I’ll be rooting for the Giants when the Super Bowl begins later today. Well, that’s not exactly true. A better way to put it is that I’ll be rooting against the Patriots. See, I don’t like them. They’re too machine-like. They lack personality. They’re like the valedictorian of your high school class who graduated without any friends because he/she spent all his/her time studying (and perhaps cheating on his/her exams). They’re too – oh, what’s the word I’m looking for? -- perfect.
The best teams, or at least the most memorable ones, had character. The 49ers’ first Super Bowl team was the David that slew Goliath in that famous NFC championship game. And they had flaws – six turnovers in that game before Dwight Clark landed with The Catch in the back of the north end zone. The Redskins teams I grew up watching – and the ones that made me fall in love with football – had the Smurfs, the Fun Bunch and a running back who once famously (and drunkenly) told a Supreme Court Justice, “Come on, Sandy Baby, loosen up. You're too tight.” The 1985 Bears – hell, they made John Riggins look like a yellow lab by comparison.
Don't get me wrong. The Patriots certainly aren’t goody goodies (Spygate), but they are too businesslike. They remind me of Ivan Drago of Rocky IV fame: perfect body of work with all the personality of a Siberian winter. And where does that chill originate? From their head coach, whose demeanor can only be described as 'barely restrained contempt.' Bill Walsh won with élan. Joe Gibbs was buoyed by faith. Bill Belichick seems to be fueled by a grudge. To borrow a phrase from Dr. Seuss, Belichick’s heart is like a bad banana with a greasy black peel. Giants coach Tom Coughlin is so gruff he has been dubbed the “Soup Nazi” by the New York media. But he seems as chipper as Gallagher when placed next to Belichick. It’s the kind of personality that might prompt John Riggins to say, “Come on, Bill Baby, loosen up. You're too tight.”
Do I think the Giants will win? Nooooo, I don’t. I think it’s New England by so much you’ll be playing Pictionary by the fourth quarter. But wouldn’t it be great if I’m wrong?
Many thanks to the studious readers who, unlike me, took the time to figure out why there’s a school in St. George, Utah called “Dixie State.” From reader Ted Webb:
I just spent Christmas in St. George. I too was intrigued by the name. Back in the 1800’s Brigham Young sent Mormon settlers into southern Utah to grow cotton. It was thought during the civil war there would be a shortage and they would be able to grow it in Southern Utah. The plan didn’t work out, but the name, “Utah’s Dixie” stuck.
And from reader Randall Fortenberry:
It was called Dixie because that area was known as Utah's Dixie due to the fact they grew lots of cotton there. What is interesting is it has been Dixie College since 1920 but now is being forced to change to University of Utah at St. George for political reasons.
Hope you’ve been reading my boss’s super bowl blog this week. Bill will cover the big game and today he’s got a story about a certain Lamborghini-driving Bears linebacker who would love to return to his home state next season.
-- Matt Barrows