Along about the time that either the Steelers defense gagged it up against Jacksonville, or perhaps it was when Danny Amendola caught that TD pass from Tom Brady that secured yet another Patriots trip to the Super Bowl (and against Philadelphia, no less), anguished wailing was heard throughout Western Pennsylvania to the effect, "well, there is no way that I'm going to watch the Super Bowl now."
Well, I for one am going to be watching the Super Bowl, and here are some reasons why.
- For all of the problems it faces, player safety being chief among them, I still like to watch football when played at its highest levels.
- By record, the two best teams in their respective conferences are the opponents in this year's game. In theory, at least, this should produce a competitive and compelling game. We know that it doesn't always necessarily work out that way, but that's why you follow sports, isn't it?
- Love them or hate them, the New England Patriots are the preeminent football team of this generation. They have the best coach and best quarterback in the history of the League, so, if you claim to be a football fan, why wouldn't you want to watch them play, even if you just want to see if someone else can beat them (besides Eli Manning and the Giants, that is).
- Justin Timberlake is sure to put on a terrific halftime show.
- How can you not like the Eagles, who lost Carson Wentz, their MVP candidate quarterback to injury late in the season, and have managed to make it this far with back-up QB Nick Foles? I hate to make the obvious and over done Philadelphia-Rocky Balboa comparison, but, hey, it's low hanging fruit.
- The commercials. Even if the game turns out to be a dud, everybody will still be talking about the commercials, and you don't want to be left out of the conversations in the week ahead, do you?
- Tom Brady is playing. My grandfather saw Honus Wagner play baseball. My dad once saw Babe Ruth play baseball. I saw Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax play baseball and Jim Brown and Joe Greene play football. Someday you will want to be able to tell your kids and grand kids that you saw Tom Brady play football.
- It will be your last chance to see any meaningful football played until September.
So there you have it. I'll be in front of the tube come Sunday at 6:30.
Oh, and a prediction. I went 2-0 in the Conference championship games, boosting my playoffs record to 6-4, so a winning record is assured. Who am I picking? How can you even doubt - the Patriots. How can you pick against them? They will pick up their sixth Lombardi Trophy, which will tie them with the Steelers in that department, and which will lead to mass numbers of Yinzers hurling themselves into the freezing waters of the Allegheny River come Sunday evening.
Oh, and, as always, watch, but don't bet.
I also predict that 99% of those people who angrily and emphatically said that they will not watch the Super Bowl will end up watching it anyway.
Enjoy the game.