Wait, There’s a Game Sunday? A Super Bowl Preview for the Quasi-Interested

If you’re a football enthusiast with no particular rooting interest for (0r against) either of the teams playing in the Super Bowl, it can be quite difficult indeed to get excited for said contest. As a spectacle, the Super Bowl of course remains unmatched, but as a game of football, the Super Bowl is, more often than not, a boring piece of shit. I needn’t remind the public of this fact, as last year’s game between the Rams and Patriots was the very worst that I’ve seen, and back in the day I saw the Cowboys whale on the Bills twice; a colossal snoozefest, seemingly played on a Thursday, that chad no interest and wasn’t fun to watch for a single second, even for masochists like me who enjoy low-scoring, defense-first affairs.

In the week after the game, I recall reading some of the sport’s pundits defend the shit show, saying things the effect of, “Actually, this Super Bowl was a phenomenal defensive game, and if you didn’t like watching it you don’t really like football all that much.” Just in case you also read drivel like this, and it’s been stuck in your head for the past year, I’m here to reassure you that last year’s Super Bowl was, in fact, a turd. The 1990 NFC Championship was a phenomenal defensive game. Super Bowl LIII rendered an entire season of professional football down to a useless waste of time and money, and anyone who thought otherwise needs to be committed.

My point here is that I’ve seen plenty of awful games decide the league championship, and the times where the game has been any good stand out as glaring exceptions. The Seahawks/Patriots Super Bowl from a few years back was the only one this past decade that I legitimately enjoyed as a game, and it still left me depressed. Sometimes the heel wins, even in a ***** classic. The year before, I was inordinately excited for the Seahawks/Broncos game; it had been ages since the best team in the NFC and the best team in the AFC actually made it to the big game, and this pitted the year’s top defense against the year’s top offense, to boot. It was famously over after the first play from scrimmage, which I missed because I was getting myself a beer.

So I can’t help but be a bit reserved in my enthusiasm for this year’s tilt between the 49ers and the Chiefs. On paper, this game should be outstanding. Both teams are clearly excellent, and have their all star players healthy. The 49ers have a great defense and the Chiefs have a great offense, but they are both balanced to a degree. The 49ers run game is outrageous, and even the much-maligned Chiefs defense has been performing well above their reputation in the latter part of the season. Both head coaches are generally excellent, but both are infamous for committing baffling clock management blunders in big games, meaning there’s the potential for unspeakable chaos in the 4th quarter, of the sort that defies imagination itself, and is only possible in real life.

As a result, both teams are some variant on evenly matched, making it difficult indeed to guess at who will come out on top. Yes, defense does win championships, which would normally indicate that the 49ers have this in the bag. And yet, in his two playoff starts, Patrick Mahomes has pulled off two crazy comebacks, the most ludicrous coming against the Texans in the Divisional Round. The 49ers would have to be up a good three touchdowns or so in the 4th quarter before I started to seriously question the Chiefs’ chances.

As I write this on the morning of Wednesday the 29th, the Chiefs are the favorites, which I am tempted to count as a point in the 49ers favor. Most gamblers are dumb, and in the years since I started tracking on the spread I’ve noticed a tendency for the public to favor the better offensive team in the Super Bowl, only for that team to get wrecked (the Broncos were favored against the Seahawks and were underdogs against the Panthers, to name but two examples). But the Chiefs are only favored by 1-1.5 points, so it’s not like there’s a massive cabal of morons to bet against. Therefore, I am compelled to declare the spread inadmissible as evidence.

I sure hope this game is good. I’m not expecting it to be, and I suppose I’ll be good and drunk for it no matter what, so I’m guaranteed to come out ahead. And isn’t that what really matters, anyway?

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