Any football fan can tell you the year's biggest game, the Super Bowl, will be played Sunday.
This is the 48th edition of the game that has become America's biggest sporting event. Forget the Daytona 500, The Masters, the World Series or college basketball's Final Four — nothing compares to the Super Bowl.
At 55, I'm old enough to remember the first Super Bowl, which was played Jan. 15, 1967 in Los Angeles between the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers. I was 8 years old at the time. The Packers won that game that was simply known as the AFL-NFL Championship Game.
By the time the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts in the third championship game, the title Super Bowl had been attached to the game and a piece of Americana had been born.
I was more interested in playing and doing things boys do than watching those early Super Bowls. I remember watching few minutes of the games before running outside to play with my friends.
I guess you could say I grew up with the Super Bowl and as both the big game and I grew my interest and love for the game increased. By the time I was in middle school the game was a must see event, and I've rarely missed watching the game since.
I have watched the Super Bowl from the lobby of my college dorm and the comfort of my own living room.
My church in Knoxville would have Super Bowl parties after the Sunday evening service. One member would tape the game while the service was being held and afterwards everyone would gather in the Fellowship Hall to watch the replay until we caught the game in real time. I loved those Sunday evenings with friends.
The 1984 Super Bowl is one I barely remember, but will never forget. I was working as an assistant manager at a McDonalds in Tifton, Ga., that year when the Saturday before the game a crew member came in and I jokingly told her I was going to call in sick the next day because she was working.
I woke up that next morning three kinds of sick to my stomach. And yes, I had to call in sick on Super Bowl Sunday.
My favorite Super Bowl was Super Bowl 44 or, if you are into the Roman numerals, Super Bowl XLIV. The New Orleans Saints, a team I've pulled for since they first came into the National Football League, won that game over the Indianapolis Colts, led by my favorite player, Peyton Manning.
Manning will be back in the field Sunday to lead the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks and I'll be pulling for Denver. I will be watch Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin closely as he played his high school football at Gulf Breeze and becomes the second player from my alma mater to make the big game.
The Super Bowl turns 50 two years from now and I'm not a kid any more. These days when I get my hair cut there is my grey hair on the floor than the brown hair it used to be.
Yes, I'm getting older, but the Super Bowl seems to be getting better. The players in this year's game are young enough to be my sons and it won't be too many more years until they'll be young enough to be my grandsons.
I'll be watching the big game Sunday as I have for so many years. Yes, the Super Bowl has be woven into the fabric of our nation and into the fabric of my life as well.