It was a Big Moment… Greatest halftime show I’ve ever seen… Perfect season on the line, Don Shula watching on from the stands… way back in the day that was early 2008, the same year Kevin Garnett spread his arms and roared, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE,” the same year we believed in “HOPE,” and elected President Barack Obama… I still remember the excitement of Mike Campbell’s doubleneck guitar solo on Runnin’ Down A Dream…closing my eyes I can totally picture the black hole swirling in the middle of the stadium during Free Fallin’…it has come to represent the universe’s cold indifference to our dreams…and I have found myself returning over and over to Tom Petty’s haunting words, “God it’s so painful when something that’s so close is still so far out of reach.”
Almost a decade later, looking back at Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers kill the halftime show of what became a heartbreaking Superbowl (I just watched it eight times in a row), I wouldn’t have had it happen any other way. I felt a knot in my stomach for weeks after Superbowl 42, and I don’t even like football. Taken together, both the crushing loss of the perfect season and the wild championship won last night, both games decided by the play of nobodies, the role of chance has become more resonant. The lesson has revealed itself with the passage of time… whether you’re a Popeyes fry cook who got kicked out of college football for marijuana possession (it’s just a plant!!!) or an aging NFL quarterback who blew your only shot at the perfect season… don’t give up, endure, keep runnin’… you’ve got a chance.
The great Canadian comedian Jim Carrey’s character in Dumb & Dumber, Lloyd Christmas, put it best: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance… YEAH!”