Super Bowl XLIV

There is only one team that I would ever consider rooting for in Super Bowl 44, and that is about the most obvious statement on the planet.  Having become a Colts fan a good while back, I bleed Blue.  That being said:  I don’t hate the Saints, or their fans.  I mean, how could you?  This is quite the fairy tale – sports franchise has never been to the big game, still recovering from a disastrous hurricane, fan base that has had to endure some of the worst seasons in sports history, etc. ad nauseum.  Plus their most famous all-time player is the father of my favorite player, their quarterback went to school with my sister and brother-in-law, and many of my friends and wife’s family are Saints fans!  In many ways, it’s the most likeable opponent possible.

Many Super Bowls are very polarizing for me.  There is a quite obvious favorite, either because I like them, they are the underdog, or I just plain hate the other team (or some combination of those).  Take last year for example – Arizona has Kurt Warner and Edgerrin James, I can’t stand the Steelers or their fans, and it’s an easy decision.  Or two years ago – NY has Eli Manning, and I DETEST New England and their entire fan base.  Like I said, complete opposites.  But ironically, both of our Super Bowls have been closer to the middle.  Three years ago, we played the Bears.  Lovie Smith is their coach and is best friends with our coach at the time, Tony Dungy.  Having not had a football team before the early 80’s, there were still a lot of Bears fans left in Indy.  I don’t hate the Bears.  Just like I don’t hate New Orleans.  Which makes it just a smidge difficult for me going into next Sunday’s game.  I will be rooting hard for the Colts, don’t get me wrong.  But I can’t do it with the same passion and hatred that I normally reserve for teams like New England, Dallas, Pittsburgh or even the trash-talking New York Jets.  Even smack talk has lost it’s luster for me, because I really don’t have any ill will toward the Saints or their fans.

Having said that (chuckle), there are one or two things that have been starting to bother me about the Saints, and particularly their fans.  First and foremost is this whole “Who Dat?” slogan.  Yeeeesh.  Could there be a worse slogan in the history of sports?  It’s as if Saints fans WANT America to sterotype the south as uneducated, illiterate hicks!  And of course that is so far from the truth!  The second thing bothering me is a bit more delicate.  Please hear me on this, I have the utmost respect for diehard Saints fans like Mrs. White.  She introduced Lacey and I, and one of the first things I ever heard about her was, “she is a HUGE Saints fan!”  Fans who have stuck with them through thick and thin, good times and bad (emphasis on the bad, since there have been so many) are the definition of what MOST people would call “true” fans.  And there are a lot of those down in New Orleans.  I’m also not worried about people who have a soft spot for the Saints, or root for the underdog, or what have you.  It’s these Saints “fans” that are jumping on the bandwagon now that they are finally good that have bothered me this season.  Not BECAUSE they jumped on the bandwagon (sheesh, that’s what I did with the Colts, and if you want to admit you jumped on the bandwagon, more power to you…ahem…Bart), but because they won’t ADMIT they jumped on the bandwagon.  They strut around, referring to the Saints as “we”, pretending that they’ve been behind them all along.  Or even worse, admitting that they “pick their spots”.  You know, the old “I used to like Archie back in the day, but then I didn’t care about them, and then 3 years ago when they were successful I liked them again, but the last two years not so much, but all of a sudden they’re my TEAM again!  Yeah!”  To me, that’s just a little fake.  True fans, as defined by almost EVERYONE, stick by their team, and don’t waffle.  For example:  let’s say that the Cowboys had made it to the Super Bowl against the Jets.  If I were to pull this same nonsense, you would hear me proclaim myself a Cowboys fan, talking smack about the Jets, rooting for them, etc. just because I was a Cowboys’ fan in the 90’s.  I don’t consider that being a true fan, I haven’t liked the Cowboys for years.  Or how about if the Saints were playing the Jets.  It would be like me claiming that the Saints are “my team” just because Drew Brees is their QB, I rooted for them some this season and in the past, and because of my friend/family ties.  It just ain’t right.

Not that this is that big of a deal (although it really seems like I’m making it one, doesn’t it?  Ahhh, the internet.) Like I said, I don’t hate the Saints or their fans, in fact, I like most of their fans, despite their bandwagon tendencies 🙂   The fact of the matter is, the Saints are now truly “America’s team”.  I don’t shy away from it, in fact I welcome it.  But come February 7th, if you hear some crazy screaming, it’s probably coming from Noblesville, Indiana, because my Colts have just won their second Super Bowl.  Go Blue!

**Final Disclaimer**  I realize that it’s just a game, so in the whole scheme of things, my petty issues are less than insignficant.  Please take the above editorial with a grain of salt, and half tongue in cheek.  Thank you.  **End Disclaimer**

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