Furman Bisher: Super Bowl is an American tradition, commercials and all

Furman Bisher

Furman Bisher

If Lucas could do it, so could a Manning named Eli. Since Super Bowl II, I've been an attendant at one of these American football treasures in one or another. Outdoors, indoors, under the sun, and at least one time while a snowstorm took charge outside. That would have been Pontiac -- or was it Flint? -- when the kickoff was delayed in order to accommodate our president, George H.W. Bush, whose entourage was sloshing about in a raging storm.

Well, this time, I was taking it in by television, mainly because my wife had convinced me I had been missing the real show.

"You've never seen a real Super Bowl until you've watched it on television," she said, "because you miss the commercials."

All these years I had been missing the real Super Bowl because the Super Bowl is an American tradition, only if you join the millions who take it by the tube. Well, I got a full dose of the Super Bowl, from the national anthem to the passing of the trophy. What impressed me as much as anything was the sight of Tom Coughlin coughing out the words of our national anthem before the kickoff.

There is something real American to me about Tom Coughlin, the rimless spectacles, the serious countenance. (Reminds me of a high school principal.) Somehow, he doesn't fit New York to me. There's nothing Manhattan about him. He looked more at home in Jacksonville.

He runs his own game. He and Eli Manning are a perfect fit. Eli is a country boy, not nearly the slicker that his brother Peyton is. Eli looks as if he should have been raised in Mississippi. Peyton looks as if he might come out of the cast of "Peyton Place."

Well, this would be Eli's night -- again. And my wife was right -- those commercials were right on. Usually, when I'm watching a sports event, my finger moves swiftly to the "mute" button when the commercials pop up on the screen. You go "mute" on the Super Bowl game at commercial time, and you're missing half the show, or more. So I played the game.

My commercial favorite, I'd say, "was the one about the end of "Prohibition," celebrating the return of Budweiser -- which, by the way, isn't U.S.-owned. The old Anheuser-Busch company is now owned by some company in Belgium. Then, there was the one about the little boy who just had to find a place to pee.

Sort of reminded me of the look on Bill Belichick's face in a moment of stress. Don't know if you realized this, but Belichick has spent his babyhood in Nashville, his boyhood in Chapel Hill, and high school years in Annapolis -- in the footsteps of his father's trail as an assistant coach.

Well, you know how it came out. How modest, second brother -- actually brother No. 3, for the senior Cooper is not to be overlooked -- prevailed on Peyton's own stage. Yep, the commercials were rousing. Glad I got to take them in, but the game was still the show. Glad I didn't miss it.