Casual fans tune out bowl

While waiting for his teammates and friends to arrive Alex Hother, senior in Architecture practices his putting at the Arboretum on Wednesday afternoon. Alex, along with the Frolfing Illini team, practice and play disc golf every Wednesday and Sunday afte Austin Happel

While waiting for his teammates and friends to arrive Alex Hother, senior in Architecture practices his putting at the Arboretum on Wednesday afternoon. Alex, along with the Frolfing Illini team, practice and play disc golf every Wednesday and Sunday afte Austin Happel

Ring, ring, ring.

Hello? This is NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s office. Will you be watching the game on Sunday?

Eh, I guess. I mean it’s the Super Bowl and all, but I don’t really care about the Pittsburgh Steelers or Seattle Seahawks. In fact, I didn’t know Seattle had anything other than a giant needle and coffee until a week ago.

But it’s the Super Bowl – America’s unofficial sports holiday. The commissioner would like to know why you aren’t interested in the game.

There’s just no sex appeal this year. No Tom Brady. No Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens. Not even the possibility of a seeing a nipple at half-time. I wouldn’t recognize MVP Shaun Alexander or Matt Hasselbeck if they bumped into me at the mall, so who cares?

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Besides, there are three episodes of Family Guy on Sunday night. The Griffen’s end up stranded on a desert island during a fishing trip. I can always just catch highlights of the game on SportsCenter.

That’s a rerun, sir, and the commissioner wants me to relay to you that this year’s Super Bowl has plenty of sex appeal, even if it lacks the established superstars like Favre, Brady and McNabb.

There is the Jerome Bettis story. It might be a cheesy storyline, but how can you avoid cheering for the Bus in his hometown, in his final game, in his first Super Bowl?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pulling for the guy, but one man’s story doesn’t make the game interesting. It’s a six-seed versus a one-seed. Not only that, it’s the Steelers’ fourth-straight game on the road – even if the Super Bowl is technically neutral. Do the Steelers even stand a chance against the best team in the NFC?

Actually, the Seahawks are the underdogs, and just because a team made it into the playoffs as a wild-card doesn’t mean it can’t win the big game. Four of eight wild-card teams have won Super Bowls. In fact, Pittsburgh has all the makings of a team of destiny. They beat a Colts team that was flirting with an undefeated season just a few months ago, in their own building because their ‘automatic’ kicker shanked a 46-yard attempt to tie. In the wild-card game against the Bengals, Cincinnati lost its star quarterback on his first pass. Then, they man-handled Jake Plummer and the Broncos at Mile-High to get to Detroit.

Sounds to me like the Steelers have this thing wrapped up.

The AFC is regarded as the stronger conference and Pittsburgh knocked off the top two teams, so this should be a slam dunk. All it has to do is beat the best team in the worst conference.

On the contrary, Seattle didn’t win 13 games this season because it was lucky. The Seahawks lead the league in sacks, and if they hadn’t lost a meaningless game against Green Bay, they would be riding a 14-game win streak into Sunday’s game. This team is good.

Good enough to beat a team as tough as Pittsburgh?

The Seahawks average almost four points more per game than the Steelers. Seattle’s also plus-10 in turnovers to the Steelers’ plus-seven. Not only that, even if the NFC was weak this year, both teams are 3-2 against common opponents and one of Seattle’s losses was the game against Green Bay.

OK, so it should be a good game, but I still have no connection with these players.

The commissioner would like to remind you that you had no idea who Tom Brady, Adam Vinatieri or Bill Belichik were prior to Super Bowl XXXVI. The Super Bowl has a way of making careers – Joe Namath fulfilling his pre-game guarantee – or breaking them – Leon Lett’s fumble while celebrating a sure touchdown. There’s no greater stage for these players, and the intrigue is in seeing who shines in the spotlight this year.

I’m sorry, I just wish Peyton Manning were there.

We’re working on it.

Dan Berrigan is a senior in Engineering. He can be reached at [email protected].