The most wonderful day of the year is almost here.
On Sunday, people will park themselves in front of their television sets watching the best game that professional sports can offer. Millions of feet of hero sandwiches (or hoagies) will be eaten, millions of cans of beer will be consumed and a countless number of eyes will be glued to the television, whether it be to watch the game, the commercials or the always entertaining halftime show.
The Super Bowl is a monumental event no matter which teams are playing, but this year there is added significance, especially for the football fans at the College. For the first time since the Giants were torn apart by the Ravens in 2001, a local team is in the big game. Whether you call them Eagles or “Iggles,” there is plenty of talk surrounding this year’s NFC Champions.
We all know the constant feud that boils on campus over North Jersey and South Jersey. In any argument between the two, the Eagles always seem to come up. South Jerseyans are loyal to their team but never have anything to brag about. The Eagles have consistently dominated the regular season and the early playoff games before choking in the NFC Championship Game. This year, they finally broke through and made it to the Super Bowl, but they won’t lose their status as perennial underachievers until they win it all.
While there are plenty of people on campus who will be sporting green jerseys on Sunday, there are likely just as many who for this week only will be die-hard Patriots fans. If the Eagles win their first Super Bowl on Sunday, there are many anti-Eagles fans who will feel like the world is over. It will be the same type of reaction that Yankees fans had when the Red Sox broke the curse in October.
But this game has a lot more storylines than just the local impact. The two teams have had great success in recent years, but only the Patriots have made it to the top of the football world. If the Patriots win on Sunday, they will establish themselves as the first NFL dynasty of the new millennium.
If the Eagles win, the criticisms of the team will finally end. Quarterback Donovan McNabb has been criticized as never coming through in the big games, while head coach Andy Reid’s impressive accomplishments have been overshadowed by three consecutive league championship losses. A win on Sunday will change all that.
The individual matchups are exciting as well. At quarterback, the athletic, agile McNabb will go up against Tom Brady, who has never felt the pain of losing a playoff game. Multitalented running back Brian Westbrook of the Eagles will be put to the test by a stingy Patriots defense. Even the coaching matchup is intriguing-Reid will put his football smarts to the test against defensive guru Bill Belichick, who remarkably gets more press than any of the players on his team.
Meanwhile, Eagles fans can’t stop talking about the possible return of their savior, receiver Terrell Owens, who seems more than willing to put his injured body at risk if it means a chance at a championship. The drama is certainly set up for this game.
Even for those of us who really have no connection to either team, the Super Bowl always brings excitement. Recent Super Bowls have broken tradition, with four of the past seven games being decided by seven points or less. In the previous 31 Super Bowls, only seven were decided by that margin. Since 2000, we have seen two Adam Vinatieri game-winning kicks, the Titans come up a yard short, some cool commercials and Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction.”
What will this Super Bowl be remembered for? Will South Jersey finally have a team to celebrate about, or will North Jersey once again get the last laugh? How will the commercials stack up? Will the FCC have to dish out some fines for the halftime show? All these questions, and more, will be answered on Sunday.
So sit back with some friends, get plenty of snacks and drinks and enjoy the game.