To Rufa, the Super Bowl means only one thing - halftime

Robert Rufa Columnist

I’m not particularly fond of football, and not just because most players can’t kick the ball. I’m also put off by the brain-scrambling head banging, I guess because I’ve become sensitive to mindless violence in my old age. Mainly, though, it’s the peculiar clock officials use to time the game that spoils it for me.

According to the rules, a game is divided up into four 15-minute quarters. That adds up to one hour, by my reckoning. But if you’re watching a college game, you might be watching the start of the second quarter after an hour.

And according to one study, the average pro game lasts three hours and 12 minutes. Out of that chunk of your day, the ball is actually in play about 11 minutes.

So there it is. It takes over three hours to complete 11 minutes of football.

And yet I do look forward to the Super Bowl. Why? Because I love horses and dogs, and I really love Clydesdales and retrievers — and if you’re familiar with the Great Super Bowl Halftime Ritual, you know what I’m talking about.

I’m not particularly interested in the product these two critters are promoting, but I sure do appreciate Budweiser for producing these little gems.

The 2013 Bud commercial, featuring the big horse alone, was a real tear-jerker, and that’s when I became hooked. In 2014 they added the retriever pup, and my addiction became complete.

I confess that I don’t watch the entire Super Bowl game to catch the Bud commercial — I don’t even write “halftime” on my calendar.

No, I’ve found that all the commercials are available as YouTube videos, and I have those and other Bud critter videos bookmarked.

Some feature other dog breeds, one featured a longhorn calf that became best pals with a Clydesdale colt. But all of them star the mighty draft horse that originated in the river Clyde region of Scotland.

The first horse I ever rode that wasn’t a Central Park pony was a draft horse, though a Belgian, not a Clydesdale, and it was a memorable ride. I was about 12 at the time, the horse was not saddled, and I felt as if I were astride a huge upholstered barrel.

While most people probably don’t think these beasts are meant to be ridden, they make surprisingly gentle saddle horses. Yes, they’re big — a Clydesdale stallion can weigh more than a ton and be over six feet tall at the shoulders — but this is why Rubbermaid invented the two-step stool. From there it’s a fairly easy leap.

I’ve ridden Appaloosas and quarter horses in my life, as well as a few valiant steeds without credentials.

The sweetest was a California quarter horse mare named Sugar Bear. But she was no comparison to that big draft horse I rode as I approached pubescence in 1955.

That was a little like riding my father’s easy chair.

I just wish there’d been a Labrador pup bounding alongside.