Broncos, I choose you!
One thing that’s always confused me about coverage of sport on TV is the pundits’ occasional assertion that the game you’ve been watching must be terrific fun “for the neutral”. I don’t think I’ve ever switched on any game of any sport and gone more than a minute without deciding who I want to win.
Whether I’ve got a preference to what colour kit they’re wearing, or have the coolest-sounding player names, or even just to annoy a friend who I know likes one of the teams, I’ll always choose a side quickly, for better or worse.
Maybe it’s just the geek in me – or else the childhood loner (don’t feel sorry for me, just send me cash if you must) – but all my life I’ve felt that need to belong to something. It fits in neatly with the notion of the sport fan, particularly of footballs both Association and American, of the collective of people that all want the same thing so badly; to win the match at all costs.
(Note: during the writing of this article I’ve discovered that Leeds United manager Brian McDermott has been sacked. I’m actually stinging a little as they’re the particular collective that I’m a part of, and firing the guy is a huge mistake.)
But on the eve of the biggest sporting event of the American calendar – not so much here in the UK where you’ve got to stay up very late on a Sunday night and book the next day off work – the media and other fans alike will have been doing their darndest to make you Pick a Side and then berate or encourage you accordingly depending on the choice you made.
Despite this peer pressure, the game might have passed you by completely, leaving you wondering why it matters so much – ironically enough by the very same people who will doubtless have an opinion on why you must queue up outside video game shops at midnight to get your mitts on the latest release, or why it really matters so much that Ben Affleck is set to suit up as Batman for the Man of Steel sequel.
And so, if you do somehow happen to be a Neutral as we head into Superbowl, but are keen to discover your true colours, may I suggest you go with the Denver Broncos this weekend.
Because Broncos linebacker Nate Irving has been playing Pokemon all week. The Broncos number 56 has been careful to hide it from his teammates, but according to fellow player Robert Ayers, “he does little weird things” like this. Perhaps previously ashamed that being found out would strip him of the tough-guy image linebackers are expected to portray, our man here has since gone on record to admit his love of the game.
Hopefully Irving will erm…I dunno…use Stun on someone.
I choose YOU to improve on that last joke. Who’s your Superbowl pick?