Deciding which team to cheer for

Scooter Hobbs

I’m afraid we’re awash in a bit of a dilemma here. Maybe you can help me out.

The Super Bowl is Sunday, numero LV, I guess it is.

So who you got? More importantly, who you want?

Not addressing the sports-wagering crowd here. You’ll make your calculated pick, easy choice. Live with it, die with it, deal with it.

But for the rest, you can’t just sit there and watch the game. Even if a socially distanced Super Bowl party is your only brush with the NFL each year, you’ve got to have some kind of rooting interest.

I have it on good authority that the Saints are not in attendance, and this time it’s all square and on the up and up. No-calls weren’t a factor.

So in these precincts there’s not really a clear rooting interest.

Not a problem.

My advice in these matters has always been that it’s far more fun, probably healthier in the long run, to really root hard, complete with malice aforethought, dead-square against a team (it’s also easier to look like you didn’t really care if it doesn’t work out).

OK, problem.

Maybe there’s something in the closet I don’t know about.

But danged if I can figure out a reason to get mad at either the Kansas City Chiefs or the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Before we go any further, Saints fans just need to chill.

Yeah, the Bay Bucs eliminated the Who Dats, even deprived Drew Brees of his rightful exit on the grand stage.

I don’t subscribe to the theory that it makes the Saints look better if the outfit that eliminated them wins the Super Bowl. Nor that a team in your division deserves any particular allegiance. But it’s also no reason to bear a grudge.

That’s just jealousy.

It’s not like this is the hated Falcons about to celebrate (or blow a 28-3 lead, which surely was extra special).

Maybe when the Rams stole the NFC championship from the Saints two years ago — the no-call actually — it was reason enough to enjoy their comeuppance.

But by NFL standards the Bucs’ unfortunate victory over Brees was fairly square.

So, OK, circle back then. We’re not making much progress. Maybe there is something to root for.

There’s the state pride factor, for instance.

LSU has six players in the game, including the artist formerly known as Honey Badger (Tyrann Mathieu) — no other school on this planet has more than four.

Oh, but it’s also an even split, three Tigers to a side, including three of the game’s top four running backs, so that’s no much help.

It will be fun to watch Devin White tackle Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

So maybe expand out. Elsewhere from the state, Tulane has two in the game, one on each side, and Louisiana Tech has one on the Chiefs.

Slight edge to the Chiefs, maybe, but mainly because the Tulane Chief is BoPete Keyes, who is either a cornerback or a nursery rhyme but is definitely the best name in the game, non-Honey Badger division.

Still, it’s close.

Maybe you’d rather just do the usual thing and root against Alabama? Sorry. The Tide have two fewer players in the game than Tulane (which means zero), which has to be statistically impossible with Bama’s 797 players in the league.

Still, Bama Fatigue is a wash.

So we move on.

Coaches, maybe?

No dice. The Bucs’ Bruce Arians and KC’s Andy Reid, without being pushy about it, are two of the more likable figures in the NFL. Where’s Bill Belichick when you really need him?

In fact, we’re probably barking up the wrong tree concentrating on the teams themselves. All of them in the NFL come from all over with various mischief in their backgrounds.

So as a general rule of thumb, it’s easier to focus on the cities.

And there we find … not much, I’m afraid.

What did Kansas City or Tampa (including the Bay) ever do to anybody? Both seems like nondescript places that don’t really rile you up like some places on the West Coast or the Northeast.

I gave it some thought and finally got lazy enough to Google “Reasons to Hate …” for each.

Most of it was politics, and gosh knows we’ve had enough of that lately.

Oh, somebody was angry that Kansas City isn’t really in Kansas as advertised, except for some suburbs.

Tampa is all in Florida, but doesn’t have any beaches — true, but the team is Tampa Bay, the area, and there’s plenty of white sand over in St. Pete and Clearwater, etc.

As for food, KC has barbecue, mostly “burnt ends,” and Tampa has the famous Early Bird Specials if you like to eat supper at 4:30 p.m.

Neither, best I can tell has done anything to offend anybody.

So I’m afraid it’s going to come down to the Brady Factor.

Where do you stand on Tom Brady winning yet another Super Bowl? Would it be fitting or is seven too many for anybody?

It’s the best I’ve got for you.

So let your conscience be your guide.

l

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU

athletics. Email him at

shobbs@americanpress.comScooter Hobbs (American Press)

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