It's still the Super Bowl

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It's Still The Super Bowl

January 21, 2009|By CHILDS WALKER

Friends, Ravens fans, Steelers bashers, lend me your ears; I come to tell you that the quality of this year's Super Bowl matchup doesn't matter, not to praise it.

I know it's hard to get excited about a showdown between the bitter rival that deposed the Ravens and a 9-7 version of one of the worst franchises in recent American sports (one that jilted Baltimore in the 1980s, in case you forgot).

I'm not going to try to fool you with words about Larry Fitzgerald's magnificent scoring grabs or Troy Polamalu's reckless but inspired disregard for his body. That would be silly.

The truth is that if the Steelers and Cardinals squared off at 4 p.m. in Week 8, you wouldn't think twice about flipping the channel. There is no iconic player or unique story to mesmerize the casual fan.

But here's the thing: It's the Super Bowl!

In an increasingly fragmented world, there aren't many nights when we, as a nation, get together and do the same thing. The events that grab us that way are often tragic - a terrorist attack, an election dispute or a soul-rending hurricane. But on Super Bowl night, regardless of who's playing, a huge segment of the nation gathers to drink beer, scarf appetizers, judge commercials and, yes, watch a little football.

It's goofy, the buildup gets out of hand and the game often underwhelms. But it's just what we do as Americans.

So don't waste any psychic energy over the next 10 days bemoaning this spark-free pairing of teams. On Feb. 1, you will have fun, not because of the matchup, but in spite of it.

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