Usually Superbowl Sunday I wake up with a bolt of energy and strategically plan my day of a fantastic season culmination with a grand football game. This year it was different. It is true that I wasn't really excited about either team. Not truly a fan of either, but there have been other superbowls (plenty actually) where my teams haven't made it and I'm still excited to just watch the game. But this year was different and I couldn't shake it. Even when my bff faithfully called by the second to update me on the pre-game festivities, I just couldn't work up even one solitary woohoo. I have been in a really frustrating slump with the pigskin sport since about the middle of the season. And yes, it did coincidently become clear by about that time that neither the Eagles or the Ravens would see the postseason but that really wasn't the MAIN reason that my love for the game was declining as the season went on. I just couldn't muster up my normal vigor for it. This behavior is not only abnormal but down right embarrasing for a football fan such as myself. When the Ravens finally got rid of Brian Billick and took on John Harbaugh, the newbie from PHILLY...I still only greeted it with an average yahoo at best. What was happening to me?
I'll tell you what happened. I figured out today that football was reminding me of politics. It was no longer a battle of the best team coming out on top but a referee influenced, money dictating, cheaters walking type of display. I couldn't tell sometimes whether I was watching commentaries or campaign speeches. I love the raw, the brute...the complete battle to be the best during the last quarter of the year. I look forward to the players vying for attention, stats, fans and endorsements. It is the blood, sweat and tears of win or go home in the post season that leaves me breathless. The struggle every week to crush your opponent to add another W to the record. The trash talking and promises of punishment and pain to the opponent and then the smile and high five at the end to show sportsmanship. I LOVE THE GAME OF FOOTBALL. But this season it proved to take on a completely different feel.
The New England Patriots were caught at the beginnng of this season video taping the defensive plays and signals of their opposing teams. They had their videographer capture the play signals on tape so that they would have an unfair advantage during the game because they would know the plays that other teams were going to run. Apparently, this behavior has been going on "for years"..and according to another supposedly "outstanding" coach, by very many teams. However, only ONE team was caught holding the bag. I can't tell you how many teams have actually cheated, I can only tell you that one team was CAUGHT. I watched Roger Goodall and the powers that be handle this NFL scandal and anxiously awaited the penalty and outcome. I waited to see how the players and other coaches would react. Waited to see how the fans would surely protest in outrage at the idea of spending their hard-earned money to see cheaters. At the end of the day it seems that I was the only one enraged.
Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 which was paid by the owner of the Patriots, Robert Kraft (which is like $1.00 to him). The tapes with the proof of the cheating were destroyed and Roger Goodall, Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick all three only spoke of the "incident" once. SERIOUSLY?? The media, players and fans were then advised to overlook this situation and focus on the fact that the Patriots were WINNING GAMES. I don't think I even realized how disgusted I was with the whole situation until the end of the season when the Patriots were going for their perfect season record...(which by the way is only perfect if you WIN the superbowl)..AWWW..It's kind of like watching the nephew of the boss take the position that you know someone else who has worked much harder deserves...yeah, kinda sucks. But today is proof positive of what parents and teachers have been saying for years - CHEATERS NEVER WIN...(even when it seems like they are going to cause they are 18-0 going into the bowl)!
I don't mean to speak so harshly of the boys in blue...I actually think that they are a good football squad. But that's the key...good...not GREAT! I have watched them win game after game by a simple field goal and wondered when someone was finally gonna take them down. When the scandal was exposed, I selfishly thought of my Eagles who lost to them in the superbowl several years back by that same field goal and wondered if they were calculating all our plays back then as well.
Maybe next year there will be two spots available for the superbowl...instead of the one offered after the Patriots are handed theirs. I look forward to the return to competition, real battling between two teams and the better team getting ALL the glory. I can't wait to be EXCITED about Superbowl Sunday again!
Congrats to the Giants and Giants fans! It's a good day to be a Manning!