If you are a fan of a bad NFL team, Super Bowl Sunday is a particularly bleak day on the calendar.
While it is festive in the ways that all national holidays are festive with friends, food and fun, you know that buried deep inside the joy of this great party lurks a football game that does not involve your team.
Worse, you know that your team didn’t have a shot at this game from even before the season began. You watch the NFL. You know which teams I am talking about, and one of them is your team. You root for a bad NFL team, and it is Super Bowl Sunday — welcome to hell. Here, have some chili.
Unless you are a Patriots or Giants fan, or you have more money than you should have riding on the game, the Super Bowl should be more of a national holiday than it is football game. It should be, “the commercials were funny, the halftime show was lame, and the game had a great ending.” Instead, if your team stinks, you think, “these two teams play a different sport than my favorite team plays.”
Cheering for a Super Bowl team is a different experience too. The other day at a local New England grocery store, a guy in a Rob Gronkowski jersey said to a guy in an Aaron Hernandez jersey, “Hey Hernandez, I need you to bag the groceries over here at number eight.” A lady in a Tom Brady jersey was the cashier.
Do the quarterback and two tight ends from your favorite NFL team ring and bag your groceries during Super Bowl week? If not, you can’t understand how much fun an entire region seems to be having because of the Super Bowl. So while the game is playing in your city that has your crummy NFL team, you are at least surrounded by others who root for the same crummy NFL team.
But what if you lived near one of these braggadocio Super Bowl cities where the team is in the big game and everyone everywhere is wearing the colors. What if you were a sports radio addict, and one thing you often heard on gloating Boston sports radio was, “imagine how horrible it must be to be a Cleveland fan.”
What, did you think I was talking about the Redskins?
I am surrounded. Bill Belichick, who used to coach the Cleveland Browns, is regarded as a God out here. The cheater Manny Ramirez, who began his career as a Cleveland Indian, is dismissed as irrelevant after helping win the only two Boston Red Sox World Series titles in almost a century. Imagine how hard it is to be a Cleveland fan? If it was only my imagination.
The only slight bit of joy I can get out of the Super Bowl is of the schadenfreude variety, like in Super Bowl XLII when the Giants upset the previously undefeated Patriots and I got to witness a balloon deflate in about two minutes. I felt sad for my friends and family. But I was happy. I didn’t have to live with their bragging for another year. That’s as good as it gets for a Cleveland Browns fan living in New England.
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