Super Bowl XLVIII Thoughts

It’s Super Bowl Sunday! It’s been 37 years since my Minnesota Vikings have played in the big game. It’s been almost that long since I’ve really cared who won. It’s been about that long since I jumped up and down screaming about any play. Oh, there were years that saw one of my two most hated teams, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49’ers participate in the big game, but it’s not nearly as much fun to hope that a team loses as it is to hope your team wins.

Every year I’m asked who I’m going to be cheering for, and most years I just shrug my shoulders and say I don’t really care, although I usually share that I may be pulling for one team a little more than the other. Well, let me tell you, that doesn’t make for exciting Super Bowl watching!

This year, however, I’m more excited about the game than any in recent memory. Please allow me to share my Top Five Reasons why I want the Denver Broncos to win today’s Super Bowl.

5) The Seattle Seahawks are an expansion team. Expansion teams historically have a tough time competing with other teams during their first few years in the league. Oftentimes this incompetence borders on embarrassing and comical. Yes, I know, most of the teams currently playing in the NFL were the result of expansion, including my Vikings in 1960, but that was before I was born. In my mind, teams like the Seahawks, which came into existence in 1976, during my lifetime, will always carry the label “expansion team.” I know it’s not fair, but my mind also equates “expansion team” with “second rate.”

4) The Denver Broncos are my favorite AFC Team. There’re several reasons for this. A) They haven’t ever beaten my Vikings in the playoffs or in a Super Bowl. B) They were the first AFC team I ever cheered for, mostly because they were playing the despised Dallas Cowboys in 1978. Their famed “Orange Crush” defense was their strength that year, but I also liked their beaten down, washed up quarterback Craig Morton. C) I’ve always been a John Elway fan: He was perhaps the most competitive quarterback I’ve ever seen play the game. His ability to bounce back from three Super Bowl losses early in his career to eventually retire with two Super Bowl rings is the ultimate football success story.

3) I like Peyton Manning. I’ve gathered that I may be in the minority on this one as most people I’ve talked to seem to either dislike or utterly despise the Bronco quarterback. I don’t know why, but he’s never rubbed me the wrong way. Manning, like Elway, was a great quarterback through his career, but always knocked for not winning championships. I would like to see Manning retire out as a two time Super Bowl winner just as Elway did. Besides, how can I not cheer for an old guy who doesn’t have all of his physical gifts anymore but still wins by playing smarter?

2) The Denver Broncos give the Minnesota Vikings hope. The Minnesota Vikings lost four Super Bowls during the 1970’s, including three in four years. The Bronco lost a Super Bowl in the 1970’s, then three in four years during the 1980’s, making them equally pathetic to the Vikings in Super Bowl showings. All of the jokes made about my beloved Vikings in the 70’s were repeated about the Broncos a decade later. The Broncos, however, have reversed their bad fortune by eventually winning two Super Bowls. If the Broncos can do it, maybe the Vikings can too.

1) Richard Sherman. Talk about rubbing me the wrong way! His angry rant following the Seahawk’s victory over the 49’ers made me feel extremely uncomfortable, and changed how I feet about this year’s Seahawks. I went from being happy that an “expansion team” had defeated the hated 49’ers, to hoping that the Seahawks get thoroughly embarrassed by the Broncos. I’m used to players at least attempting to appear humble during post game interviews when they thank either a) their coach for the opportunity to play b) their teammates for being the best c) God for giving them the ability. Sherman’s claim of being “the best corner in the game” caught me a little by surprise, but then again, maybe it shouldn’t; professional athletes tend to have extremely large egos. It was his angry finger pointing, however, and threats of “don’t you ever talk about me” that made me think I was watching professional wrestler rather than the NFL. Most of all, it was the use of his moment of fame to tear down another athlete and fellow human being that made me instantly dislike Richard Sherman.

I know Peyton Manning is smart enough to not continually throw the ball towards “the best corner in the game,” but wouldn’t it be nice to see Richard Sherman get burned for a touchdown or two in today’s Super Bowl? I would be willing to bet however, that win or lose, Manning will use part of his post game moment to say the Seahawks played a great game. He will likely also thank his teammates, his coach, his family, the fans, the Bronco’s organization, and God almighty if given enough time. I also predict that Peyton Manning will make no claims of being the best quarterback in the game.

Win or lose, respect for one’s opponent is the mark of every player on a first rate team. I hope you are paying attention, Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks!