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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bowled Under

31-25. So much for the defensive struggle.

Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers on their Super Bowl victory. We steadily, if not passionately, rooted for the Pack. We had no emotional stake in the outcome. An article in today's paper captured our feelings well--the feelings of the sports fan obligated to watch the big game but lacking any true rooting interest in the outcome.

In this respect, today's game posed more of a conundrum than most Super Bowls. We have worked out a system for our rooting interest in the game, assuming, of course, that our favorite team is not playing in it--and considering that our favorite team is the Jets, we have had ample opportunity to develop this system. Sometimes, there is just another team that you really want to see win. This is rare, but last year's game was a perfect example: Was ANYONE outside of Indiana not rooting for New Orleans? Then, of course, we have our "adopted" teams: the 49ers and Raiders, the teams of our post-New York life. The fact that we are largely indifferent to one of these teams over the other testifies to our not having grown up in the Bay Area, where professing an equal liking for either team is about as common as Tivo-ing Glenn Beck because you don't want to miss Rachel Maddow. (If you must ask, if the Raiders play the Niners, we root for the Raiders, if for no other reason than we are East Bay residents.) Finally, if nothing else, we will root for the underdog, just to not be seen as jumping on some sort of bandwagon.

Super Bowl XLV, however, was a tough call. Even if we wanted to root for the underdog, it was never quite clear who that was. The initial line favored the Packers, but we think by this morning the odds had shifted to Pittsburgh. In any event, it was hardly a case where one team was highly-favored. Indeed, on paper, this looked like one of the more evenly matched games. And so it turned out to be--despite what looked to be a Green Bay blowout for most of the first half.

For us, our decision of whom to root for boiled down to a decision about whom to root against. And the only clear villain for either team was Ben Roethlisberger, he of the dubious sexual ethics. Sure, no charges were brought, but the man was suspended four games for an alleged rape, which is good (or bad) enough in our book to make us root against him and the Steelers. And lest you think this is just the sour grapes of a disappointed Jets fan, we can only assure you that it's not. Indeed, from that perspective we would have rooted for the Steelers--not out of any sense of sportsmanship (have we met?) but rather out of the comfort we could derive from the idea that if the Jets lost to the Steelers, it was because everybody lost to the Steelers.

So, again, we're more than satisfied by the game's outcome--and even more satisfied by the thought that two of Green Bay's scores were direct results of Roethlisberger's miscues. (Serves you right, Sleazeball!) Now, we can turn our attention to baseball. Of course, with the recent revelations of Madoff-related hijinks around the Mets' ownership, we may need to find a new team to follow there, too. What do you all think about the Mariners?


1 comment:

  1. O.K., so, I'm not the greatest footbal fan in the world... or the room... or the room, when I'm alone in the room, but I REALLY need to know when the sport became so WUSSY! I'll (reluctantly) accept the namby-pamby "Fair Catch" ("Please! Don't hit me and I won't move!!!) But, then, right after one of Green Bay's NUMEROUS TDs (made possible by the Steelers graciously GIVING THEM THE BALL) they were penalised 13 yards for... well, as far as I can tell, for "not being very nice!" In a sport where the objective is to maim your opponent at every possible moment; a sport where ebing a grossly overdeveloped animal is a REQUIREMENT for any position but QB and Place-Kicker, a team gets fined for RUDENESS!?!?!? Maybe there IS something to be said for "Hooliganism".