So it killed me this year to watch my Eagles stumble through one of the least impressive seasons imaginable. Contract disputes, injuries, heart-breaking losses, merciless poundings—we proud, stupid Philly fans suffered it all. So no one out there deserves to be as down this week as we all are. Patriots fans? No way. They’ve enjoyed more than their fair share of success. Bears fans? Ah, no one expected them to be there anyway. Colts fans? Close call, but at least they had fun during the regular season. We had it worst. So what bothers me is all these commentators complaining about how much they pity themselves having to cover this week’s championship bout.
Take Skip Bayless. This week he posted on ESPN.com’s Page 2 an article entitled “Wake me up when it’s over.” http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=bayless/060130 In attempting to articulate that this year’s Bowl will be a snooze fest, Skip offers up a whine fest, blah blah blahing about how Detroit will host a dud because this game “feels like a game without a favorite.”
Wait. You mean, the teams are evenly matched? The shame!
This is not only an idiotic op-ed piece, it is further evidence of the ESPN-ification of sports.
Exhibit A: He scoffs at the Steelers’ luck, making clear that they might not have beaten the Bengals if Carson Palmer hadn’t gone down, pointing out that they wouldn’t have passed by the Pats if they’d had to, noting that they wouldn’t have defeated Denver if Roethlisberger had been picked off more often. Then he likewise laughs at those lucky Seahawks.
Hmm, good points, Skip. Oh, but they did win those games? And they are in the Super Bowl? So all of that is irrelevant? I mean, has Skip ever seen a team get to a championship game – in any sport? Has he never noticed that a lot of things have to go a team’s way – and that that’s what makes it exciting? And what’s Skip cheering for here, anyway – a team to win every game on the road to the Super Bowl by more than 40 points?
Exhibit B: Not until paragraph 28 – 28! – does Skip even consider whether the actual game will be any good. When he gets around to it, he begrudgingly admits that “this matchup is pretty intriguing” and features “two very likable teams and coaches.” Up until this point, all Skip is concerned with is the potential lack of highlights, the various subplots, and who among the game’s players has a chance of becoming “this game’s breakout Madison Avenue star.” At one point he even says, “I’m starting to missing T.O.” Yeah, well, I’m starting to think Skip’s tuning in more for the Stones and the commercials than the Steelers and Seahawks.
Who said this game won't be exciting?!
The truth is that we football fans are lucky: a great Super Bowl is on tap, featuring two excellent coaches – one of whom has a chance to solidify a legendary legacy – and a smattering of some good players, young and old, whose refusal to offer up off-the-field antics allows us to concentrate on the game itself. In fact we’re so lucky that even I, a Philly fan, can see it.
And the bottom line is, if you’re not from Philly (or, OK, maybe Indianapolis) keep your complaints to yourself.
Oh, and if you’re the Worldwide Leader in Sports, maybe take an interest in the actual game, and suggest to your columnists they do the same.