The year was 2004. For the second time in history, the Super Bowl was on its way to Houston. One evening, during the frenzy leading up to the game, I, Catherine Matusow, decided to head to the now-shuttered sports bar known as Champps in Uptown Park, where, I’d heard, a celebrity would be making an appearance. Reader, that celebrity was Kid Rock.
A coworker and I battled the crowds for a table, ordered a pitcher of beer, and waited for the star to appear. And waited. And waited. And, finally, went home, without even a glimpse of his golden mane. Today, considering this peculiar series of events, I wonder: Why did I do this? I wasn't a fan of Kid Rock; no editor sent me to cover the event; sports bars weren’t my thing.
Thirteen years later, with the Super Bowl once again set to take over the city, I can only surmise that I’d gone temporarily insane. And—now that I think about it—that’s not a bad explanation. Because as I recall, the entire city, sports fans and otherwise, went bonkers in the days and weeks leading up to the proverbial Big Game.
Everything felt charged, electric, exciting. The city was exploding to the point of bursting. People waited in hours-long lines downtown; they clogged the streets; everyone, it seemed, had a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out, though we didn’t have a clever acronym for it at the time).
Tickets or no, Houstonians wanted to be a part of the festivities, just as they do this year, which is why we’ve decided to make the game, and all the pageantry that will be taking place throughout the city, this month’s cover feature.
As for the actual game day back in 2004, I spent it at a friend’s watch party. It was there that I found myself sitting on the floor, next to the queso, when halftime finally arrived—meaning that for once, the TV had my full attention. In the middle of Janet Jackson’s performance with Justin Timberlake, however, I briefly looked away.
At exactly that instant, my friend Matt, eyes on the screen, said, “Wait, what just happened?” We all shrugged. Even he wasn’t sure, and there was no DVR. So it was that Nipplegate came and went; none of us knew what, exactly, had happened until the next day. While I in no way regret missing Kid Rock, I do sort of regret missing that iconic moment, the only one most people even remember from the game that year. My FOMO, I suppose, turned out to be mildly justified, anyway.
As the insanity returns to Houston in the weeks ahead, FOMO will surely grip the populace once more. But luckily, it’s 2017, and we have this, Houstonia’s guide to all things Super Bowl LI, to keep us in the know and assuage our fears. Now, will it keep us from standing around weird bars, craning our necks for random celebrities? I think we all know better than to promise that….