Here it is again, another Super Bowl Sunday, so it seems fitting to say something about it.
The fact is I am not much of a football fan. I’m not hostile to football, and I even enjoy a football game if it is on television where I happen to be. I just don’t seek it out, and, after spending a winter afternoon several years ago freezing my stindeens off in the Meadowlands arena watching a Jets game and dreading my next trip to the men’s room (“Excuse me…excuse me…excuse me…), I definitely do not attend football games. Besides, I really need an announcer to tell me what the heck is going on half the time.
That said, the Super Bowl has become (for better or worse) a uniquely American “Event,” and I, like millions of other Americans, will be attending a Super Bowl Party. I will be at the Post with a bunch of the Usual Suspects and more than a handful of friends of Usual Suspects. It is being run by my friend Paulie and his brother Willie, who have arranged the details, including the catered food.
Paulie handles the bar, which is always a first-rate show, while Willie runs every pool imaginable, including a 50-50 drawing. Willie sees that EVERYONE participates. A fair example of Willie’s “soft sell” technique for one of a half dozen pools would be, “Come on, ya cheap fuck! It’s two bucks a square. I know you got a shitload of fuckin’ money, so get it up. Don’t worry about the fuckin’ numbers; we’ll pick those later. How many squares ya want? Aaay, I don’t have a lotta time here. I figure you want ten bucks worth.” I usually get fleeced pretty well, but, after all, it is for the good of the Legion.
I will surely be asked later, “Eagles or Patriots?” Given that neither team is the Giants or the Jets (Hey, I live in Jersey), I don’t have a dog in this fight. However, one probably ought to be pulling for one team, if for no other reason than to be able to razz the guys who picked the other team when things go well, and to be the razee when things go poorly. It’s part of the ritual.
Therefore, I will share with you my highly scientific criteria for choosing which of the two teams to root for:
Propinquity (a Velociman word): Jersey borders on Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia is just across the river. This favors the Eagles.
Cool Uniforms: While the Patriots’ red, white and blue uniforms are more…well.. patriotic, I am partial to the green and white of the Eagles. As for the helmets, there is no contest. Eagles.
Team Name: I am a George Bush supporter, and I think the Patriot Act is a good idea, but, for a football team, the image of a bad-ass Eagle does it for me.” Eagles.
Righteousness: Boston won the series. Enough already. I think the Eagles deserve a win. Eagles.
Food: Not even close. Philly has great food, starting with Philly Cheese Steaks. Boston? Beans. Meh. Eagles.
Language: I understand the people from Philly. They talk funny in Boston. Eagles.
Favorites: The Eagles are the underdogs, and it is always more fun to root for the underdog. Eagles.
Fans: This is a tough one, because I have read and heard that Eagles fans are a really rowdy bunch (not that Jets fans are any prize), and that they give the opposition a bad time. However, the folks in Boston damned near crucified one of their own, Bill Buckner (thanks, Lynne), when he booted a baseball, costing Boston the World Series in 1986. Close call, but it goes to the Eagles.
The Big Picture: Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are both Blue States, although there is always at least some hope for Pennsylvania. Massachusetts has given us John Kerry and Ted Kennedy. Easy one. Eagles.
So there you have it, Sports Fans. Later today, I’ll be drinking bottles of Yuengling Porter (a Pennsylvania brew from America’s oldest brewery), spending a bunch of money, hanging with a bunch of good guys and “rooting” for the Eagles.
It’s great to be an American.