Unless you are one of the online gamblers who have succumbed to the nonstop sports book ads to “make it rain,” the Super Bowl can sometimes be a dry affair. If you’re one of the 323 million Americans who don’t live in Kansas City or Tampa Bay, you need to establish some kind of rooting interest. People have all sorts or reasons for how they choose a side, some as simple as liking the uniform colors.
My own tools are a bit more obscure, but they may help others provide a cheering rationale.
There is the Baconesque technique of rooting for a Chiefs win so that the Jets could indirectly be the best team in the National Football League because in the regular season they beat the Rams who beat the Seahawks who beat the Dolphins who beat the Raiders who beat the Chiefs. Voilà.
Some choose based on the city itself. Who doesn’t love a small-market team over Los Angeles, New York or Boston? No immense metropolises are involved this year, but the Tampa area is 50% larger than metro Kansas City. It is also unfairly warmer. Advantage: Chiefs.
Some reasons are really baroque, including the Ancient History Possibly Steeler Adjacent method. Sixty years ago the Chiefs quarterback was
who’d played a few seasons for the Steelers during their wilderness epoch. Tampa Bay was once coached by
who as a Steeler has the distinction of being the only NFL player ever to make and throw an interception in the same game. Tampa’s current coach,
once coordinated Pittsburgh’s offense and, as a college quarterback at Virginia Tech, was the first player to have a black roommate. Also, the Bucs share a nickname with baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates. Confused? I am. Tampa Bay here.
There is the schadenfreude approach, which has me hoping for a loss for the team that has an ex-Steeler who has done my hometown wrong. Le’Veon Bell, now with Kansas City, excelled at running back and missing drug tests while he was with Pittsburgh. Tampa’s
starred at receiver in Pittsburgh but his social-media shenanigans, including live-streaming from the postgame locker room, became a bit of a distraction. Pick ’em.
is a love-hate universe unto himself. He matched the six Steeler Super Bowls with the espionage-tainted Patriots. Bad. He took the aforementioned Mr. Brown into his home. Good and bad. He is in great shape at 43 and 6-foot-5, is married to a supermodel, and comes off as a modest sort. No life is perfect when viewed from the inside, but from the outside Mr. Brady’s life looks pretty good. I give.
Finally, the American way is to cheer for the underdog (which in this case is Tampa Bay), unless they’re playing at home (which sways me toward Kansas City). It’s a tough call.
In the final analysis, I’ll go with the Chiefs. I prefer their uniform colors.
Mr. Weiss is a carpet salesman.
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Appeared in the February 5, 2021, print edition.
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