Sunday, January 19, 2014

Superbowl XLVIII

Ok, so clearly I don't post as often as I would like, or should, but it has been long enough and an incredibly fluid and challenging 2013. So, in moving forward, I would like to talk about something near and dear to my heart, and my first blog entry in months. Football.

Having just finished both Championship games, I take away from both of them a very distinct vibe in how our sports culture could be moving forward, and how it likely will.

Disclaimer #1. I am a lifelong Oakland Raiders fan. I bleed silver and black, and from Ken Stabler to JaMarcus Russell, I have rooted for my team in all manner of circumstances. I say this as a precursor to explain my disdain for all four teams playing in their respective championship games today. I loathe Denver. They have been a division rival for as long as I remember walking and talking, and for the duration of my life as a Raider fan, all I ever heard about the goddamn Broncos is Elway this and Elway that, and I recall fondly Denver getting destroyed by San Francisco 55-10 in SB XXIV. In fact, I maintain to this day that the ONLY reason Elway (and Shanahan, by the same virtue) has two rings is because of Terrell Davis.

I digress. My disdain for the 49ers comes from their incredible success across the bay, and the socioeconomic difference between San Francisco and Oakland. Now, with the caveat, that if the Raiders are awful, I usually secretly wish SF does well since I was born in Redwood City... I have always felt that Oakland fans are looked down on by the rest of the league (possibly excluding Philly and Cleveland fans, you dirty bastards).

Disclaimer #2. The Raiders are awful, and have been since '02. I blame many people for this, but primarily the Snow Bowl and the Tuck Rule are responsible, as I believe that game (and the godawful, bullshit rule that gave Tom Brady the win, his career, and his first SB appearance) caused a rift between John Gruden and Al Davis that led to Superbowl XXXVII. If John Gruden wins the Snow Bowl, many things are different in the NFL. He stays on as head coach, no rift, and the Raiders go on to face St. Louis that year (no guarantee they win, just that Oakland wasn't taping walkthroughs so at least there is that). Tampa Bay, even IF they make it to the SB next year without Gruden (which I doubt) don't know their opponent better than any other possible scenario, and don't read every play like a Dr. Suess book led by Bill Suck-ass Callahan (lifelong friend, stooge, and I firmly believe shill for Gruden).

I digress again. Under disclaimer #2 I think I explain my disdain for New England, but it goes further than that, in that since that game, they have represented everything I hate about elitism and favoritism (and at the risk of opening Pandora's Box, Racism... see their treatment of Richard Seymour vs Tedy Bruschi). This leads me to Seattle, who for years I could give a good goddamn about, since they were awful and were the perennial Browns of the AFC west (sorry Cleveland, it is true though). Then they left they went to the NFC and I really could care less about them... up until they got to the SB.

I even felt bad for Seattle when the refs screwed them out of a win against Pittsburgh (and be quiet Pittsburgh fans, you were handed that game and you know it), as I liked Holmgren, Hasselback, etc. However, Pete Carroll is an asshole, and his team is largely comprised of assholes, especially Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman. That's ok, Al Davis was an asshole for years, and I loved his team. The difference is how an asshole conducts themselves under win/loss conditions.

The post-game interview with Sherman goes to show how he is, and by virtue of the multiple PED failures this year how dirty their defense is, and by virtue of their incredibly obnoxious fan base (again, via previous disclaimers, Raider fan here... but Oakland was good... no GREAT... for DECADES and has 3 championships and division titles out of their ass, Seattle has been relevant for the equivalent of how long the Spice Girls were), Seattle is by far the worst team in the league right now to root for... which leads me to my long winded TL:DR point.

I am rooting for Denver in the Superbowl, which pains me to no small degree. I put this mainly on two factors. #1 John Fox. I always liked the guy. I liked him in Carolina when he coached Delhomme against the Pats in a SB I again think was handed to NE, and I like him now even coaching against the Raiders in a division that in no way remotely possible was winnable by Oakland this year. #2. Peyton Manning. Since Oakland sucked for so long, I developed a surrogate team to root for, which ended up being Indy (not just because of Manning, but also Dungee, Mathis, Freeney... and honestly Bob Sanders who I still maintain is one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game who just got hurt). I like Manning. I like him in interviews, I like his humility, his grace, and his tact. He is everything that Seattle isn't.

It sucks rooting for a lifelong rival to win the big game, just because the OTHER team is a bunch of ass-hats. However, that is the reality of how annoying Seattle is to everyone not from Seattle. They are awful, and god willing we see a reverse of SB XXIV and Manning lights them up for a 45 point win. I'll drink my beer, eat my chicken wings, and tip my hat to a Denver team I've hated my entire life just to shut those jerkwads up, and to hopefully see Richard Sherman cry at some point during the game. Respect? The guy screams at a sideline reporter about how good he is after making ONE good play in the game and wants respect.

Free advice from a non jerk-wad who doesn't play in the NFL... if you want respect? Conduct yourself with dignity, tact, and grace (again, see Manning), and then you earn it automatically.

Lose, lose, lose big, Seattle. You deserve nothing more. Correlation to the opening point? Seattle = bad football culture (Harbaugh isn't much better than Carroll, tbh, but his players seem to be), Denver = good football culture (and I seriously throw up in my mouth when I say that... goddamn Broncos).

Go blue and orange.

-James Bishop

P.S. Since I do write, and this is technically a writing blog... update is book #2 at 75k words and moving along. Convention appearances upcoming soon. Going to drink more beer and rant at people who care about how awful Seattle is. Cheers.