An IoT conversation: Super Bowl XLVI

One member of the IoT crew is having a bit of buyer’s remorse about this year’s Super Bowl. Jeremy exchanged e-mails with Jimmy earlier this week about his lack of enthusiasm for the Patriots-Giants matchup.

Jeremy: Jimmy, a Happy Super Bowl Sunday to you!

Like every red-blooded American male, I’ll be celebrating our great national holiday while sitting in front of a big-screen TV and watching the Patriots and Giants. Even if the game isn’t close, at least I’ve got an excuse to eat healthy, low-calorie foods like this.

Normally, I’m really excited for the Super Bowl. But this year, I feel like I’m watching the game more out of a sense of patriotic duty. I just can’t find a way to get into Pats-Giants II.

I’m not a fan of either team. That’s not all that unusual for me this time of year, but I can almost always find a reason to root for one of the two participants. Unfortunately, I loathe both of these teams. The Patriots are as close to the Yankees as any team in the socialist NFL can get. Meanwhile, the Giants, who got outscored during the regular season, only got into the playoffs because they were the least mediocre team in their division. That, and as you and I have frequently discussed, Eli Manning sucks — no matter how many passing yards he racks up.

I can’t even find a good storyline in this game:

  • The rematch of the great Super Bowl they played in 2008? The Pats were going for perfection. No such drama this time around, and neither team is as good as they were four years ago.
  • Tom Brady’s legacy? The Golden Boy is already a lock for the Hall of Fame.
  • A David vs. Goliath matchup? The Pats may have been the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but they didn’t beat a team that finished with a winning record until knocking off the Ravens in the conference title game. And even then, they needed Billy Cundiff to miss a chip shot field goal. Any Goliaths in the playoffs got knocked off on the NFC side of the bracket.
  • A great postseason run by the Giants? Yes, they got hot at the right time, but again, they were lucky just to make the playoffs. This isn’t like last year’s Packers, a team that scrapped into the playoffs despite numerous injuries and never trailed in a game by more than 7 points all year. The Giants’ run feels more fluky than genuine.
  • Eli surpassing big brother, Peyton, in Super Bowl wins? As previous mentioned, Eli sucks. He’s always going to be Little Brother to me.

Maybe I’ve just gotten my fill of the New York-New England rivalry with the Yankees and the Red Sox. Maybe I’m just bitter that the game I really wanted to see — a New Orleans-Green Bay NFC title game — never happened. Maybe there’s still some lingering resentment from the lockout. For whatever reason, I can’t remember a Super Bowl that I’ve wanted to see less.

Perhaps you can help me find a reason to look forward to this game.

Jimmy: Happy TV Commercial Day, Jeremy!

Frankly, I’m not sure where to begin responding to you. I look at this matchup and I see compelling reasons it should appeal to you. I’m going to don the guise of the Ghost of Super Bowl Present and see if I can show you all the wonders you’re missing out on by seeing this New York-New England matchup through Tampa Bay Rays-tinted glasses.

* The Win-Win: For you, this game is a no-lose situation. Whoever wins, you’ll be able to take pleasure in whoever loses. If the Patriots triumph (and I hope they will), you’ll be able to indulge in one of your favorite pastimes: Eli Manning schadenfreude. Manning has long been one of our favorite whipping boys, owing mostly to our affection for Instead of Texting favored son Philip Rivers. I’ve always believed (and I think you’d agree) that Manning took Rivers’ rightful spot as a finalist for the 2003 Heisman trophy. Four months later, he again supplanted Rivers, bumping our boy out of the top spot in the 2004 NFL Draft.

The next few years brought untold opportunities to wallow in Eli’s failures. From 2004 to 2006, he was just good enough to keep his job and just bad enough to singlehandedly lose several games a year with his recklessness. Even in 2007, the Giants’ Super Bowl season, Eli was shaky — he posted his lowest quarterback rating as a full-time starter and had more turnovers than touchdowns.

Rivers, meanwhile, built an impeccable statistical record. finishing in the top three in quarterback rating three times and placing himself solidly behind the Brady/Manning/Brees/Rodgers top tier of quarterback. The Chargers never quite broke through, but that was more a result of Norv Turner’s catastrophic coaching.

