I should make it clear that I have very little professional football allegiance. I know and enjoy the sport, and I watch games almost every weekend.
But unlike most fans, I do not have a team. I do not own a single NFL T-shirt. For any given game, I simply pick which of the two teams that for some reason I happen to “like” better. Often, I have no idea why I pick one team over the other.
I do, however, know why I picked the Ravens over the Patriots and the 49ers over the Giants on Sunday.
I am tired of seeing the shiny, perfect Patriots get to another Super Bowl. Haven’t we all had enough?
I also like rooting for the underdog in big games. Does anyone even remember the last (and only) time the Ravens were in the Super Bowl? I was eight, and while I probably watched the game, I still had to Google that unmemorable fact.
I doubt anyone outside of Baltimore honestly believes that the Ravens were going to dominate the Patriots on Sunday. Those who did peg Baltimore to win likely expected a gritty game that would come down to a few key plays and a few key points.
They would be right. The Ravens found themselves in easy field goal range with a three-point deficit as time expired. The field goal to send the game to overtime was no good. While many were surely disappointed, I doubt many were truly surprised.
And so the Patriots are heading to yet another Super Bowl. Woo hoo.
In Sunday’s later matchup, fans saw another field goal decide which team would go to the Super Bowl. Just like the other, this kick was too easy to miss.
Unfortunately for the 49ers, it was.
Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes nailed the easy field goal to beat the Niners in overtime. This time, the kick was good, and this time that good kick broke hearts all around the Bay.
The Giants, like the Patriots, have been to the Super Bowl recently and always seem to loom just on the peripherals. We all remember the helmet catch. We all hear enough about the Mannings. But these days, only 49ers fans seem to remember “The Catch,” and no one seems to hear much of anything about Alex Smith.
The 49ers were fan favorites not only because they were at home, but also because they seemed like underdogs.
Yes, they were technically favorites, but for some reason they just seemed like underdogs. Perhaps it is because they haven’t made it to the Big One, or even seemed to come close, in such a long time.
So the Giants are heading to another Super Bowl. Been there, done that.
And while I would have been satisfied with a win from either team, what I was really looking for in a potential Super Bowl was a Niners-Ravens matchup.
I wistfully longed for the drama and subplots that would surely accompany a Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh super-sized sibling rivalry Super Bowl. Walt Disney couldn’t have dreamed of a better story.
I would have loved to see two fresh, defensively sound teams battle it out. Not flashy quarterbacks who can still smell their last Super Bowls on their uniforms. And you know both the Niners and the Ravens would be giving their hearts and souls for that game. Brady would be disappointed with a Super Bowl loss, but he has three rings and Gisele to go home to.
With their losses, the Ravens and Niners went home to heartbroken cities that haven’t been able to brag for several long, disappointing years.
Alas, two end-of-the-game kicks resulted in a Super Bowl matchup that does not live up to its blockbuster potential, and we are again thrown into the seemingly inescapable cycle of the same power teams coming out on top.
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