As a child I was so excited on Super Bowl Sunday as to spend the entire day watching Super Bowl Memories on ESPN.  Each show was a retelling of a particular Super Bowl — as one might imagine — with a theme in mind for it and accompanying music.  It was hosted by Steve Sabol, whose voice I have never heard apart from NFL films.  I don’t know if he’s still working, but I rarely watch such things nowadays.

I must not have been the only one interested in watching Super Bowl Memories all day, for in that case ESPN would not have been running a marathon of episodes.  Presumably other programming was available, even on an otherwise slow day for sports that aren’t NFL football.  So we can infer that Super Bowl Memories was a great show, giving pleasure to many Americans.

As I recall, the episodes ran in consecutive order.  I would start watching as early as possible, ignoring family duties and homework.  I needed to learn all of football history, to understand the rise and fall of dynasties in order to more richly appreciate the fortunes that had created the very Super Bowl I was about to watch.  As we approached the then-modern era I got quite excited, knowing that the real game was soon to come.

But I never enjoyed the real game as much as the Super Bowl Memories films.  Watching the Memories films felt more like playing, perhaps, or maybe I wasn’t really a jock at heart, and secretly preferred to hear people telling stories over watching an actual game.  But it may also have been that Super Bowl Memories was an exceptional retelling of each game.

The episodes often included interesting analysis and the editing and music were artful.  Its producers really did seem to understand football.

The last Super Bowl Memories that I watched in full was from the 2002 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams.  It sucked.  The takeaway from the episode was that the Patriots had won the game simply because they hit harder.  There was a lot of slow motion and very little narrative or analysis.

That was also the worst officiated Super Bowl I’d seen up to that point.  It was all rather disappointing.

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