Super Bowl Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year.
Now, I’m not even going to pretend for a minute that I’m a die-hard football fan – I’m definitely not. The only players I know from most teams are the quarterbacks, and I would not be able to rattle off any statistics from this past year. Or any year for that matter. In fact, the only reason I know Ray Lewis leads the NFL in post-season tackles is because I saw it this morning on ESPN at the gym – a stat I will undoubtedly forget by tomorrow. When I say that I like football, most
people guys either roll their eyes or start quizzing me on random football facts. Listen, fellas – I can like a sport without knowing who played in the 1976 Super Bowl, or which player has rushed for the most yards of all time. I’m never going to coach a team, and I probably won’t ever be on some sort of football trivia game show, so the details aren’t important to me. I just love watching the game. It’s exciting, and I love how into it everyone gets. Which is why I love the Super Bowl so much. All of that excitement reaches a peak for the final game of football season. Throw in spending time with family and friends, good food and drinks and (mostly) funny commercials, and the Super Bowl can’t get much better.
As has been the case for far too long, my beloved Cleveland Browns are not playing in the Super Bowl. This has left me with the choice of either being neutral, or picking a team to become a temporary fan of. If the Steelers are playing, the choice is easy: I’m cheering for whichever team they are playing. But this year, since Pittsburgh didn’t make it to the Super Bowl (ha!), the choice becomes a little harder. Should I root for the San Franciso 49er’s, or cheer for the Baltimore Ravens?
My knee-jerk reaction is to hope the Ravens lose. This all stems from the decision made by the former Cleveland Browns’ owner, Art Modell, to move the team to Baltimore in 1995. Cleveland fans were crushed – and the stewing rage inside of us never really did go away. Not even when Art Modell passed away last fall did people in Cleveland stop hating the man (see here for an example of a Cleveland’s fan “tribute” to Art Modell. For the record, I think the awful things said about him after he passed away were terrible and wrong – and I hope none of my readers would ever say things like that.).
Anyway, whether the new team in Baltimore deserved it or not, Browns fans have since disliked the Ravens. I’ll admit, “I hope the Ravens lose” has come out of my mouth many times. But does Baltimore’s football team and its players deserve our ill-wishes, or are they just the scapegoats for the anguish Cleveland Browns felt over losing their team almost 20 years ago? I guess it’s finally time for this fan to admit that I really have nothing against Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco or any of the other Ravens players (look at that – I can name at least 2 Baltimore Ravens). They had nothing to do with Art Modell’s decision. And with Ray Lewis retiring this year, I know a lot of people (my husband included) want to see him win a Super Bowl. I’ll admit – that would be kind of cool…but I just can’t keep from associating him with all that stuff that happened in early 2000 …
And then there are the 49er’s. I do try to support my family and friends’ favorite sports teams, which is why I cheer for the Colts, the Packers and the Cowboys – as long as they are not playing the Browns. The one (slightly obvious) exemption to this is the Steelers. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to cheer for them, even though my father and most of his family are Steelers fans. It breaks my heart and makes me wonder where they went wrong…
But I digress. Since my sister-in-law’s favorite team is the 49er’s, I’m naturally inclined to cheer for them. Plus, I really like their team colors. Roll your eyes if you must, but the cool team colors / interesting mascot approach seems to work for me with March Madness picks, so I have faith that it won’t steer me wrong for the Super Bowl. However, it could be a problem that I do not know the name of the 49er’s quarterback (and after a quick Google search…got it: Colin Kaepernick. Wait… Colin who?).
So, will I get over my deep dislike of the Baltimore Ravens, or will I stick with the family-and-friends approach and cheer for the San Francisco 49er’s? I won’t know for sure until kick-off, but one thing is certain: I can’t wait to put on my Browns jersey, get a plate of food I know is bad for me and watch the Super Bowl. I hope that one day I won’t have to make the “Who will I cheer for?” decision because one day (soon!) the Cleveland Browns will make it to a Super Bowl. Maybe our recently renamed First Energy Stadium will put some spark and electricity into our game? Ha…ha. Ok, ok, horrible joke – but seriously, I hope it does. Go Browns!