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How one handles success and failure often speaks greater volumes than the outcome of one’s challenge, particularly if that challenge is something as relatively lighthearted as the Super Bowl.  Even in coping with the hardship of an immensely public shortcoming, the losing team isn’t exactly a fleet of trapped Chilean miners, non?   There are unexpected challenges to winning the big game, and inherent optimism to be found in a loss.  With the help of visual aids, in the tradition of Buzzfeed, Reddit, and Proust, here now stands an attempt to achieve balance and accord in the wake of what turned out to be one of the weirdest and perhaps most entertaining NFL games of my lifetime, and probably that of some old people as well.

This moment of rapture from Ravens cornerback Chykie Brown planted the seed for this entire evaluation of wins and losses as grand spectacle.  The decision to produce a confetti angel was one that produced a multitude of nods, “yeps”, and “mm-hmms” from the packed living room of theater arts majors with whom I watched the game.  As if they had possibly made confetti angels at some point in their own lives, and appreciated his technique.

“He was one of those guys who’d pronounce ‘I’m a hugger,’ as he came at you, neglecting to ask if the feeling was mutual.”

 – Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl.

Whatever happened to Hype Williams?  Coins the fisheye lens, makes Missy Elliott, and then Belly went down.  Wikipedia says he’s directed eighteen music videos in the last two years, yet I’ve seen none of them.  His feels like one of those names that have become such a brand that you forget it’s not the literal noun in question.  Like reflexively referring to tissues as “Kleenex”, or meth juice as “Red Bull.”

Typical Flacco move of uber-anticipation and a massive overthrow.  Like he’s just out there so amped up to give and receive high fives that he’s throwing them when there’s no one there, whiffing it in utter Hail Mary fashion.  Then when he actually connects with one, he looks like the damned Oppenheimer of hand slaps.  Pro tip: focus your gaze upon your fellow high-fiver’s elbow, Joe Flacco.  Works sixty percent of the time, every time.

“Though what bird in the best of circumstances does not look a little stricken?”

-          Lorrie Moore, A Gate at the Stairs.

Ed Reed does not look out of place inside a tank.  Which is not to suggest he could have or should have been a soldier, but rather that he should have played a soldier on film.  He would have been equal to or greater than Samuel L. Jackson in the role of Nick Fury in Marvel movies.  He easily could have been third banana in The Toxic Avenger or Stripes.  And he most assuredly could have formed a mid-eighties WWF tag team with Sgt. Slaughter that would have torn Madison Square Garden asunder.

“Through me you pass into the city of woe / Through me you pass into eternal pain / Through me among the people lost for aye.”

-          Dante, The Divine Comedy.

I have no mockery or satire to layeth down here.  This man is a genuine inspiration.  Who among us dares to wear their entire vision board atop their head, as if it were a crown of thorns or crown of marshmallows depending on which way that fourth quarter pass in the Niners end zone blows?  This dude is my brother, and your brother in turn.

Then it got kinda Independence Day in there.  Sorely absent was a Goldblum-esque mad scientist figure scrambling about to explain the phenomenon.  Just as the Oscars pays sporadic tribute to its bean counters at PricewaterhouseCoopers, so too should the Super Bowl trot out the bodacious men and women who keep the lights on.  Or in this case, scramble around in a broom closet for thirty minutes until they come back on.

“Dreams of innocence are just that; they usually depend on a denial of reality that can be its own form of hubris.”

- Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

If you’re going to be defeated, at least get comfortable.  Unseen in this photo is that this man had removed his shoes and placed his feet in a perfumed basin early in the second half.  He was in fact, despite the San Francisco collapse, happy as a clam.

It’s a little too easy to rag on the Baptist tattoos, so instead let’s stay positive and celebrate the fact that this man owns a one hundred and fifteen pound tortoise named Sammy, which he acquired at the age of ten.  Respect knuckles for that, if nothing else.

“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”

-          Charlotte Bronte, with regard to Chris Culliver’s recent anti-gay statements regarding how he would react to a homosexual teammate.

To be fair, I don’t actually know if this picture was taken before or after the game.  The inherent humor-as-tragedy apparent here is that the photo was produced and then scrutinized by a blog called Sneaker News.

Your monitor is melting at the sight of this wee monster.  Had the Ravens seen this picture, they would have happily thrown the game and challenged the World Champion 49ers to a friendly game of “Winner Pays for Milkshakes” ping pong.  You’re looking at the next president of the United States.  He will claim this title at the age of nine.  But who might serve as a capable running mate, Secretary of State, and Minister of Bestselling Gospel Records?  Hmmm…

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia.”

-          Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan.

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