Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Super Bowl doesn't have Super Powers.

Every year during the Super Bowl fortnight a story emerges that makes me want to puke. I get angry to the point where I vow that I won’t watch the Super Bowl just because I’m tired of the hype. Among the greatest hits are The Kurt Warner Story, The Archie Manning Story, The Tom Brady Story and Those Crazy Chicago Bears. And let's not forget a cameo appearance by Brenda Warner's hideous fuzzy sweater and her trailer park mullet.

I was terrified that this year would force me to endure two weeks of a Brett Favre love fest. Sport reporters, who tend to be fat and old, love Brett Favre because he’s old. More than just being old, Favre looks it. He’s only 40 but his hair is gray and his stubble is almost white. After every game he looks like he got into a fight with a cotton candy machine. Favre’s toughness is well-documented and I wasn’t interested in hearing about it for two whole weeks. I’ve grown to dislike Favre a great deal. Besides being a big fat drama queen he is also a pretty lousy QB when the game is on the line. So no Brett Favre at the Super Bowl is a good thing.

Still, the media have done it again. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present: The Katrina Story.
In case you missed it, New Orleans was nailed by a hurricane back in 2005 and has been struggling mightily ever since. Moreover, the entire Gulf Coast has been struggling thanks to several storms that ravaged the area in 2005. Katrina gets the most attention because it scored a direct hit on The Big Easy. Even though FEMA would be quick to point out that they did more damage than that stupid fly by night storm. Sure, give credit to the shock and the awe, but who was there making sure aid and supplies didn't get to the people who needed it the most? FEMA. People don't dies from infection overnight, you know.

For some reason people seem to think that winning a Super Bowl is just what New Orleans needs to get back on its feet. To hear sports blabbermouths tell it, a win on Sunday will make everything better.

This is bullshit.

Winning the Super Bowl would be great for the Saints organization and would make Saints fans, who have never seen their team play in a Super Bowl, very happy. As a long suffering Browns fans who has reached a point where I’d just as soon see the Browns disbanded and everybody who works in the front office set on fire, I can appreciate this.

Beyond that a win would mean nothing. Even though the Saints have a lot of great fans, there are millions of people in the region that couldn’t care less. Literally. Thanks to decades of unadulterated suckiness by the Saints, New Orleans is home to a staggering number of Cowboys fans. Those people don’t care. They’re probably tired of hearing their friends and neighbors scream HOODAT every 3.65 seconds. The Gulf Coast is also home to people who grew up in other cities. So you’ve got a lot of people who are happy for the Saints but don’t really care who wins.

And all a Super Bowl win will do is make fans happy…for a little while. From what I’ve been able to gather that happiness doesn’t last nearly as long as you’d like it too. Steelers fans just watched their team snag a sixth Super Bowl ring last year and they’re already miserable because the Steelers didn’t make the playoffs. And that’s a great place to examine how much a Super Bowl really means. No city has more Super Bowl titles than Pittsburgh but does that make it a place you want to visit? Nope. How many Super Bowls has Pittsburgh hosted? That’d be zero. Are Steelers fans still ugly, unintelligent and more than a little malodorous? Sadly, yes. And the city still puts the Pit in the ‘burg, if you know what I’m saying. The reason you spell Pittsburgh with that “h” on the end is because most people say it with a resigned sigh at the end. So, Andy, where are you from? pittsburg-eh.

The only thing all those Super Bowl titles has given Pittsburgh is a false sense of accomplishment. Living in Ohio I can’t even tell you how many Pittsburgh fans love to brag about all those titles as if they had something to do with it. One guy I know will ask Bengals and Browns fans how many rings they have. Um, chief? The same number as you: none, remember? All you’ve ever done is wear another man’s jersey (like a cheerleader on game day) and wave a towel around like an idiot.

Am I jealous? Maybe a little. I really don’t know. None of the teams I root for have done anything while I’ve been around to see it so I don’t have any context. The only thing I do know for certain is that my life will remain unchanged. My happiness over my favorite team winning would subside the minute I realized that I’m still a loser with a boring job, a crappy car and ear hair like steel wool.

Even if the Browns did win a Super Bowl, once I got used to monkeys flying out of my butt, some idiot Steelers’ fan would go out of his way to point out that his team won six, even though he wasn’t around when they won four of them. Also he wouldn’t say his team won them, he would say “we” yet again implying that he played a role in this accomplishment. I’m sure the Rooney family will rush to correct their oversight in not including him in the parade.

New Orleans winning a Super Bowl would be a nice reward for the half dozen fans that used to sit through entire games wearing paper bags over their heads back in the 70s and 80s, but it’s not going to restore the 9th Ward to its pre-Katrina luster. Winning the Super Bowl would be a nice accomplishment for Drew Brees who was treated like some little dude with a freakish mole on his face by the San Diego Chargers (perhaps the most poorly run franchise with a winning record), but it’s not going to create any jobs in the region.

I’m tired of hearing about it. Regardless of what happens on Sunday, New Orleans will wake up on Monday morning and still have work to do. Nothing’s going to change. The Super Bowl isn’t that big.

Personally, I’m rooting for the Saints. Not because I think it would mean anything to New Orleans or because I think the fans deserve it. As a fan I can honestly admit that I don’t deserve a damned thing. I’m rooting for New Orelans because they’re the underdog. I’m rooting for them because I like Drew Brees and Darren Sharper. I’m rooting for the Saints because Will Smith and Malcolm Jenkins used to play for the Buckeyes. Even so, I’m not emotionally invested in this game. If the Colts win, I won’t mind. I think they’re a great team and I like watching them play. Peyton Manning is, without question, the greatest quarterback to ever play the game and he’s fun to watch.

That’s why, even though I’d like to see the Saints win, I don’t believe they will. The Saints will be overcome with emotion. Part of that will be due to the fact that everybody wants to make a big deal out of what this game means to New Orleans; part of that will be because the Saints are here for the first time. The Saints will also be overcome by an onslaught. Peyton Manning is great at exposing weaknesses in opposing defenses and New Orleans is full of holes.

The Saints play an aggressive brand of defense that requires a lot of pressure on the QB and a lot of gambles by the defensive backs…all of which are factors that play into Peyton Manning’s hand. He’ll read their coverages and use the opportunistic nature of the Saints’ secondary to his advantage. Drew Brees might keep it interesting for a while and the score will be high, but I see the Colts winning by 10 points.

And after everything is said and done the only thing that will be true about this Super Bowl is that it was only a game.

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