One downside of traveling during the fall and winter is that we missed the entire NFL football season. We enjoy lazy Sunday afternoons at home watching football from the comfort of our family room. We also miss those fun Sundays hanging out with our friends tailgating before Broncos games.
After catching bits and pieces of the regular season Broncos’ games via Kevin’s brother’s Slingbox, we were thrilled to find that channel ONE in Melbourne was telecasting each playoff game live. We were able to watch the Broncos’ playoff run from the comfort of our Melbourne apartment which was the next best thing to watching it from our couch in Colorado. As a lifelong Broncos fan, Kevin was excited for their Super Bowl appearance…and I must admit that I was pretty excited too. It’s not very often that your home team gets to play for a championship.
Unfortunately, we were leaving our Melbourne apartment and heading to Tasmania six days prior the Super Bowl. Thus we needed to plan our routing accordingly to maximize our chances of seeing the big game. My online searches for locations playing the Super Bowl in Tasmania came up empty. Apparently the 500,000 residents of Tasmania do not have much interest in American football. If only we had plans to visit a major city on the mainland (e.g. Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane) where there are clusters of ex-patriots, we would have had no trouble finding a place to watch the game.
The remoteness of Tasmania added doubt as to whether we’d be able to watch the game at all. If we could not get the game on TV, then the next best option was to stream the game over the internet, either via Rich’s (my brother-in-law) Slingbox or by purchasing access to the game through the NFL. However, both would require stable, fast and unlimited internet access. To date this is something that we constantly struggled with—especially in New Zealand; and based on my initial lodging searches, it looked like it would be a challenge in Tasmania as well.
I decided our best option was to set our itinerary to be in one of the largest cities in Tasmania. I found a serviced apartment that offered free wi-fi and advertised both cable and satellite television. It was the same brand as the apartment in New Zealand where we first found NFL on television (see our post “NFL: A Little Piece of Home“). However, there were no guarantees that the internet would be stable and fast or that the Super Bowl would be televised in the area at all. We’d have to keep our fingers crossed.
The serviced apartment was well above our nightly budget and to get there would require an aggressive driving schedule to reach the town of Launceston within five days and see all the sites along the way. After many searches, brainstorming and evaluating the limited options, this appeared to be the only viable choice and our best chance to catch the game. I devised an aggressive site seeing schedule, booked the apartment, crossed my fingers, held my breathe and said a little prayer.
Super Bowl Preparations
All of my careful planning paid off. We arrived in Launceston on Sunday evening—fourteen hours before kick-off. The first item of business was to determine if we got the Super Bowl on any of the television stations in our apartment. I held my breath as Kevin browsed the on-screen guide. He gladly confirmed that one channel was indeed broadcasting the game live which would be 10:30 AM on Monday for us. Phew! We were in luck and excited to be able to watch the game.
But, the Super Bowl isn’t just about football. It is about friends, food, drinks and, of course, the commercials. Even though we were in Australia, we decided that we should at least adhere to some of the American traditions. We may not be cheering along side our friends and family, but we decided the game would not be complete without some good ol’ American staples: beer, pizza, snacks and ranch dressing! We had just enough time to visit the local market and prepare for the big game.
Super Bowl Monday
We got up early on Monday and were ready for kickoff by 9:00 AM! We didn’t get pre-game coverage but at least they showed an NFL Films documentary about the Broncos previous Super Bowl wins. After all the planning, excitement and hype, the game ended up being far less entertaining than we had hoped. As a Broncos fan, it was utterly disappointing. And to make it worse our station didn’t broadcast the million dollar commercials. Instead, we got local public service announcements about drugs, learning to swim and homelessness!
Regardless of how disappointing the game was, at least we were fortunate enough to watch the game and root* for our home team from half-way around the world.
*Quick tip: “root” is not an acceptable term in Australia in this context. See our “Australian Translations” [coming soon] post for additional details.