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Opinion

Football junkie shares Super Bowl thoughts and hopes

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February 1, 2007

This Sunday is basically a holiday for me, and my holiday wish is for a close game.

Blowouts have been a common occurrence when the Super Bowl is concerned. Only 12 out of 40 Super Bowls have been decided by a touchdown or less, a paltry 30 percent. Considering how big an event the Super Bowl is for the media, advertisers and everyone else, it doesn’t surprise me that this fact is commonly swept under the rug. 

But there is reason for hope if you look at recent history as an indicator: 55 percent of the nine Super Bowls played since 1998 have been decided by a touchdown or less.

Football fans can thank the emphasis on parity via the salary cap and free agency, which were implemented in 1994, for the improvement.
I have a bad feeling about this game though, but I’ll get to that later.

One thing I hope will soon become extinct is the pre-Super Bowl bye week.

I’m usually not one for conspiracy theories, but I am convinced that the real reason for the week off is to give the media extra time to build up the game in the public eye. Then, after everyone has been inundated with the basic plots, sub-plots, historical facts and expert opinion, we’ll finally get to watch the main attraction – the game.

Don’t get me wrong, I love football more than most. On average I watch about 25 game hours of football per week during the fall (pretty sad, I know). It bothers me that the media has an extra week to prepare and they ask players questions like: “If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?” Trust me, it will happen.

I shouldn’t complain too much though. Without that extra week off I wouldn’t be able to write this column. Plus, it gives those of us who normally waste our Sundays from September through January more time to get acclimated to life without football.

One topic the national media better not ignore, considering they’ve had plenty of time to prepare, is the recently deceased Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt. Hopefully the NFL has the foresight to give at least a small tribute to a football and sports pioneer. Hunt, who passed away on Dec. 13, 2006, coined the term Super Bowl.

Everyone in River Falls should also give some remembrance to Hunt, since it is his team that has graced Ramer Field every summer since 1991 to hold training camp. This winter the Chiefs’ organization received the 2006 Outstanding Service Award from UW-River Falls for their contributions to the campus community.

Last, but not least, I’d like to talk about a slightly disturbing discovery I recently made. Realizing that the loss by the New Orleans Saints in the NFC championship game left the general public without an obvious underdog/favorite, superbowl.com offers a service to make the decision for the indecisive masses. Since my only real hope was that the game is competitive, and it always makes it a bit more fun to actually pull for a particular squad, I decided to test this out. All I had to do is answer five seemingly irrelevant questions and I was told to root for the Bears. This sealed the deal for me. I’m now rooting for the Colts.

There are two reasons for my decision to cheer for “the young male horses that are usually not castrated and have not attained an arbitrarily designated age,” (per Merriam-Webster definition). First, I hate being told what to do, especially by a machine. Second, the Bears are led by a player I loathe more and more each time I hear him speak, or watch him play: quarterback Rex Grossman.

He was the punk who admitted he couldn’t get focused for the regular season finale against the Packers because he was too worried about his New Years plans. I guess Grossman’s $625,000 salary for the 2006 season wasn’t reason enough for him to set aside his holiday plans for a few hours and go out and do his job. Hopefully his post-Super Bowl agenda doesn’t get in the way of this game.

If it wasn’t for Grossman, I probably would be rooting for Chicago. That’s the exact same rationale I’m using for my prediction. Does anyone really think Grossman will have three playoff games in a row where he doesn’t do something to completely ruin the Bears chances? 

My Super Bowl prediction: Colts 26, Bears 17.

Super Over/Under
Things to watch for during Super Bowl XLI

• Times Rex Grossman looks completely lost: 30

• Times the ‘this is our country’ Chevy commercial is aired: 24

• Times the camera cuts to a shot of the Manning family: 21

• Times Peyton Manning has the ‘why did you just crap on my ice cream cone?’ look on his face: 6.5

• Visits to the play-by-play booth that have no real relevance to the game: 2

• Times the question ‘if you were an animal what kind of animal would you be?’ has any relevance to the actual game being played: 0

Nick Sortedahl is a student at UW-River Falls.