The Super Bowl is this Sunday, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who's not particularly excited about it. It's not difficult to understand why. To say that I'm still salty about the loss to the Niners in the NFC Championship is like saying that I just mildly dislike Bobby Petrino. It's a huge understatement.
But, the tragically Falcon-less Super Bowl will be played on Sunday, regardless of how we feel about it, and let's be honest, most of us will be watching. So, let's go over some factors that can help us, as Falcons fans, decide which team, if any, deserves our rooting interests on Sunday.
Representing the AFC will be the Joe Flacco-led Baltimore Ravens. Flacco was drafted and made his debut in 2008, like our own quarterback Matt Ryan, and the two are frequently compared. Flacco is best known for his sparkling personality and wit. Oh, wait, that's not true at all--even his own father called Flacco "dull." Statistically, Flacco has been consistently worse than Ryan, but Flacco has postseason success to back up his claim of "eliteness." If the Ravens win, the comparisons between Flacco and Ryan won't stop, but Ryan's detractors will have a Joe Flacco Super Bowl win trump card to throw in the discussion, and that would be annoying.
Another major storyline from this NFL postseason has been Ray Lewis and his plans to retire after this season. Ray Lewis is well known for being an outstanding linebacker and a motivational master, and equally well known for his alleged role in a double murder in Atlanta in 2000. This week, Ray Lewis is also in the news for allegations that he used deer antler spray to facilitate a speedy recovery from the torn triceps muscle that kept him on injured reserve during the majority of the regular season. People tend to have strong feelings about Lewis, one way or the other. Where you fall on that spectrum will likely influence whether you'd like to see him win or lose on Sunday.
Torrey Smith may give fans of any team a reason to root for the Ravens on Sunday. Smith lost his brother in a motorcycle accident early in the season, and has had to bear some pretty horrid and unjustifiable heckling about it from opposing teams' fans ever since. If the Ravens win, it won't be difficult for most fans to be happy for Torrey Smith.
The San Francisco 49ers, obviously and tragically, will be representing the NFC on Sunday. I do find Jim Harbaugh, with his constant intensity and his, "Who's got it better than us?" and his crazy eyes all the time to be the more offensive Harbaugh, so that also gives the Ravens an edge in my book.
San Francisco's quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, is trademarking that bicep-kissing move of his, which is ridiculous. Also, visions of Kaepernick and his teammates celebrating on the Georgia Dome field linger. Yuck.
Some fans root for the team that knocked their team out of contention, with the logic being, if your team has to lose, you want to lose to the champions. That's understandable. If you fall into this category, root for the 49ers with a clear conscience. If the 49ers win on Sunday, the Falcons will have lost in the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl winners in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Maybe that's comforting.
Other fans wish nothing but heartbreak for the team that knocked their team out of the playoffs. That's also understandable. If this is the case for you, definitely root for the Ravens. You might just want to hope that the Ravens win 2-0, with the only points scored coming from Baltimore's defense on a safety, so we don't have to hear about how Joe Flacco is superior to Matt Ryan because of a Super Bowl win. This seems like a best case scenario to me.
If you can't bring yourself to root for anyone on Sunday, that's also okay. Root for funny commercials, and root against the dumb commercials. Root for Beyonce at halftime. Root for beer, and wings, if you can even get wings. And, get ready to root for the Falcons again in 2013.