I can’t believe I’m saying this as a football fan of three decades, but I’ve seriously given thought to not watching the Super Bowl this year. Not because I don’t think it will be a good game, and certainly not because it lacks for good story lines. It’s just that I’m not the kind of football fan who will watch a game just because it’s football.
I need some kind of rooting interest — some reason to pull for one team over the other, even if it’s a silly one. But with Super Bowl XLVI, I am struggling to think of one so far. Unlike the last time the Patriots and Giants faced each other, in Super Bowl XLII. It was easy to root for New York then. I, like 99% of decent-minded sports fans, wanted desperately for a season’s worth of Boston-centric hubris and obnoxiousness to come crashing down on the perfect Patriots’ heads. So when Eli Manning found David Tyree on that improbable third-and-five play in the final period, and later hit Plaxico Burress for the winning TD, all felt right with the universe.
But I will get no such sense of satisfaction if the Giants win this time. Not because the Patriots are suddenly the feel-good story of the year. No, I still loathe them. But taking a longer view of the league, I have to marvel at their consistency. Over the last decade they’ve posted fewer than 10 wins just once, and they’ve made the playoffs for all but two seasons. In a league where back-to-back winning seasons is a dream for some fans (myself included), that’s outstanding.
And let’s face it, will a fourth Super Bowl title really make New England fans even more entitled and annoying? I doubt it.
On the other hand, I don’t really have any specific reason for not rooting for the Giants. I’m a big Tom Coughlin fan, and Eli Manning seems like a good dude and he’s definitely a clutch quarterback. It’s just living in the greater New York area most of my life, enough already. I’m not even going to tune into the local sports talk radio station, WFAN, for the next few weeks (even though they have probably already started to talk about baseball).
The pretentious football purist in me feels like the Giants caught a lot more breaks this year than the Patriots. They stumbled their way through most of the regular season, and benefited from a weak division. And let’s not forget how Dallas once again shit the bed in December, as they seem to always do. I know that it’s the playoffs that count, and New York is certainly the hotter team, but I’m of the belief that consistency throughout an entire year should be rewarded in some way.
GAH, it’s all so confusing! Well I’m sure that the understated media approach to the Super Bowl this year will help me decide who to root for. Or I’ll just go with Plan B and watch some tapes of old Super Bowls from the ’70s I have stored in the basement. I just need to find a VCR.
Miscellaneous Debris — My AFL project is past the halfway mark! My collection of programs and media guides from the 1966 season is up. And a new retro football card is coming this Friday, so mark your calendars!
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