We're only days away from what's become known as America's biggest secular holiday -- the Super Bowl.
This year's match-up is underwhelming, to say the least: the Pittsburgh Steelers should beat the Arizona Cardinals easily enough.
But the atmosphere surrounding The Game has long become bigger than The Game Itself.
Which makes it even more stunning to think that, 35 years ago, the biggest game on earth was played amongst the leafy confines of the Rice University neighborhood.
Super Bowl VIII, which turned out to be a tedious battle between Miami and Minnesota, was played at Rice Stadium -- the first time an SB was not played in LA, Miami or New Orleans (it would be years before the NFL made that mistake again).
Can you imagine that spectacle taking place among those high-priced homes now?
The drunk Steeler fans pissing on the lawns of those hoity-toity houses?
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Neither can we.
Super Bowl VIII is mostly remembered for being the setting of Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear & Loathing at the Super Bowl," a report which famously featured a description of the Hyatt Regency's bathrooms, stacked to the rafters with the abandoned non-sports sections of the Post and Chronicle.
Those were the days, my friend.
-- Richard Connelly