Houston, we have a problem. Well…maybe not.
Super Bowl mania is upon us again. Whether you’re a football fan or not doesn’t really matter. It’s time to go crazy and this year, the city of Houston is hosting the biggest party on earth. It’s pageantry personified for six days and nights before Donald Trump’s pal Tom Brady and the New England Patriots take on the gutsy Atlanta Falcons, a team that hasn’t been to the dance since 1999. Lady Gaga will handle the halftime entertainment and has hinted that she might take to the field on horseback.
Of course, gala affairs like the Super Bowl always attract it’s share of party-poopers, and authorities will face extra challenges this time around. Well-organized protests against President Trump’s anti-immigration policies will take center stage, as well as the proposed construction of the border wall and mass deportations. The fact that Houston is one of America’s most diverse cities makes planned disruptions even more interesting.
Also festering is Trump’s recent ban against Muslims entering the U.S. from seven different nations, and that list could grow. Latinos feel a loose alliance with Muslims because racial profiling has affected both groups. Meanwhile, law enforcement in Houston has vowed to let protesters carry out their message in a peaceful manner, with an emphasis on the “P-word.”
“We want our activists to know that we will be there to help facilitate exercising their rights,” revealed Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.
The city’s mayor Sylvester Turner not only confirmed that pledge, but indicated that it’s officers would not be taking on any extra responsibilities on behalf of the federal government.
“The HPD (Houston Police Department) is not ICE. I want to be very clear about that,” stated the popular politician.
Turner is known to be less than a fan of Trump’s immigration policies and urges him to reconsider questionable thinking. He points out that Houston is a “strong mayor” city and that he makes many decisions, but usually sends them to city council for vetting. His recommendation is that the president might consider doing the same and let Congress hash it out. As for Super Bowl week, Turner is confident that his city will be a model for the nation to admire.
“People can voice their opinions and we can have good football at the same time,” the mayor predicts.
Now for the big game itself, it’s no surprise that neither team employs a significant Latino player on its roster. So much for cultural association, but avid fans don’t seem to care. After all, this is football Americano and an annual sports extravaganza. Betting is heavy with the Patriots still the Las Vegas favorites, but the Falcons are closing the gap. Consult your trusted bookie.
For Atlanta to have a shot, the X-factor is Taylor “Turbo” Gabriel. Not drafted and later cut by the then-St. Louis Rams, Gabriel is an undersized wide receiver (5′-8″, 175 pounds) with a giant heart. The Texan was raised by a single mom who died when he was only 15, but he carries on in her memory. If Julio Jones prospers and makes an impact, it’s because Gabriel was an effective decoy who racked up some yardage himself. Bet on it.
Brady, 39, is still a master at his profession and will pick the Atlanta secondary apart without the Falcons in his face. At best, this should be a high scoring game likely decided by turnovers. For Matt Ryan, the Falcons longtime quarterback, this will be the game of his life. If he delivers, tighten your seat belts, light up the grill and let the cerveza flow.