America, I’ve heard you. You’re finding it hard to get roused for the big game this year, due to ever-escalating squeeze of commercialism, pointless two-week media suffocation, and generally villainous nature of both teams involved. For a good chunk of the country (i.e. those residing outside of Washington state and those tiny plots of land out east), it’s hard to be a fan these days. But fear not, my friends, for I have found some reasons to actually enjoy this year’s Super Bowl.
“But Sam,” you say, “how am I supposed to get behind either of these teams? The Patriots have been caught cheating more than once, have a pompous and unlikeable head coach, and have the most spoiled and entitled fan base in professional sports. And the Seahawks have Richard Sherman. I really just can’t root for either team this year.”
Putting aside the fact that you don’t have to root for a team to enjoy the game (though I do agree it helps), allow me to briefly address these concerns.
– The Patriots cheated with the ball thing.
Yeah, probably, and the NFL is investigating. If and when they find evidence of wrongdoing, they’ll hand out appropriate punishment. Why can’t we just leave it at that? Do you still hold it against your older brother for shoplifting that pack of Bubble Tape 17 years ago? No. You forgive, accept that he paid his penalty (i.e. was forced to give the gum back and tearfully apologize to the store owner), and move on. Let’s let the NFL worry about retribution.
– The Patriots head coach is an arrogant dick and their fans are sort of obnoxious.
Guess what? This is true of all NFL teams! We’re just force fed the Patriots version because they win a lot and are on SportsCenter all the time. And every single fan base will annoy you if you get close enough to them. I live in Colorado, and Broncos fans annoy the hell out of me, but that’s only because they surround me and their team has given them something to be loud about. If you’re a fan of any team, you’re annoying too. I’m annoying. We all suck. It’s just how it works.
– Richard Sherman.
Sherman has become persona non grata among most NFL fans since his weird tirade after last year’s NFC Championship. He comes off as brash, mean, and exceedingly cocky. He also has a degree from Stanford and is a highly intelligent dude, especially by NFL player standards. Sherman plays the villain role, intentionally, because it’s good for him and good for the game. I’ll explain more below.
Even IF you can’t stand either of the Super Bowl participants, I give you the following reasons to be optimistic about the game:
1. It’s the 2 Best Teams
Finally, the top seeds from each conference meet in the big showdown. It feels like this never happens, so as fans, shouldn’t we applaud that we actually get to see the best two teams square off? Wasn’t that what we were always bitching about with the BCS?
*Nerd voice* Well, who knows if it’s actually the best two teams…
This time, we know! It’s football at its highest level, at its highest level.
2. #DeflateGate Has (Sort of) Run Its Course
If you don’t know what this is, I’m not going to explain it to you, because I’m so sick of it I find it hard to even think about. It’s been beaten to death from both sides, from those who think Bill Belichick needs to be executed or something, to the others who just keep blindly using the term “haters” in some attempt to mask wrongdoing. The silver lining here is it seems everyone else is getting sick of it, too. The rhetoric is dying, and we’re getting ready to move on.
The worst part about this scandal was always the idiots whose idea of comedy was to make jokes any time someone mentioned “balls.” Yes, morons, “balls” is a slang term for “testicles.” I’ll work on booking you a Comedy Central special. These people, I’m afraid, have not yet seen the diminishing return of their “jokes,” and thus I’ve been forced to ban them from the Lodge and cut them out of my life. I suggest you do the same.
3. We Need the Bad Guy
People, have we already forgotten the important lessons taught to us by Vince McMahon and the WWF? (*gets news the wresting conglomerate was forced to change its name due to a legal dispute with the World Wildlife Found over a decade ago*) As I said, the important lessons learned from the WWE? The truth is, we need villians. We need someone to hate in sports, so we know which teams/people to root against. Having no one to hate is no better than having no one to love; both put us in bland, emotionless states that defeat the purpose of sport.
Richard Sherman knows this, and thus has strategically positioned himself to be hated by us. It makes the league more interesting, and it makes him more important. It doesn’t really mean he’s a bad guy, it just means he’s more savvy than the average player. It’s like Kid Rock positioning himself as an ignorant redneck in order to make millions. What? I’m not helping my argument with the Kid Rock comparison? Hmm. Fair enough.
The point is: let us celebrate hate. Let us celebrate feeling! Luckily, we have a few possible targets in this one. Aside from the aforementioned Dick Sherman, there’s Belichick, Pete Carroll, Marshawn Lynch (the interview thing), Russell Wilson (squeaky clean, manufactured image), Doug Baldwin (delusion/inability to comprehend statistics), LeGarrette Blount (weed? I don’t know), Earl Thomas (went to Texas), Tom Brady (Uggs), the ball kid who deflated the footballs in a solitary/rogue act, whoever made up the story about the ball kid deflating the footballs in a solitary/rogue act, Josh McDaniels (stupid face), and Darrelle Revis (being good – people seem to hate that).
And that’s just naming a few off the top of my head. We do not have to worry about the hate machine running out of gas in this one. Speaking of gas…
4. Vince Wilfork
The NFL’s resident teddy bear, Wilfork is impossible not to love. As a Patriots defensive tackle, he specializes in clogging lanes on Sundays, and clogging arteries on Saturdays (and every other day of the week probably). Vince is good fat. Need proof?
That is the work of a great American. And, as Friend of the Lodge Kate Kelley adroitly pointed out, big Vince’s dance looks eerily similar to this otter’s. This confirms my long held suspicion that Wilfork proudly carries the torch of the Otter Life. Go ahead and root for the big fella on Sunday. I will be.
5. The Packers Aren’t In It
I’m from Minnesota. What can I say?
Duh. How did you even forget this? A good chunk of the Super Bowl goodness has nothing to do with the game. Let’s be honest, you’ve been trying to be healthy all January. You’ve consciously redirected your life after that health abomination that lasted most of December. You’ve occasionally made good food decisions, and even made it to the gym a few times. On February 1st, dig into some chips, dip, red meat, and a couple of brewskis. You’ve earned it.