The worst thing about yesterday wasn't the tearful Bill Cowher hoisting the Lombardi Trophy aloft. It wasn't the repeated tearjerker segments on the Bus and how apparently his team should win the Super Bowl because everyone likes him. It wasn't even when Steelers fans booed Tom Brady at the coin toss (hate to say it as a hardcore Jeter boo-er, but it only confirms Brady's stature to boo him when he's not even playing in the game). It was that my father--the man who taught me everything I know about football--was rooting for the Steelers.
I couldn't understand it. I still don't understand it. My dad and I bickered nonstop throughout the game. We rubbed successes for the Steelers and Hawks, respectively, in each others' faces when not stuffing our own with egg rolls and chicken wings. I still don't get how he, as a Patriots fan, could have rooted for Pittsburgh; he didn't get what my problem is with Pittsburgh; I found myself unable to really articulate why I couldn't root for the Steelers; probably the only worse scenario would have been watching my dad root for the Colts.
It was terrible. I'm not going to lie to you--I went to bed last night a little pissed off. Not at my dad, but at...well, everything.
"Hey, the Patriots can't win it every year," my fiancee told me gently before I went to bed.
"That's bullshit!" I hollered.
Yep. There it is. My mature, rational football philosophy.
Yeah, when you get right down to it, my problem with Pittsburgh winning stems from the fact that I pretty much can't stand anyone insinuating, implying, or outright saying that any of the current NFL quarterbacks are equal to or greater than Brady. That's pretty much the chief reason I hate Peyton Manning (other than his being an asshead, of course--but to be realistic, that just makes hating him easier and more convenient for me). And it's basically the reason I dislike (hate is a strong word I reserve for the Mannings) Roethlisberger. I hear the comparisons between Roethlisberger as a rookie and Brady when he first started his NFL career, and my skin crawls.
When Roethlisberger connected with Hines Ward at the 3 just before the Steelers' first touchdown, and my dad said "Wow...that was Brady-like," my head very nearly exploded.
Already today a coworker who is not a Steelers fan but a Patriots-hater has begun taunting me with "Brady's no longer the Golden Boy...Roethlisberger is a year younger and better...Brady's no longer the Golden Boy..." and I'll admit that it doesn't make me feel like a great or mature person, but I am tempted to punch him in the face.
But I'm trying to let it be--because this is what happens when you love a team and their quarterback and you wear your loyalty to them on your sleeve (and on your cubicle walls, and on your desk in the form of a bobblehead doll, and on your car's bumper). In good times the naysayers are an annoyance; in bad times, when you don't have a comeback, they're a plague. But it's what happens. I don't have to like it, but I accept it--it's time for me to take some lumps, and I'll do it. I'm not going to try to wriggle out of it.
Still, I can tell already--it's gonna be one long-ass day.