The Super Bowl is by far the most difficult of championships to predict in professional sports.
That doesn’t stop anyone or their uncle from trying to do it, anyway, of course. But most of our predictions are based not on fact, or statistics, or history. They are based on connections, on biases, and as often as not, pure irrationality.
This year’s particular matchup, is it perfect set up for those who pick with their hearts not their heads. It’s incredibly easy to take a quick glance at either team and find something to despise, and therefore put your money and rooting interest behind the other.
Looking for something to abhor about the Seattle Seahawks? You don’t have to look too far.
You can paint coach Pete Carroll is a rah-rah, college-type — only he doesn’t have to have assistance and his studs envelopes stuffed with cash at this level — whose enthusiasm is contrived and over-the-top.
You can paint star cornerback Richard Sherman as being emblematic of everything that’s wrong with big-time sports. He’s very good, yes, but he tells you that he’s very good way too often. We also know that he’s a very bright young man, but he does a lot of really dumb things, and it’s easy to detest someone like that.
And then there’s Marshawn Lynch. You’re probably struggling to decide which you find more tired: his petulant mums-the-word act, or that the media spends so much damn time talking about that very act. The worst kind of irony.
The New England Patriots? There every bit as easy to hate, if not more.
First of all, they’re from the Boston area. And their fans, like those of the Red Sox and Celtics — back when the Celtics were, you know, a real NBA team — have let winning go to their collective heads and become the most downright obnoxious regional fanbase in the country.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick practically dares you to despise him. His everyday countenance alone is reason enough, his salty vibe suggesting he has zero appreciation for his lofty position in the league that lords over all. Massive turn-off. Throw in the cheating allegations and the ridiculous attire, and you’ve got the football equivalent of a weak Lifetime movie villain.
And then there’s Tom Brady. Bay Area fans might give him a pass because he’s a local boy with one hell of an underdog story, but the rest of the world sees a pretty boy with a pretty wife who personifies metro. And metro is unacceptable to a lot of macho football fans who’d prefer their quarterbacks married to supermodels cut from a far more manly cloth.
So everybody without a connection, you see, has a decision to make. Which team is the lesser of two evils?
It seems as though the Seahawks come out slightly ahead. Not here in the Bay Area, but pretty much everywhere else.
The Pats are obnoxious cheaters, the masses say, and that, apparently, trumps a bunch of Pollyanna pop-offs.
Now, it you could bet against Roger Goodell somehow? Whole ’nother story. Try to enjoy the commercials, at least.