Adapted from the Introduction of Making The Big Game by Jeffrey Fekete Copyright 2009 - Two Harbors Press
Memorable game-changing plays result after a football comes to rest following unpredictable flashes of erratic movement. Franco Harris’s 1972 Immaculate Reception, Herm Edwards’ 1978 Miracle of the Meadowlands, Earnest Byner’s 1988 Fumble, and Manning to Tyree in 2008, all owe notoriety to the handling, mishandling, and chasing of an oddly shaped ball in motion.
The most carefully constructed game plan can crumble under the consequential weight of fumbles, bobbles, and deflections. Fortunes turn on swift, instinctive reactions to the strange bounce, roll, or turn. A ball can fall squarely into unprepared hands and drop away unsecured on a crazed path to an unknown final destination.
For ten ragged, nerve-wracking, and exciting days in late January and early February 2008, I figuratively chased a loose, moving, and sometimes hidden prolate spheroid. A seat at Super Bowl XLII, one of the most anticipated championships in the storied history of the National Football League, suddenly and unexpectedly became an attainable object of my desire.
The pursuit began at my home in Sacramento, California, and moved through New York and New Jersey, into cyberspace, and finally to Phoenix, Arizona. The chance to attend the Super Bowl did not quite land in my lap, nor did I deliberately seek it out. As a sports fan in general, I consider myself fortunate to have been present for a number of regular-season pro games, NBA and MLB play-off games, and a couple other meaningful contests. I was in the gallery on eighteen at Pebble Beach when Tiger Woods completed his blowout of the U.S. Open field in 2000 and again as he battled a painful knee injury en route to winning at Torrey Pines eight years later. I attended multiple events at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games. My memorable live-spectator encounters until Super Bowl XLII involved many weeks or even months of careful advance planning.
The specific timing, process, and circumstances of getting to Glendale, Arizona, the site of the big game, proved both entertaining and maddening. Internal and external obstacles required self-awareness, patience, and improvisation to work through wholly unanticipated challenges. At least one motive for writing Making The Big Game: Tales of an Accidental Spectator is my desire to help fans understand not only the frenzied ticket market, but also the deep-seated emotions that drive the market.
After the Super Bowl XLII game clock expired in Glendale, I reached out to some of the equally elated seated around me in Giant underdog territory. I wanted to include my temporary neighbors in this story before they vanished anonymously through the exit tunnel. You might recognize aspects of yourself in some of these fans in my game day narrative.
I hope you'll visit my web site and consider adding Making The Big Game to your own sports library. You may find that this book is as much about you the fan as it is about great players and great plays.