“Who are you for: Denver or Carolina?”–A real question asked during the GOP debate. Ben Carson—of all people–gave the most diplomatic answer with “I can predict with 100% certainty that either Denver or Carolina will win the game.”
And even thought that was an unusual moment for Carson—if the dude has a joke that actually works it’s nothing short of a miracle—I think it also summed up my own feelings. One of the two teams will win, and it really didn’t matter to me at all which one.
Maybe that goes back to Alabama days where people are obsessed with college football, but relatively muted on the subject of pro-sports. Sure, if Atlanta was good—and that’s becoming an increasingly abstract hypothetical—then we might root for the team that was geographically closest, but for many Alabamaians, Atlanta might as well be Tokyo since even a city two or three hours away (for parts of the state between Birmingham and Mobile) might be something close to an Odyssey.
Also, the weird rivalries between college football teams make die-hard Alabama fans about as likely to root for a “Georgia team” as North Koreans would cheer South Koreans on at The World Cup. [For the record, Alabama and Tennessee hate each other, Alabama and Ole Miss hate each other, Alabama and Georgia and Auburn have a triangulated hatred, and Alabama and Auburn hate each other with begrudging love the way estranged brothers do.]
If there were two reasons I cared about the outcome of Super Bowl Whatever it was: 1. I don’t like that Peyton Manning is a Republican or—even worse—a Tennessee grad. 2. Cam Newton did go to school in Alabama (Auburn), and he seems like a nice enough guy.