a lifelong fan.”

He paused and continued. “When I was eight, Kansas City lost the AFC Divisional Game to Miami on Christmas Day, and I was devastated — just devastated. I was so worked up that I threw up after the game.”

So I knew who he would be cheering for. I, on the other hand, didn’t have a dog in the fight this year. Still, I enjoy watching the game, the commercials, and the halftime show.

Last year, The Farmer’s Dog aired a commercial that had me upset for days. The video showed a black Labrador retriever’s life from the time he was a puppy (running through the house with a little girl) to the time that he was old and gray in the face (a young mother stroking his head in the most loving, kind way), and while the moments rolled by, musician Lee Fields sang, “I’m gonna love you forever.” I hugged my golden retriever and wept like a baby.

Early in this year’s game, there was a commercial that featured stylized photos of people washing other people’s feet while INXS sang their song from the 1980s, “Never Tear Us Apart.” The last frames of the commercial featured two very simple sentences: Jesus didn’t teach hate. He washed feet. And that’s the commercial that choked me up this year.

The halftime show featuring Usher was better than last year’s show, but to be honest, they will all fall short of Prince’s 2007 blockbuster performance. He played music from the soundtrack of my life while rain — a deluge — poured down upon him. And he kept playing. It was epic. Gene and I were not distracted by or particularly interested in the unwinding love affair between Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift, but for you haters, let me just say this: Think of all the young girls who started watching football this year because of that relationship. It reminds me of the summer I turned 14, and for whatever reason, I started watching Braves baseball with my father, an avid sports fan. It bonded us for several years.

Anyway, I watched this year’s game, and I watched Gene, all tied up in knots and yelling at the television, telling 28-year-old Patrick Mahomes how to win the football game. But even as my husband teetered on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I couldn’t help but pull a little bit for the San Francisco 49ers. Their quarterback, Brock Purdy, was the final pick in the 2022 NFL draft earning him the nickname, “Mr. Irrelevant.” But even with that horrible, negative label bestowed upon him, Brock Purdy took his team to the Super Bowl and almost led them to victory. Almost.

Yes, this year’s Super Bowl went into overtime, but in the end, Gene’s beloved “City Kansas Chiefs” came out on top, making them back-toback champions. Just like that, another annual clash of the titans was in the sports history books, and my 60-year-old husband smiled and went to bed happy.

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