“The team’s fans are known for being passionate and are still remembered for pelting snowballs at a man dressed as Santa Claus during a losing game in 1968.”
—- Jacey Fortin, The New York Times, on the Philadelphia Eagles
Your On Fire correspondent has been anxiously awaiting the world’s greatest sporting event and America’s single greatest invention, the Super Bowl. However, following the conference championship weekend, your On Fire correspondent could not be more disappointed in the matchup. As an unabashed fan of small-market sport teams, we came so close … so teasingly close to a Super Bowl matchup between respectable teams. The Minnesota Vikings, hailing from a city that blessed us with the deals of Target, the music of Prince, and the beauty of Marshall Erickson, almost became the first team to host and play in the Super Bowl. The Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that has been in the NFL for a shorter time than that super-senior who never passed QTM, almost achieved the impossible in their matchup with the monstrosity commonly referred to as the New England Patriots.
Rather, this year’s Super Bowl will play host to two brute east coast football organizations, the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, both with reputations for cheating and destroying everything in sight, respectively. The New England Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl by the grace of God, and more importantly, the grace of the referees. Guilty of “Spygate” in 2007 and “Deflategate” in 2015, the mere 10 yards of penalties called against New England in the AFC championship may as well be “Penaltygate.” Who knows what surprise bit of fortune the Patriots will see in the Super Bowl. Will it be as simple as stealing their opponents’ signs, or as complex as planting an informant on the other team who has been destined to help the Pats’ cause? Could “The Departed” actually be Mark Wahlberg’s way of warning us about the Patriots’ future plans? Who knows: only the Pats, the officials, Robert Kraft, probably Roger Goodell and intelligent football fans everywhere. So a few football fans.
On the NFC side, the Eagles absolutely embarrassed the Vikings in the conference championship. With two weeks to go before the Super Bowl, Philadelphia may have just enough time to rebuild everything in their city before destroying it on Super Bowl Sunday. Despite measures taken by city officials to deter rioting, Crisco-covered street poles could not stop the most loyal Philadelphia fans from demolishing their very city. Maybe try peanut butter next time. After witnessing fans throw beer cans at the Vikings bus, light fires in the streets and drive a dune buggy up the Rocky Balboa stairs, we can officially confirm that the brief government shutdown, paired with an Eagle victory, equals pure anarchy. Fortunately for Eagles fans (and unfortunately for their cars and anything flammable/softer than diamond) the recent budget passed by the government is only temporary, which could easily result in a full blown post-Super Bowl purge.
The last time the Pats and the Eagles faced off in the Super Bowl, former President George W. Bush was just re-inaugurated and “The Office” was yet to be released. The Pats came out on top then, and 13 years later, your On Fire correspondent predicts that they will win again. Marked by an improbable 28-3 comeback last season in the Super Bowl, it can only be assured that the NFL is fully ready to commit another inside job to ensure a Pats victory. Given that the probability of the referees inventing a rule just for Tom Brady’s protection (*cough* tuck rule *cough*) is greater than the probability of Nick Foles appearing remotely competent, one thing is for certain: Philly cannot buy enough Crisco.