We already know the winner…

January 30, 2017

I don’t know what your plans are for next weekend, but you’d better get to the grocery store if you need any of the essentials. Avocados, six packs of your favorite whatever, chips of every nature and type – you know, the basic food groups – will be wiped-out by Saturday. Anything found in the “munch” universe will already be in lockdown.

Your chance to grab a 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV – and, get it installed for the Sunday 5:30pm (CST) kick-off – is nearly past. Premium charges will apply, after mid-week. The ultimate picture – for the ultimate game – will cost close to what your parents paid for the house they lived in when you were born. All normal limitations – for diet or electronics – are suspended, until the victory of either Patriots or Falcons has been declared. The Election was small potatoes; Super Bowl is the main event…

My high school Latin teacher – Solomon Abraham Guggenheim (no kidding!) – had his own English lexicon. When seeking a superlative, he had only one: “That for which there is none whicher.”  For Guggenheim, nothing could rise above that title…

Guggenheim’s classroom reign was late ’60’s, about the time that the Super Bowl was birthed to bring the NFL and AFL into public partnership (the first SB: January 15, 1967). The designation of “bowl” for games came out of contests staged at the Rose Bowl facility; from those origins, the term became attached to post-season college gridiron finales.

College football already had bowl games multiplying – today, there are 40 – to gather fans for the finishing appearance of their favorites, against rivals from other conferences who never got a chance to bump pads in the regular season.

In a planning meeting for the new professional match-up, Lamar Hunt – founder of the upstart America Football League – proposed the name “Super Bowl,” in the summer of ’66. No one liked it much, but it was better than the lame alternatives, and it stuck. When you’re looking for a better name, how do you one-up “Super?”

Super: that for which there is none whicher. When you’re climbing the Tree of the Recognition of Ultimate Status, there is a top-spot on which you must place the star. When you get up to that elevation, stop climbing: there’s nowhere else to go.

In the modern world, every field has its Summation of Superiority. “Best” is a button worn by lots of men and women. Obscure outside their arena of excellence, among the unaware, they appear normal, but the sophisticated in their universe would snag them for a selfie, given half a chance.

Football has a playing field with clear striping and rules of play; at any given time, there are only two teams at odds. Points on the board determine the winners, but players from both sides are friendly, will be paid handsomely and party together in the off-season.

After next Sunday, another competition will still be underway. The ongoing competition – between Religions – won’t be settled anytime soon. The current win-loss records are fluid, but among the elite teams, the standings are:



2.2 billion



1.6 billion



1.1 billion



.5 billion


Folk Religions

.4 billion

There are lots of minor-league formations, but they don’t have much following. From the human view, the only thing we have to measure is affiliation, and those are the numbers.

The real measure regards the God(s) whose identity forms the faith. That’s where the “win” was never in question: the One Who calls Himself “the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Almighty, the Creator, I Am.” He already won the Title, in a weekend tournament 2000 years ago that began on a Cross and ended at a Tomb.

Patriots or Falcons? Champions for a year, then the trophy is up-for-grabs. The Lord Jesus Christ? He’s the Eternal Savior, whose trophies are people who have celebrated His victory.

Could somebody pass the communion?

Bob Shank

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  1. As Denis Prager sadly notes, “leftism is the fastest growing religion right now”. The battle still rages down here.

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