It’s been 30 years since I had a true rooting interesting in the Super Bowl — and given the way the Cincinnati Bengals have been since then, it may be roughly 300 more before I could truly root for a team again.
Still, though, I watch the game every year because I know it will be almost seven months before I can watch a football game again and it’s a good excuse to drink as much root beer and eat as much pizza as I want without getting some sort of lecture from either my wife or the Surgeon General of the United States of America.
I’ve always found the game is way more fun, of course, if you can figure out a good reason to root for one team over another. Sometimes it’s simple enough just to root against a team I hate. This year, for example, I’ll be vociferously rooting against the halftime show, Maroon 5, mostly because they are awful. I’m not sure what they are getting for playing halftime at the Super Bowl, but it probably should be 10-20 years.
Of course, that doesn’t help me much with the actual game.
This is one of those years in which I don’t particularly like or hate either team in the Super Bowl. And yes, I realize the Patriots are playing. Unlike most living outside the Northeast, I’ve never been much of a Patriot hater, probably because one of my favorite Ohio State players, Mike Vrabel, once played for them.
I’ve found, over the years, however, that when you don’t particularly like or hate one team, it’s always possible to root for one of the teams over the other based on a variety of other factors.
Here’s who I’ll be rooting for Sunday, and the reasons why:
The Buckeye Factor
Since I love college football way more than I could ever love the NFL, the first factor I use in choosing which team will have my allegiance is which team has the most former Ohio State players on its roster. This is why I was rooting so hard for the Saints — who may as well be renamed the New Orleans Buckeyes with all the former OSU players on their roster — to win the NFC Championship.
That didn’t happen, however, and we are left with the New England Patriots vs. the Los Angeles Rams. On the Patriots is former Ohio State special teams player Nate Ebner, who also represented the United States in the most recent Olympics on the rugby team, and linebacker John Simon. Playing for the Rams are long snapper Jake McQuaide.
Two is better than one, so, advantage Patriots.
I always cheer for the local guys to do well in the Super Bowl. No Miami County player has ever played in the Super Bowl, this year included. There don’t appear to be any obvious connections on the coaching staffs or front offices, either. So I’ll expand my search to the greater Dayton area.
New England offensive lineman Joe Thuney is a Centerville graduate and an Alter High School graduate. Rams coach Sean McVay was born in Dayton, but moved to Georgia when he was just 6 years old. I’ll take a lifetime Ohian over a carpetbagger every time.
The Patriots play in New England, which may be the birthplace of American democracy, but also is the birthplace of the Nor’easter and weather that actually might be worse than it is here. Plus, snooty intellectual types.
If there’s one thing the Beach Boys taught me growing up, it’s that “The West Coast has the sunshine and the girls all get so tanned.” Plus, California probably appeals more to my laid back nature than the Northeast ever could.
Food, Glorious Food
In addition to being a football fanatic, I’m also a devout foodie. I love me some food, which I plan on eating plenty of during the game. New England is known for its clam chowder and lobster rolls. Los Angeles is known for bean sprouts and tofu.
This one isn’t even close, folks.
The Brady Rule
The Patriots have Tom Brady. The Rams do not.
Well, there you have it, folks. By a narrow 3-2 margin, I’ll be rooting for the Patriots this Sunday. You may love my decision; you may hate my decision.
But at least we can all agree on one thing — Maroon 5 is terrible.
Troy’s very own David Fong appears on Thursdays in Miami Valley Today. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong