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Don’t let the NFL fool you with their silly little Pro Bowl game this weekend. Super Bowl time has begun. The AFC and NFC champions have been decided. It is time to start the hype for the biggest game of the year; the game that will decide who is called NFL champions for all of 2018.
Soon we will have to choose who to root for in this annual classic. Let’s look at the match-up and see if the fans of those 30 teams not playing February football can find someone to root for.
As usual… the New England Patriots
On one side of the field, we have the New England Patriots. Well, doesn’t that surprise absolutely no one? It’s big bad Tom Brady and Bill Belichick together in the Super Bowl for the eighth time overall and the third time in the past four years. It's almost as if they are paying off referees or finding ways to cheat or something.
They are the modern era’s “America’s Team” even if they do play in a stadium about half the size of Jerry Jones’ phallic symbol in Dallas. Brady is an All-American boy. He is married to a fashion model, loves his mother, and says he is sorry when he yells at a coach on the sideline.
Belichick is the walking computer and sponge. Nothing gets past him. He is prepared for every scenario and possibility. It is impossible to surprise him. If he was in charge of national security, we could all sleep better at night.
But can we root for them? They have won it all so many times! Brady is already tied with Charles Haley (formerly of the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers) for the most career Super Bowl rings. Can’t he be satisfied with five?
That seems to be the prevailing thought of the masses. In a pre-AFC championship game poll, a majority of NFL fans in every U.S. state outside of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island wanted the Jacksonville Jaguars to pull off the upset.
We can expect to see a similar trend for the Super Bowl. So, who is the team most of the world should be rooting for against the mighty Patriots?
The Philadelphia Eagles? Seriously?
Somehow, the Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC Championship. That would be the same Eagles team most American football fans love to hate. Home of the most reviled fan base in all sports. Heck! These guys once booed Santa Claus.
Hours before the championship game against Minnesota, dozens of police were called to break up a large fight in the stadium parking lot. They expected it to be a battle between Viking fans and Eagles’ fans, but everyone involved wore Eagles’ green. They were fighting each other!
During the melee, a fan punched out an innocent police horse. Another reportedly pushed his own girlfriend into the path of responding officers so he could get away.
Some Minnesota fans who traveled from the Great North made the mistake of wearing Vikings jerseys and horned caps, easily identifying themselves as targets. There is a popular video of one young woman’s precarious walk into the stadium. Unfortunately, there are too many curse words and untoward gestures to show it here, but at least security prevented anyone from throwing batteries or bottles in her direction.
Don’t we always root for the underdogs?
Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. Despite owning the best record in the NFC, they were still marked as betting underdogs in both of their playoff games.
Nick Foles couldn’t get a starting job in September and pondered retirement. Now, he is a game away from being a Super Bowl champion quarterback.
The Eagles should be easy to root for against the heavily favored Patriots. But those fans… How can anyone root for a team with fans like that?
What about the players themselves? In New England, players congratulated the Eagles and spoke of respect for the team and lied about what a challenge the match-up will be.
In Philadelphia, players spoke of smashing “Pretty Boy” Brady in the mouth and knocking New England off their pedestal.
It appears we are left to choose between those cunning, soulless assassins from Massachusetts or some smash mouth, uncouth bullies from Pennsylvania.
So…New England or Philadelphia?
If most NFL fans are honest, they’ll admit they really like reminding Eagles’ fans they never won a championship.
On the other hand, the notion of seeing the stunned faces of Brady or Belichick in thousands of brutal post-loss memes is too good to pass up.
For now, we can hope for a good game and that the television commercials go back to being funny and less political. Eventually, we’ll have to decide to root for one evil or the other.