A ROOTING INTEREST 

What's that smell at the Super Bowl?

The world is going to pause this Sunday. At least the beer-loving, nacho-munching, commercial-counting, Dennis Miller-loathing citizenry among us will take pause. For we are on the verge of Super Bowl Sunday. The day we embrace the only game on earth that can include a Roman numeral in its title and be taken seriously. Yes, I’ll pause. But I’ve got a problem with this year’s matchup. Actually, my problem dates back precisely a year, to Super Bowl XXXIV, when the St. Louis Rams edged the Tennessee Titans in perhaps the finest finale of the Super Bowl era. You take the Rams and Titans, then add this year’s AFC champ -- the Baltimore Ravens -- to the mix. What do you have? A stew of carpetbaggers who, on their finest day, do not deserve the glory and adulation that comes with a berth in the Super Bowl. Grab a Memphis football fan and it won’t take much prodding to hear an expletive or seven attached to the name Bud Adams. The Titans owner packed his bags after 37 years in Houston, stepped on Memphis until he was no longer welcome, and camped out for a season on the Vanderbilt campus until his Nashville temple was finally ready. Perhaps the only NFL owner more difficult on the stomach than Adams is Georgia Frontiere. This woman didn’t so much as bat a fake eyelash before putting an end to 49 years of Los Angeles Rams football. Past her amorous prime, she found an attractive suitor in the city of St. Louis. Georgia’s Rams take on Bud’s Titans for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Is that sentence as hard for you to utter as it was for me to write? Now look who we have for Supe XXXV. Yep, Art Modell. The Cleveland Browns, god bless ‘em, remain one of eight NFL franchises that have never played in a Super Bowl. Yet the team Modell yanked off the banks of Lake Erie will take the field in Tampa for football’s grand prize.. My heart bleeds for the dog pound. Thoughts of Otto Graham, Jim Brown, and Lou Groza bring tears to my eyes. I should calm down. The Ravens have a grand five-year history. Grand. Our only hope, fellow gridiron purists, is Wellington Mara’s New York Giants. A team whose following dates waaaaaay back to the first Bush administration . . . and well beyond. Understand how this hurts me to admit. I’m a Dallas Cowboy fan. Redskins and Giants are sworn, natural enemies of mine. The Giants have turned my stomach for the better part of a quarter century. I loved the Kent Graham era. Loved it. But I am going to force myself to root for the, ugh, Big Blue this Sunday.And you should, too. If for no other reason, then do it for the dog pound. In the name of Vince Lombardi, in the name of football as John Madden would describe it, in the names of Grange, Nitschke, Butkus, and Montana . . . please, carpetbaggers, go home.

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