COLD DISCOMFORT: Who says we get smarter with time? The first Super Bowl was played in 1967 in the sunny confines of Los Angeles Coliseum. Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers trained at UCSB.
If you’re going to play a football game in January, there’s no better place than Southern California, instead of places where you’re liable to have to shovel off snow and chip away the ice.
But this year, the ruling NFL idiots scheduled Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, smack in the middle of the East Coast storm season. To make matters worse, it’s an open stadium.
But don’t worry, they assure us. If a severe blizzard looms for Super Bowl Sunday, February 2, endangering public safety, they’re flexible. We’ll just shift the game to Friday or Saturday or Monday, they promise.
What? As President Lyndon Johnson used to say of people he didn’t like, they obviously played too many games without helmets. Why New Jersey, I have no idea. Nothing good happens there. Look who’s governor: Chris Christie, now under investigation for BridgeGate.
After all, the L.A. Coliseum was available, and no snow is forecast. I’m sure UCSB President Henry Yang would have been happy to move soccer matches around to allow the Seattle Seahawks and/or Denver Broncos practice space.
This will be the first cold-weather Super Bowl in an open stadium and is sponsored by two states, New York’s Times Square being about 8 miles from the stadium. Good luck to 80,000 people getting there.
INCIDENTAL INTELLIGENCE: Super Bowl I was taken so lightly by the sporting crowd that it was the only one not to sell out, even at prices ranging from $6-$12.
When the NFL and upstart American Football League agreed to merge, they decided to meet in an annual championship game, starting in 1967. But what to call it? As I wrote in my book, The Pro Football Hall of Fame, one owner suggested Golden Game.
But the AFL’s Lamar Hunt, its millionaire leader, noticed his 7-year-old daughter Sharron’s toy, a red “super ball.” One day, he recalled, “I just happened to call the game the ‘Super Bowl.’ Somehow or other the name just stuck.”
WATER BUFFALOS: There’s an old saying, going back to early water wars of the West: “Whiskey’s for drinking; water’s for fighting over.” Little has changed.
Back in 1991, the so-called “water buffalos” — hucksters and developers promoting state-water imports — got their way on the heels of the 1980s drought: an election.
State water, we were told, was the solution to our water problems. Panicked voters okayed a $50 million annual price tag to hook up to the state-water system, a bill that must be paid even if nary a drop is delivered. Only Lompoc was smart enough to pass on this boondoggle.
Attorneys and promoters got busy alarming the public, urging folks to buy the snake oil. They outshouted sensible voices who warned that the system could never deliver all the water they ordered, and in fact during a state-wide drought, Santa Barbara County would be lucky to get any at all, just when it desperately needed it. Today, all that has come true, at high cost.
Solvang, for instance, which relies almost entirely on state water to deliver 1,500 acre feet a year to customers, figures to get only 75 acre-feet, as Santa Barbara Independent reporter Nick Welsh wrote last week in an excellent special report. Worse, officials now warn that county water agencies may not get a single drop this year.
We haven’t really felt the impacts, because nervous politicians have been so slow to call for conservation measures, as they pray for another March Miracle, a gully washer that refills the reservoirs.
Although ballyhooed as a “supplemental” supply, insurance in case of a future shortage, state water was soon harnessed for more pizza parlors, condos, tract houses, and malls. Demand built up.
So we’re paying $50 million this year for miles of empty or near-empty pipes. But we were warned and didn’t listen. Meanwhile, the politicians and snake-oil salesmen of 1991 are gone or very, very quiet. If this wasn’t a hoax, what was it?
WE’RE LUCKY: The Royal New Zealand Ballet is bringing a fresh production of Giselle to the Granada Theatre (1214 State St.) on Wednesday, February 5, at 8 p.m. Only audiences in L.A., Santa Barbara, Minneapolis, and New York will have the treat.