JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Super Bowl is Sunday.
Most Jaguars fans respond to that statement with a shrug of the shoulders and a smirk.
Jacksonville came within four points of playing in Minneapolis this week, the closest they have ever been to the NFL’s grandest stage.
Should Jaguars fans root for the Patriots or the Eagles? Here are four perspectives.
Root for the Patriots
This one hurts to write, but there is a reason why Jaguars fans could decide to root for the Patriots. Only once in the team’s history did they lose in the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl champions. That was the playoffs after the 1997 season when the Jaguars lost to the Broncos in the playoffs before John Elway won his first of two consecutive Super Bowl championships. Did it help to soothe the pain of the Jaguars loss? A little. Maybe. OK, so this is a reach, but if you want to feel better about the Jaguars, maybe it helps that they nearly beat the Patriots. Also, if New England wins big over the Eagles, the Jaguars will have come the closest to beating Tom Brady and Co. in the playoffs. So that’s something. Right?
Root for the Eagles
On the other hand, forget the Patriots. The Eagles are the underdog here. Jacksonville loves an underdog, right? Jacksonville usually IS the underdog. Let’s get behind the city of Rocky. He was an underdog and look what he did! Let’s get behind the city where the Declaration of Independence was written and signed. Look what America has done! The Eagles have never won a Super Bowl. It’s about time. Are you buying any of this?
Root against the Eagles
Maybe the approach is the root against one of the teams. It seems easier to choose who you don’t want to win than it is to create some kind of 24-hour fandom for a team who won’t really give you any emotional payback with a win. So let’s root against the Eagles. Remember when Philadelphia came to Jacksonville to play in the Super Bowl? Their quarterback had the temerity to throw up on the field. On OUR field. Really? That is sacred ground, and Donovan McNabb treated it like a frat house toilet. Yeah, you have cheesesteaks, but that’s not enough.
Root against the Patriots
Now we get to the good one. Let’s just all root against the Patriots. And not just because they ripped the Jaguars heart out in the AFC championship game. The Patriots have become everything that is boring about professional sports. No personality, nothing interesting beyond the field -- unless you count the quarterback’s supermodel wife’s occasional activities on social media. The Patriots want to be thought of as Tom Brady throwing majestic spirals for touchdowns, but their true avatar is really an aging head coach in a ripped, gray sweatshirt, with his chin tucked down into his chest muttering about this or that. Enough. Stop telling us how "This is the best team we will face all year,” and “We have to play our best game to have a chance.” We’re not buying it. We want Jalen Ramsey spitting facts. Not pablum. Go away, Patriots. You have won enough.
And then there is that glove. Brady has some kind of injury on his hand. It didn't hamper him in the AFC championship game against the Jaguars. But he continues to wear a glove on that hand. Come on. Enough.
Then again, maybe it’s a better idea to just binge watch "Game of Thrones" and the Puppy Bowl on Sunday.