It happens almost all the time in the last several years: I end up watching more football games in the playoffs than I did during the entire regular season. That’s not all bad; I managed to miss my New York Giants giving up 28 points to the Philadelphia Eagles in eight minutes, a loss which essentially cost them the playoffs. Yet I’ve managed to have seen at least part of all eight playoff games leading to Super Bowl XLV thus far, though by no means all of them. All I saw of the Bears’ shellacking of the Seahawks was the 10 minutes I watched at the Radio Shack, and the Bears were already up 21-0.
Whereas I watched most of both of the Jets’ wins over the Colts and especially over the Patriots. Rooting interests are peculiar things. The sports guy at the local paper has a personal rule that once you pick a team to root for while in your teens, you have to stick with that team for life.
Though not a fan, I must admit that I was happy the first time the Patriots won the Super Bowl, and for that matter when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. But when it got habitual, it started getting annoying.
It occurred to me that not only have all four of the remaining teams won Super Bowls, but, not being up on the regular season games, that I tend to associate the present team with those glory days. In fact, other than the quarterback, I would be hard pressed to name more than one or two players on each team.
In rooting interest order:
New York Jets – they get some coverage around here, a little less than the New York Giants, because the Giants summer at the UAlbany, but more than the Patriots or the Buffalo Bills.
QB – Mark Sanchez, who doesn’t feel quite ready for prime time
Only other player I could name before the playoffs – Santonio Holmes, only because he won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers; I also know the coach, Rex Ryan, he of the loud mouth
I’m thinking about: the 1969 Jets. After the NFL-AFL merger, the Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls (which weren’t called that yet), so when the team led by QB Broadway Joe Namath, he of the pantyhose commercials, guaranteed a victory over the mighty Baltimore Colts, it sounded crazy. I still remember the score: Jets 16, Colts 7.
Rooting interest: geography. I mean, they DID play in New York when I saw them play the Houston Oilers in the early 1970s. And their uniforms are GREEN and white.
QB – Ben Roethlisberger, who got into enough trouble off season to warrant a four-game suspension at the beginning of the season. Roethlisberger has already won two Super Bowls, XL, for which he played poorly, but still at 23 years old, became the youngest quarterback to win a SB, and XLIII, where he shone.
Only other players I could name: receiver Heinz Ward (appropriately playing at Heinz Field), who is Korean and black, and went to South Korea after the last Super Bowl victory to help mixed race kids; Troy Polamalu, the linebacker whose hair obscures his uniform number, who is all over the field.
I’m thinking about: the Steelers of the 1970s, with QB Terry Bradshaw. It had a running back named Franco Harris and a wide receiver named Lynn Swann, BOTH of whom have March 7 birthdays, same as mine. And the team had defensive linemen L.C. GREENwood and Mean Joe GREENe. The team has won six Super Bowls in seven appearances.
Rooting interest: geography, history.
Green Bay Packers
QB – Aaron Rogers, who, Buffalo Bills fans are reminded, could have been theirs
Only other player: wide receiver Donald Driver. Just like the name.
I’m thinking of: those first two SB wins with Bart Starr as QB, though they did win one about 35 years later.
Rooting interest: small market team (100,000 population, 300,000 in the metro area), not dissimilar in size to Albany, NY. Also, it IS the GREEN Bay Packers.
QB – Jay Cutler, who I know relatively little about except that he used to play for the Denver Broncos
Only other player: linebacker Brian Urlacher
I’m thinking about: those 1986 Bears, with Refrigerator Perry, et al.
Rooting interest: I liked Chicago when I went there in 2008
Ultimately, I’m just happy that that the game that will be played in Dallas on February 6 won’t have the Dallas Cowboys playing. Them I do not like.