Football games are more enjoyable to watch when I have some sort of rooting interest in the game. That's easy when the Minnesota Vikings are playing. It's a little harder when they are not, which has been the case since Christian Ponder's right elbow and Joe Webb's ineptness torpedoed the Vikes Super Bowl hopes (hope being the operative word here) on January 5 at Lambeau Field.
With the Vikings out of the playoffs I went into "anybody but the Packers" mode last weekend. But now that Green Bay is out, who am I going to (reluctantly) cheer for? Let's go over the pros and cons of all four teams that are still alive, shall we?
New England Patriots
Pros: Absolutely none.
Cons: Tom Brady's ridiculously charmed life. The fact Danny Woodhead is a little weasel. Spygate. That they employed a dirtbag like Donte Stallworth (twice!). They're Bill Simmons' favorite team. Seven Super Bowl appearances. Three Super Bowl championships. Do I need to go on?
To root or not to root: I don't even know if Patriots fans want this team to win another Super Bowl.
Pros: Matt Ryan's fake tan. They play in a dome. They cut Ray Edwards. Have a player whose first name is actually "Jacquizz". Owner Arthur Blank seems like a nice, rich, old chap. Have never won a Super Bowl. They aren't the Patriots.
Cons: Errrr, Jan. 17, 1999.
To root or not to root: Fuck these guys.
Pros: Wear purple uniforms. No longer employ Brian Billick. The Ray Lewis feel-good story. The Matt Birk factor. They aren't the Patriots.
Cons: Have won a Super Bowl. The Ray Lewis feel-good story. Nothing else, really.
To root or not to root: The Super Bowl victory cancels the Ravens out for me. Plus, Joe Flacco seems like a bit of a wiener.
San Francisco 49ers
Pros: Still play at retro Candlestick Park. Gave CFL legend Jeff Garcia his shot in the NFL. The maniacal way Jim Harbaugh stomps up and down the sideline. That Vernon Davis is a curling fan. (Seriously. Check this out.) A certain guy that wears #84 and plays wide receiver. They aren't the Patriots.
Cons: Gave lunatic Terrell Owens his start in the NFL. Once upon a time employed dipshit Deion Sanders. Five Super Bowl championships.
To root or not to root: Normally my rule is not to cheer for a team that has won a Super Bowl if somebody else in the field hasn't. That would be the Falcons this year, but I ain't cheering for them - the whole franchise can rot in hell. And even though I suspect Matt Birk is much nicer human being than Randy Moss, and it would be great to see Matty B cap off a long and distinguished NFL career with a Super Bowl ring, that's not enough for me to ignore the mancrush I've had on Moss since he ripped the NFL apart as a Vikings rookie in 1998. Plus, I like how the 49ers are built - a big, strong offensive line, a physical defense that's tough and fast. And Colin Kaepernick is one exciting dude to watch play quarterback. But this choice is really all about Moss. This has got to be his last year and being on a Super Bowl winner would, I think, eliminate any chance that he isn't voted into the Hall of Fame. So, I'll be rooting for the 49ers from here on in.