Rich, as a hardcore football fan who also has trouble remembering from year to year who won the last one, I have two observations — one personal, one general.
I am a Jet fan (had season tix back in the good old Shea days), so it may be that if your team hasn’t won (or even been in the game) since 1969, it’s a little hard to keep track of the 36 or so years in between.
But overall, I think it’s harder to remember now because it’s become — since the late 80s or so — less of a game and more of a pageant or a national entertainment. Over the nearly 40 years, the games as a rule have not been that good, so they are not that memorable as games. In the last five or so years, there have been some terrific games (e.g., Rams-Titans, Rams-Patriots, and last year’s Patriots-Panthers), but most of the hullabalo people remember turns out to be over Janet Jackson, or Bono, or the Bob Dole commercial, or the 6-hour pregame shows — and the game just gets lost. And the networks are now going more and more the route that is killing baseball: every year the game starts a little later and with all the commercials takes longer and longer to play. Less kids can hang in there and watch it. I’m a big fan and I have trouble watching it as it drags on for 4+ hours with tons of downtime. It becomes less a father-and-son sports event (which by and large is what served to sear sports events into the national memory). It ends up being like every other over-hyped celebrity drama in America. Who won the last academy award? The last grammy, or emmy? Who knows, and who cares. It’s too bad, though — it used to be a great sports event; like the world series was when they played it in the daytime.