Also an annual tradition is the fact that I have absolutely no rooting interest in the match-up. My Chicago Bears have been once in my lifetime (and that was a clunker) and it doesn't appear as though they'll be in the mix any time soon. Also, while everyone loves to hate the Pats and their evil empire, I can't say that I lose sleep over Bill Belichik filling up his jewelry box. However, I still like parties, copious amounts of junk food, halftime concerts, and commercials more akin to short, art films; thus, I will still be watching the tilt. And, since I normally feel like I should find something to latch on with one of the competing clubs, for the past few years, I've used this annual exercise to figure out who to cheer for.
Since starting Wrigley Roster Jenga, I've reviewed the rosters for both, dueling franchises and thrown my support behind the team with the most ex-Bears on the sidelines:
The ways things stand, technically, the Patriots only have one former Monster of the Midway on their payroll and, barring total disaster, on the sidelines he will stay. Brian Hoyer was signed, mid-season, to backup the juggernaut known as Tom Brady, after their much-ballyhooed trade of Jimmy Garrapolo to the 49'ers. Funny enough, it was San Fran that released Hoyer to the open market to make room for the former Brady understudy.
Of course, before all of that drama, Hoyer was one of countless QB's that were chewed up and spit out by the Bears. Brian appeared in six games (starting five) for the forgettable 2016 iteration of the team.
However, the Patriots do have two other former Bears among their ranks; that said, they will definitely not be appearing in the "big game," seeing as they are both parked with injuries.
Tight end, Marty Bennett, was brought in from the Packers, midseason, but only appeared in two games before a shoulder injury ended his season. Meanwhile, linebacker, Shea McClellin, has missed the entire 2017 campaign due to concussion problems. Both had tumultuous stints in the Windy City, Bennett from 2013-15 and McClellin from 2012-15; however, since both are inactive, they don't count towards this exercise.
That covers the New England roster; now, let's examine the lineup for Philadelphia:
There was one obvious connection - Alshon Jeffery. The wide-receiver spent several years in the Second City as one of the only stars in the lackluster Marc Trestman/John Fox era and ranks among the best ball-catchers in club history (his 4,549 receiving yards ranks third, all-time). However, the relationship eventually soured and after much hemming and hawing, Jeffery took his talents to the City of Brotherly Love this past off-season.
Betcha he doesn't regret that decision.
The Eagles also feature a second former Bear on their active roster; but, my Bears All-Time Roster Collection does not feature his man. As you can see above, I had to pilfer a scan of Corey Graham's only Bears card on COMC.
The NFL journeyman began his career with the Bears in 2007 and made the Pro Bowl with the team in 2011. More recently, the free safety stole the spotlight with his interception of Vikings quarterback, Case Keenum, in NFC championship game, last week. I'll have to make a note to track down some sort of cardboard representation for the guy in the near future.
And so, excluding the inactives, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots in the third annual obligatory Super Bowl post and, ordinarily, would thus earn my support for the big game on Sunday. That being acknowledged, this year is a little bit different than the rest.
The Eagles won the exercise; however, they would still have my support over the Pats, regardless. No, it's not because I hate Tom Brady (though his politics don't curry any favors with me), like most outside of the New England region. The reason I will be rooting for the Eagles this weekend is because of my wife and in-laws.
You see, my wife and her family originally hail from Wilmington, Delaware - a scant 32.5 miles away from our nation's first capitol. As such, everyone in her clan is a rabid Eagles fan, including my wife herself. Given that this is the first time that the team has made the Super Bowl since we've met, I'd have a damn hard time rooting against my own family (the holidays sure would be awkward) and the happiness of my better half (divorce is expensive). So, with that in mind, the underdogs will have my full support come Super Bowl Sunday.
I guess this whole post was sort of pointless then... oh well.
In conclusion, I ask you loyal readers, who will you be rooting for in the 52nd edition of the Super Bowl? Will you be cheering for continued greatness from the ageless wonder from Boston? Will you be joining me and and my family in pulling for the scrappy underdog from Pennsylvania? Will you be secretly hoping for a giant meteor to take out U.S. Bank Stadium? Also, in the likely event that your team didn't make the final two, do you have some sort of special method to figure out who you will root for, like my ex-Bear factor exercise? Or do you just sit back with a beer and a brat and take everything as it comes? Inquiring minds want to know.
No matter what, the bottom line is that we're now just three more weeks away from baseball and spring training camps. Personally, I think that's the best part about Super Bowl weekend!