I know we have some Falcon and Patriot fans out there. So y’all start making noise whenever you want.
The rest of us are contemplating a peaceful, near-somnolent, food-featuring Super Bowl interlude on Sunday, because, frankly, my dear, we don’t care. I’ve never encountered so many people who don’t care. It’s an epidemic.
Others have decided to root gently for the Falcons (remind them again which city they come from?) because they’re not the Patriots.
But mostly, aside from the dedicated fans of the two teams involved, I’m hearing from a surprising number of people who just really…don’t care.
Now, don’t tell that to Houston, where they’re partying like it’s 1999 and raking in the hospitality-industry dough. The fan fans are showing up and spending money. Wet blankets are pooh-poohing the economic “Super Bowl effect,” to be sure: disparaging it as “just a big party.” Have they ever been to Houston? Like Houston cares. “Just a big party” is a bad thing? Keep your San Franciscos and your Rio de Janeiros; if any part of Planet Earth someday just blasts off into outer space headed for an exploding-star system a billion light-years away, it’ll be Houston.
There should be more Super Bowls in Houston. (On an unrelated note, the Animal Cops series in Houston was hands-down the best one.)
We should shoehorn a little football talk in here. The key is simple. New England’s defense isn’t toweringly great. Whereas Falcons QB Matt Ryan has been terrific this year, and he has more than one guy to throw to, the stand-out-ness of Julio Jones notwithstanding.
I say that’s the key because the superbativeness of the Tom Brady offense outweighs whatever bag of tricks the pretty good Atlanta D can muster. New England is giving 3 at the moment, and it’s not more because the Pats probably can’t shut the 2016-17 Ryan down. Ryan’s had his shall we say moments in the past: a few too many of those oh-darn moments (to put it politely) that we’d all like to get back. But he’s on, this time around. His O-line can handle New England, unless most of the personnel change out on both sides. Ryan’ll have to shut himself down, if he gets shut.
I’d never stand in the way of Patriot fans and their rendezvous with history. Paper, probability, common sense: they all say the Pats will take this one.
But something feels Falcon-y to me. It wasn’t pretty, early in the season, but somehow they kept scooting around like public-park X-gamers with chin scars and double vision who won’t stop getting back on the beat-up skateboard. More recently, they’ve been roaring momentum hounds, walking away with some big ones in their march to the Bowl. (Plus, if New England wins, the sportsbabblers will never stop talking about how Roger Goodell had to give the trophy to a formerly sanctioned Patriot, and the universe couldn’t be that unkind.)
Meanwhile, outside the stadium, the inevitable Politics of Our Time will be erupting. Opinion is divided on whether it will erupt at half-time when Lady Gaga takes the stage. Intense, Xtreme security will be in place. (Which, between the illegal drug trade, border security, and incessant visits from President Obama, looks a lot like what the residents of southern California have witnessed regularly over the last few years. Black Hawks? Please. Get back to us if F-15s start dropping laser-guided bombs.)
Whatever. It’s Houston, people. They’ll see your riot and raise you a stampede, a 500-year flood, and the world’s biggest Art Car Parade, all before breakfast.
There is one event that threatens to develop into something. It could even drive us to count the seconds some guy spent in the restroom again; we don’t know enough particulars yet to assess that aspect of it.
It seems that at “media night” on Monday, in Minute Maid Park, veteran sports reporter Art Spander, of the San Francisco Examiner, accidentally picked up the backpack of Falcon OC Kyle Shanahan and walked off with it. Shanahan’s backpack reportedly looked just like Spander’s, and Spander grabbed the wrong one.
Shanahan’s backpack is said to have had the outline of the Atlanta game plan stuffed inside it. Spander, presumably a credible fellow, says he never even opened the backpack, and he and Shanahan swapped packs some 30 minutes later.
But the incident has naturally sparked speculation that – oh, you guessed it, you clever kids – the Evil Moff Tarkin (Bill Belichick) paid Spander to make off with Shanahan’s backpack so the Empire could steal the Atlanta game plan.
I, personally, am enjoying the implication that we can’t all guess pretty accurately what Atlanta’s offensive game plan will be.
But there’s some fun to be had with the “Patriots caught spying again” theme, if someone wants to pick it up out there. It’s got at least as much starting mojo as Deflategate and the Bathroom Break, which were pretty pathetic gruel until we started counting seconds, chasing Tom Brady’s cell phone around, and measuring the inflation of footballs to the tenth of an ounce.
So, you know, talk amongst yourselves. It’s rare to have an annual-event year that’s divisible by 17, and it will be 17 years until we’re here for another one. Enjoy it while it’s hot. Best of luck to both teams, and to all those dedicated Patriots and Falcons fans out there, you go. Knock yourselves out. We love ya, man.