Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Bowl 46 -- I mean, The Big Game 46-- preview


Cities virtually step all over themselves to get big conventions, sporting events, and of course, The Olympics to come to town.

So what goes into getting The Big Game? This story from The New York Times gives a little insight into the process of landing a Super Bowl for your hamlet:

In summary, a city gets a Super Bowl by what the Times characterizes as:

"Build or improve your stadium. Run a good franchise. Play well with others. Beg a little."

I was waiting to hear the article mention "Give us 2000 free hotel rooms."

I've always suspected that the NFL either required thousands of hotel rooms to be handed to them, or to just black out EVERY hotel room within a 50 mile radius of the host city, so the NFL could control every room. That's why my research a few years ago for The Sports Bar found that it was impossible to get a hotel room within 75 miles of the host city well before The Big Game. And if you didn't mind staying an hour or so away, it would cost hundreds per night just for a 2-star hotel room.

But while it is short on specifics of my pet research project concerning hotel rooms, the article reveals that building a new stadium (read: getting taxpayers to filter millions of dollars to NFL owners) can land you the biggest one day prize in sports.


This is the part of the show where we first recognize that nothing could be more parochial than discussing how much we hate this Super Bowl matchup.

Everyone reading this has a different viewpoint on each of the two teams. Many factors go into how you feel about the Patriots and Giants, much of it based on geography.

My neighbor's family got together to watch the AFC title game last week. Oh, how nice, I thought. A family from the Washington, DC. area, gathering to cheer on their regional foes from the other conference, the Baltimore Ravens. Not so, grandma-from-next-door told me. They were rooting AGAINST the Ravens.

Whatever your feelings about this year's game, I know that for me, I might have a hard time finding a matchup that I loathe more, or that bores me more.

It would be different if I just hated one team. That would be an easy Root-Against. But I can't stand either of them.

On the one hand, you've got a sideline that is nasty, disrespectful, and cheaters. And that's just the coach. On the other side, you've got New Yorkers.

Come to think of it, the New Yorkers aren't much different than the other sideline.

So I set out to try to determine what is the absolute worst game I could imagine seeing in the Super Bowl. Is there a game in which I could possibly be less interested?

I sat down with the NFL standings, and I went through every possible AFC v. NFC matchup. That's 16x16, or 256 possible game combinations. And here's what I came up with:

Super Bowl game I'd most like to see: Eagles against anyone.

Only Super Bowl game I hate more than New England v NY Giants: New England v. Dallas.

Most boring Super Bowl matchup (no root-for nor root-against interest): Arizona v. Houston.

Lesser of two evils Super Bowl: Oakland v. Dallas

Can't find lesser of two evils, because they both are the incarnation of blood-sucking vampires Super Bowl matchup (think Jerry Jones/Bill Belichick): Dallas v. New England

Best Super Bowl to take a nap: Buffalo v. Tampa Bay

Most overhyped Super Bowl: New York v. New York. Game played in New York.

Super Bowl that even that guy who's been to every Super Bowl would consider not showing up for: Jacksonville v. Seattle

Worst owners in the NFL Super Bowl matchup: Irsay family v. Jerry Jones.

Most sentimental matchup: (teams never to play in a Super Bowl) Cleveland v. Detroit.

Best Natural disaster matchup: New Orleans v. Tennessee (Nashville)

Old School Super Bowl: Oakland v. Green Bay

New School Super Bowl: Houston v. Carolina

Most winners of most Super Bowls matchup: Pittsburgh v. Dallas

Most losers of Super Bowls matchup: Buffalo v. Minnesota (duh!)

The Undefeated Super Bowl: Miami vs. New England (an all AFC Super Bowl).

THE NFL STORY: Conference Championships

So I guess Mr. and Mrs. Harbaugh don't have that difficult decision to make, after all.

Baltimore (13-5) 20
NEW ENGLAND (15-3) 23
THE STATS: New England: 1 penalty, 1 turnover. Baltimore: 6 penalties, 3 turnovers.
THE STORY: Patriots won in spite of a 57.5 passer rating by Tom Brady. You think the Giants can hold Brady to under 60?

NY GIANTS (12-7) 20
San Francisco(14-4) 17
THE STATS: San Francisco 1-13 3rd down conversions.
THE STORY: So the NFL got to use those wacky playoff overtime rules. I still haven't figured out the rules, but at least they got to use the rules.

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