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The ‘Whatever’ Super Bowl

January 24th, 2016 · No Comments · Football, NFL

I realized by the end of the day that I can’t yet decide which team I prefer to win Super Bowl 50.

My only concern was that the New England Patriots (and Bill Belichick and Tom Brady) not win it, and the Denver Broncos addressed that concern with their 20-18 victory in the American Conference championship game.

Carolina’s Panthers thrashed the Arizona Cardinals 49-15 later in the day, and that creates a Super Bowl matchup that leaves me … wondering how I can develop a preference over the next two weeks.

I have mentioned before that I have a deeply layered system of preferences that generally yields a rooting interest. In any sport. The Carolina-Denver game, however, has me at a loss. At least at the moment.

The case for Denver.

–They eliminated “Satan’s Team”, the Patriots.

–This may be quarterback Peyton Manning’s last game, and he has set all sorts of career records and mostly seems like a good guy. Wouldn’t it be nice for him to win one more championship before he goes into the broadcast booth?

–In an era of lots of points and yards, it would be nice to see a team win a championship behind its defense, which is probably how Denver would win.

–Denver is the team further west/closer to California, and when I am undecided I often plump in favor of the team closer to SoCal on a map.

–Denver certainly will be the gamblers’ underdog, probably by something in the range of four to seven points, and I am like most Americans in generally preferring underdogs. That will be the Broncos.

The case for Carolina:

–It would be nice for the NFL to reduce by one the number of teams who have never won a Super Bowl, which is at 13. Carolina has not won a Super Bowl, losing in its only appearance so far, 32-29, to the Patriots 12 year ago.

–Cam Newton seems to have a gift for annoying fans, but it is hard to argue that he isn’t the best player in the league at the moment, and shouldn’t the best player be rewarded?

–The Panthers are the NFC team, and for those of us (mostly geriatrics) who remember the NFL/AFL rivalry and chose sides, back then, this matters. The NFC is the descendant of the NFL. The Broncos are an original AFL team.

(This sort of thing is big for me. I never root for an American League team in the World Series, unless it’s the Angels playing Barry Bonds’s Giants. And I have never backed an AFC team in the Super Bowl except when the Los Angeles Raiders played the Washington Redskins, 32 years ago.)

–The Panthers have been the best team in the league, with one defeat in 18 games, and shouldn’t we want the best team to win the championship?

–It seems quite likely that the Panthers will overpower the Broncos and rickety Peyton Manning, and wouldn’t we prefer to back a winner?

As noted, I have no real sense of having a dog in this hunt.

I’m grateful to the Broncos for taking out the Patriots, but I’m still annoyed they beat Brett Favre’s Packers in the 1998 Super Bowl in San Diego.

I’m vaguely annoyed that the Panthers crushed the Cardinals, who are the closest thing to a West Coast team not actually on the West Coast.

I rarely pay much heed to this, but the Broncos by a mile have the more interesting colors and uniforms, and maybe that will nudge me, before kickoff on February 7.

Choosing my team may not be resolved until the game. A real chance of that. But I am pretty sure I will discover a rooting interest by the end of the first quarter. I will designate good guys and bad guys, somehow.

It just happens, but it hasn’t happened yet.



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