Monday, January 19, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX prediction (but mostly whining)

So Super Bowl Ex-Lax (sorry, XLIX) will pit the Seahawks of Seattle against the Patriots of Foxborough. Another inspiring Season of the Underdogs in the NFL.

Who will I be rooting for? Whoever I’m not thinking of at the moment.

I last pulled for New England when they were upstarts against Kurt Warner’s Greatest Ram Show on Turf back in 2002, when St. Louis seemed unstoppable and it seemed Tom Brady, to paraphrase my Pats-fan friend at the time, would never live up to Drew Bledsoe. Since then, the Patriots have been the dynasty, winning three Super Bowls via questionable means and losing two more since those questionable means were called out. They’re led by Brady and Bill Belichick, who are the the Ivan Drago and the Dick Cheney of the NFL, respectively. They were much easier for me to support when they were the Rocky and the Sean Payton of the NFL. These days, it’s like watching the richest kid at school win yet another award, during which they don't crack a smile and the parents give a slight, stern nod of approval. And also that kid rubs your face in the dirt when no one’s looking and tells you to earn your lunch money if you don’t want it taken away from you.

But it’s not like the Seattle Seahawks are any easier to like. I was mostly neutral to them until December 2013, when I had the pleasure of visiting Seattle during a Seahawks-Saints Monday night game (marring what was otherwise an amazing trip to an amazing city). Seahawks fans are, at the moment, one of the most insufferable fan bases in all of football. On game day, we were treated to a nearly nonstop barrage of trash talk, even when we minded our own business, and some of it had a threatening edge (there were one or two friendly conversations that I remember for their remarkability). After the game, people were sarcastically yelling, “WHO DAT?!!” at us from honking cars across the street. Even accounting for the fact that we were in the other team’s city, it was bad; New Orleans isn’t like that to opposing fans, in my experience. By and large, Seahawks supporters seem to be new to the experience of being fans, let alone the experience of winning, and thus I can’t think of any fan base I’m madder to see happy.

That "lesser of two evils" talk usually heard during presidential elections makes sense to me now. Ouch.

I spent the duration of Sunday’s Packers-Seahawks game in South Lake Tahoe, arriving there shortly after the opening kickoff. After a 7-mile bike ride, I loaded my bike in the car and popped on the radio to hear that the Packers were up 19-7 with 5 minutes left to play. Right before I turned off the radio, Russell Wilson threw his fourth interception. I was giddy. Then I walked to a restaurant for lunch where fans of both teams had congregated (but mostly Seattle fans on account of the location). Immediately after I sat at my table, the Seahawks scored two touchdowns in rapid succession, then won in overtime. I apologize to the Green Bay Packers community for laying eyes on the TV at such a critical jinxing juncture.

I could harness that power on Super Bowl Sunday, but I probably won’t. I haven’t yet made plans for the big day, but “alphabetizing my pants by care instructions” is the front-runner at the moment. “Gargling thumbtacks” and “letting a bear chase me uphill in the snow” are also in the mix. Other suggestions are welcome.

2014-15 NFL season, the words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote: STINK, STANK, STUNK.

XLIX prediction: Plenty of interminable bandwagoning. Also, 35-32 Patriots.

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