Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

With These Two Teams, Super Bowl Is Win-Win

One thing was certainly clear from Saturday’s basketball game against Duke, and it had nothing to do with the talent of our team.

More than anything else, I learned how fun it is to hate a team. All of the clever signs and outrageous costumes showed that Georgetown fans wanted to be at their best. Who cared that, unless you work in admissions, Georgetown is probably just an afterthought in Durham? Instead our taunts toward Duke served as a release for our passion. After all, it isn’t easy to get excited over our annual victory against the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina. Then again, maybe I am just trying to justify my relentless attacks on one of Duke’s towel boys (er, team managers).

This is why I’m worried about Sunday’s Super Bowl. To put it bluntly, it’s impossible to hate either of these teams. No criminals on either side. No irrationally obnoxious coach. No cell phones or permanent markers in sight. Unless one of them knocked your favorite team out of the playoffs, you might just have to root for one of these teams rather than against one of them.

Last year, it was different. The Raiders? The Bucs? Warren Sapp or Sebastian Janikowski? John Gruden or Al Davis? Oakland’s Darrell Russell, who recently had 25 felony charges against him dropped, had been suspended for a year for substance abuse. Keyshawn “Just give me the damn ball” Johnson was prominently featured on Tampa Bay. A year ago, I couldn’t decide which team I hated more. If only Bill Parcells and the Cowboys made it this year.

By now you have probably seen that the Panthers were 1-15 just two years ago. Great story, huh? It gets better. First of all, if you could name more than five players on the Panthers before this week, consider yourself a certified football fan. They are led by Jake Delhomme, a career backup, undrafted out of college and finally given a chance to prove himself. By far their most controversial player is Rod Smart, best known as “He Hate e” for making a mockery of his career in the XFL. Fortunately for the purposes of my argument, no one actually hates “He Hate Me.” Rather, he is just an average player unsuccessfully and harmlessly seeking some attention. These are not Rae Carruth’s Panthers anymore.

The Panthers’ coach is John Fox, whose most interesting quality is his ability to chew gum while coaching. Some teams, like the Raiders or Redskins, have notoriously vocal fans. Have you ever seen a Panthers fan?

If the obscurity of the Panthers does not endear you to them, consider this: they have inspiration on their side. During the preseason, a coach and a player were diagnosed with cancer. This season has been played in their honor. Now, can you really hate these guys?

I’m sure some people are shaking their heads because they think that they hate the Patriots. Certainly, some are jealous of their success. But don’t forget that this is a team that was never supposed to do well. Most people had written them off after an embarrassing loss to the Bills in the first week of the season. Perhaps Tom Brady is too much of a pretty boy. By all accounts, however, he is a humble, respectful athlete (assuming that you can look past his appearance at the State of the Union.)

Then there is Coach Bill Belichick. Dressed in his torn hooded sweatshirts, he seems far more likely to be standing outside Wisemiller’s than on an NFL sideline. Compared to self-promoting jerks like Ravens coach Brian Billick, Belichick looks like a Jesuit. Patriots fans celebrate by jubilantly throwing snow in the air, whereas Eagles fans rejoice by throwing snow at Santa.

If lack of scandal bores you, blame Myra Kraft, the wife of Patriots owner Bob Kraft. She has taken a moral stand, forcing her husband to rid the team of any bad influences. Just this season, offensive lineman Kenyatta Jones was shown the door after allegedly scalding a friend with hot water. (Now what would Myra say to Hoya alum and Capitals’ Owner Ted Leonsis after his melee with a fan?) Rather than the Keyshawns, Sapps and Russells, the Patriots are a group of overachievers. Some are even good role models. You may not like the Patriots, but how can you hate them?

Lost in the monotony is the possibility that this should be a very good football game. Thirteen of the Panthers’ 19 games have been decided by a touchdown or less. This includes an amazing five overtime games. Throughout the season the Patriots seemed to prevail in games that they had no business winning; including games decided by a blocked kick, a goal-line stand and an intentional safety. After all those surprises, they seem to have mastered the unconventional win.

Does this mean that there might actually be something to look forward to other than the commercials? Maybe I did learn something else from the Duke game: it’s never much fun to watch a blowout.

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