Has it really come to this? Patriots vs. Eagles? Well, I suppose it could be worse. Say, if the New England Patriots were playing the New York Yankees but, even then, not that much worse. And to top it all off, those seeking some sort of consolation in the million dollar Super Bowl ads are going to be in for a disappointment because, from what I’ve seen, they’re a mediocre offering that run the gamut from bland to annoyingly earnest to painfully weird. Pricey, sure. Star-studded, yeah. But memorable? Not a one. Of course, there’s always the possibility that they’re holding back on the really great ads and only released these middling twenty-five prior to the game in order to lower expectations. If this is their plan, then step one has been brilliantly executed. Kudos.
As for the game itself, it pits the hated New England Patriots against the much loathed Philadelphia Eagles.
In New England, you have a team that has excelled on the basis of talent, great coaching, occasional cheating, and calls that, curiously, always seem to go their way in crucial game moments. Be it a phantom holding call that kills an opponent’s drive, a suspect encroachment call that keeps a Patriots drive alive, ill-timed whistles, non-calls, the particular and timely enforcement of persnickety rules, or simply a game-wide reluctance to penalize the Pats while having no compunction about flagging their opponents. Hell, there are times when the officials can barely contain their enthusiasm for the team. It’s no wonder that a recent poll crowned the Patriots the NFL’s Most Hated Team.
The Philadelphia Eagles, on the other hand, have arguably the worst fans who have demonstrated historically bad behavior over the past, oh, 50 years. Whether it’s harassing rival fans, cheering a career-ending injury, throwing batteries at their own players (“Those D ones”), punching horses, or booing Santa Claus and pelting him with snowballs, they don’t engender much sympathy or support outside of Philly. As for the Eagles themselves – well, I personally find it tough to root for an organization that once promoted a convicted dogfighter and dogkiller as their starting quarterback.
Quite the dilemma. But, of course, your mileage may vary.
Netflix! Which is what I’ll be watching instead tonight.