Things changed this year. Rivers looked shaky enough throughout the season that whispers rose about a mystery injury. Eli, meanwhile, was a revelation — bold but reasonably accurate, he posted the second-highest quarterback rating of his career and nearly threw for 5,000 yards. He got better in the playoffs. Even noted Eli-hater Bill Simmons has suggested that Eli is now the league’s top clutch QB. The shoe, it seems, is on the other side of the face.

I’m coming to a point now, Jeremy: what would feel better than watching Eli, on the verge of surpassing his big brother, crap the bed?

Going the other way, let’s assume the Giants win. You’re a noted lover of underdogs — surely you could find some satisfaction in seeing the ultimate overdog, Tom Brady, denied by Peyton’s Little Brother again.

* Ochocinco’s Ascent: You haven’t talked about it very much publicly, and I hope you don’t mind my outing you, but you’ve been dealing with a painful breakup for the last couple of years. After tolerating all manner of mediocrity and criminality for 30 years, you finally walked out on your beloved Cincinnati Bengals. It’s been difficult for you, I know from the late-night phone calls and weekend benders. But you’ve stayed strong.

Well, mostly strong. There has been one gap in the wall you’ve built between yourself and the Bengals: Chad Ochocinco. I can hear the slight rise in your voice when that contriving self-promoter comes up in conversation, that little bit of hope you quickly bury under false disdain. I know you’ve been DVR-ing “The Ultimate Catch” and drunk-dialing him.

Jeremy, you don’t have to pretend anymore. For one more Sunday, let your Ochocinco freak flag fly. While it’s unlikely that he’ll do anything to affect the actual game (why start now?), he has a roughly 50-percent chance of getting a Super Bowl ring on Sunday. Just think of the celebration: Bill Belichick, indulging his annual show of emotion, hugs Tom Brady. Rob Gronkowski jogs around the field with a porn star sitting on each massive shoulder. Brandon Spikes chases him with a webcam and a syringe.

And somewhere in a dark corner of the field, your last link to the Cincinnati Bengals takes a quiet moment for himself. Brushing tears from his cheek and tightening the drawstring on his sweatpants, Ochocinco crosses himself, points to the heavens, and, noticing the conspicuous absence of television cameras, begins filling out paperwork to change his name to “Chad TWITTERLOLZ3MILLIONZ.”

Jeremy: I’m not sure how we drifted to the subject of the Rays in a discussion about the Super Bowl, but since you mentioned it, I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to link to this great video. I can’t wait to see it re-enacted when “The Extra 2%” takes its place next to “Moneyball” as an Oscar-worthy baseball movie.

You make a compelling argument on this being a win-win game for me, but it feels more like a lose-lose. For me to revel in a loss for a team I hate, I have to at least be able to tolerate the winner. It doesn’t help that both of these teams are here as much because of mistakes the Ravens and 49ers made as anything they did.

And yes, I am a complete sucker for a good underdog story, but unlike four years ago, this ain’t one. The Giants already beat the Patriots this year, and in Foxboro no less. Vegas barely even has the Pats as a favorite. All the point spreads I’ve seen are within a field goal.

As for Chad 8-5, you know I have a soft spot in my heart for him. Sure, he’s a shameless self-promoter, but at least he’s an entertaining shameless self-promoter. How can you not appreciate a guy who responds to a question about crazy fans by simply noting that he rode a bull? Or someone who’d been fined by the NFL so many times for excessive celebrations that, after scoring a touchdown, he held up a sign that said “Dear NFL, PLEASE don’t fine me AGAIN!!!!!” — and, of course, got fined for it?

The problem with the Chad storyline is that he hasn’t played a significant role with the Patriots. Danny Woodhead had more catches this year. Honestly, I didn’t even know 8-5 was still on the roster until I saw a story this week that mentioned it was his first Super Bowl. Besides, under Belichick, he hasn’t really been the same fun-loving Chad (although that could have more to do with actually being on a winning team).

Sorry, but for me, this year’s Super Bowl is just an excuse to eat a Krispy Kreme burger — a sweet, meaty Krispy Kreme burger.

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