Sunday, February 3, 2013

2013 NFL Pickery -- Super Bowl XLVII

With this year's six-win margin, m'man Joe Reid won our seventh annual NFL Pickery.  After I picked up wins in the first three seasons, Joe has run the goddam board for four straight years.  We're back for the Super Bowl, but if you can't get enough of Joe, you can find him hanging out on more important websites than mine. 

That's right.  I know people.

San Francisco (-3) vs. Baltimore 

Joe: Okay, first of all, none of you have any reason to believe me, but I had the Ravens picked as the AFC representative in the Super Bowl from the beginning of the playoffs and would have picked them happily with those crazy point spreads against the Broncos and Patriots. But, again, you have no cause to believe me there, so let's move on to rooting interest:

I have no good reason for why I don't hate Ray Lewis more than I do. I probably should. He maybe killed a guy? He certainly obstructed justice by covering up the truth, but seeing as I finished a hundred or so credits shy of my degree in criminal justice, I don't tend to get hung up on it. It's not like I like the guy, but I've become way too desensitized to athletes dancing around to be bothered by something like that. Also, the Jesus stuff is SO over-the-top that I actually find it hilarious. He ends up looking so crazy that the sportscasters (almost always the biggest cause for annoyance in sports) can't even rhapsodize his faith, like they do with Tebow. It's just Ray acting like a lunatic, and then it's back to the studio hosts who are all, "Certainly an ... emotional day for Ray Lewis." They actually don't know how to talk about it.

Meanwhile, there's just so much to hate about the 49ers. Starting with the fact that their fans spontaneously regained the ability to be smug monsters in the last six weeks. Dormant 18 years, they're back! And they're awful! And then there's Jim Harbaugh, who ... I get it, if you like the Niners, Harbaugh's a savior, and all his obnoxious behavior becomes endearing. But what's everybody else's excuse for tolerating this jackass's bullshit for one second? This crap is as funny as the Ray Lewis God stuff, I guess, but it bugs me way more. Maybe that's just my problem. What's not just my problem? 49ers homophobia! Congratulations, Chris Culliver, you win the Media Week Soundbite Trophy! Look, I understand that the reality of pro football (and most of pro sports) is that 85% of the athletes on all teams probably hate my ass just for being me, but when this is the public face of the Niners and this is the public face of the Ravens, my already-Ravens-leaning loyalties get set in stone.

As for who's GOING to win? ...Yeah, probably the Niners. They've been the best team all season, probably, albeit one with a weird vulnerability to the St. Louis Rams. Pick: San Francisco 31, Baltimore 23

Aaron: It's hard for me to remember a Super Bowl in which my the potential for glorious schadenfreude outweighed any rooting interest.  Oh, I suppose it would be nice to see the 49ers players hoist the Lombardi Trophy under a maelstrom of confetti and the sanctimonious specter of James Brown's swollen bee-stung mug.  Similarly, I'd have no problem with the much-maligned Joe Flacco -- "He once called himself 'the best' quarterback in the league without waiting for OUR endorsement?! GET HIM!", Sportswriters Everywhere  -- begrudgingly feted by his disproportionately large number of detractors. 

It's just that...yeah, everything else. 

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is the most compelling player on the field, but instead of appreciating him for his cannon arm and Randall Cunningham legs, we have to turn his story into a national debate on adoption?  This is why I don't watch any Super Bowl coverage between the conference championship games and 3:18 PM on the first Sunday in February.  And, I still can't escape it. 

Joe and I didn't pick any of the playoff games this season, but if we had, I might not have won a game.  Trust me...I was wrong on EVERYTHING.  I had Peyton Manning and the Broncos playing today.  I was sure the Green Bay Packers were getting healthy at juuuuust the right time.  Two weeks ago, I joined the chorus of voices that called for a San Francisco win.  The dynamic offense!  The underrated defense!   The genius/jerkface Jim Harbaugh! 

But, isn't it possible that -- at SOME point -- the experience wins out?  Flacco has spent his career going 15 12 10? it 10 rounds now in boxing?...10 rounds with very good-to-great Pittsburgh teams during the regular season and traded season-ending blows with the Patriots in the playoffs.  The Ravens' defense isn't what its decade-old reputation would have you believe, but it doesn't have to be to defeat a 49ers team that's ran the gamut from "Super Bowl team" to "0-1-1 against the St. Louis Rams".  Pick: Baltimore 28, San Francisco 27