We’ve once again reached the pinnacle of North American sporting events, the Super Bowl. And once again, those of us in the Delaware Valley will not have a strong rooting interest due to our beloved Birds being excluded from the party for the 49th time in 51 years.
So the next question becomes, whom to root for? The Patriots are not well liked in these parts, which is rare for a team which we only face once every four years. But add in stolen signals, deflated balls, and the fact that Bill Belichick looks like Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars movies, and one can understand why.
But while we hold a certain disdain for the Patriots, their opponents, the Atlanta Falcons, do not endear a “warm and fuzzy” feeling either. They’ve only made the Super Bowl once (and lost) which could cause many to give them the sympathy vote, but their fan base doesn’t seem to be starved for a winner, as the city of Atlanta seems to be more about college football than following any of their four major sports teams.
The one thing that could swing the likability factor in favor of the Falcons is their quarterback, Matt Ryan. Ryan is a local kid who played at Penn Charter High School and went from Boston College to the big time of the NFL as the 3rd overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft.
While Patriots quarterback Tom Brady always seems to be in the news for various reasons, (four-game suspension he served earlier in the year, his supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen, etc.), Ryan has become a bonafide NFL starter who seems to be grounded with a solid work ethic. He seems like a guy you want to root for.
As for the game itself, I’d like nothing more than to see a competitive game first and foremost. Eight of the ten playoff games this season were thoroughly one-sided, something which does not bode well for the NFL, whose ratings were hurting in the regular season to began with. A closely played Super Bowl would help to remind fans just what it is that they enjoy about this sport so much.
New England comes in with a ton of Super Bowl experience, while Atlanta comes in with none. The Falcons are a very young team and the first five minutes of the game will say a lot about the direction this contest goes.
If Atlanta allows the pomp and circumstance of the pregame to get to their psyche, this game could be over long before Lady Gaga begins her halftime performance.
But if the Falcons can remain composed and don’t turn the ball over early (and better yet, manage to score on their first drive), they will be in it for a full 60 minutes and have the firepower offensively to outscore the Patriots.
Falcons do just that, and win 31-24. And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is spared from having to present Tom Brady, whom he suspended for four games this season, with the Super Bowl trophy.
The Last Word – Some Super Bowl fun facts:
- There have been fifty Super Bowls played, and in only five of them (10%) has there been a lead change in the last two minutes of the game.
- There has never been a Super Bowl that has gone into Overtime.