notes on government, sports and popular culture
: "The Panthers were badly mismatched at running back." No shit.
I pulled for the Steelers in the AFC title game, and I was happy that a family-owned franchise was representing the NFL in the Super Bowl. But as I watched the presentation of the trophy in the visitor's locker room, it dawned on me: the odds of two wild card teams meeting in the Super Bowl were slim. Negativity crept in; the Panthers were doomed before the kickoff.
But it had to happen sometime. In fact, had the Panthers won, the Super Bowl would have been a meeting of two family-owned franchises at different ends of the professional football spectrum. But it's hard when key players on both sides of the line are injured. I'm trying to figure just how much of a difference a healthy Julius Peppers would have made. Perhaps he could have produced the key defensive play the Panthers needed so badly. Not to mention a strong performance
from its QB.
I guess I'm a sadist, but I also like watching the visiting team snatch title hopes from the hometown team in front of the fans. With that in mind, I'm glad the NFL did away with the bad idea of presenting the trophy to the visiting team on the field. I couldn't believe it when the AFC presented the '00 title trophy to the Ravens on the field right in front of disappointed (shall we say) Raiders fans. And to Art Modell, of all people, only one of the most hated men in the NFL at the time. As Modell was giving his acceptance speech, a firecracker went off and he jumped out of his shoes. I'm sure he thought he was dead. But what a way to die, clutching the championship trophy that had long eluded him.