My Super Bowl XLVIII Dilemma

Someone will win Super Bowl XLVIII, but it won’t be the Giants.

With the Giants officially on Day 5 of the offseason (I say “officially” because you could make the case that some of them have been in offseason mode for weeks and some never even left it for the regular season) it’s the eve of the NFL playoffs and Wild-Card Weekend. Since the New York Football Giants aren’t going to the playoffs for the fourth time in five years and therefore won’t be going to The Dance at their own home on Feb. 2, I decided to dust off an idea I had for a column three years ago when I ranked the 12 playoff teams in order from which team I would most like to see win Super Bowl XLVIII to which team I don’t want to see win at all. Here it is:

1. Bengals
What is there not to like about the Bengals? Or should I say, what is there to not like about the Bengals? Unless you really hate gingers and therefore Andy Dalton or want to see the Bengals playoff win drought endure another year, there’s no reason to care if the Bengals win it all.

2. Colts
Out of the entire 2012 Quarterback Breakout Class, it’s possible that Andrew Luck has received the least amount of hype and attention for the player who was drafted first overall, had the highest expectations and career projection coming out of college and was being asked to take over a franchise from Peyton Manning. Luck hasn’t disappointed with back-to-back playoff appearances in his first two years, which were supposed to be rebuilding years in Indianapolis and hasn’t done anything in the spotlight to draw negative attention (at least since becoming a Colt since there was that whole private security detail that he employed on campus at Stanford).

A Colts Super Bowl win means a Chuck Pagano Super Bowl win. It also means a Jim Irsay Super Bowl win and what’s better than having a loudmouth owner who called out (and he had a point with what he said) the Peyton Manning Colts for not winning multiple Super Bowls?

3. Broncos
Three years ago I had the Peyton Manning Colts ranked first, but things have changed. I wouldn’t mind if Peyton got his second ring, but coming in the same year in which his brother threw a league-leading 27 interceptions, as a Giants fan it wouldn’t be the best situation.

If Pierre Garcon didn’t drop a pass that would have broken open Super Bowl XLIV or the Colts weren’t taken by surprise by an onside kick or if Peyton Manning himself didn’t throw a devastating pick-six then Peyton would already have his second ring, would be 2-0 in Super Bowls and considered the greatest ever. Instead he’s just the greatest regular-season quarterback ever not the greatest quarterback ever. I wouldn’t mind if that changed this February, I just wish it wouldn’t have to come in a year when Eli wasn’t so awful.

4. 49ers
The 49ers destroyed my 10-to-1 Championship Games parlay last season when they completed a 17-point comeback against the Falcons and won the NFC. I’m still upset about that when it comes to the 49ers, but nothing else.

5. Panthers
I’m still mad at the Panthers for their Super Bowl XXXVIII loss to the Patriots that gave the Patriots their second Super Bowl in three years. And I’m still mad at the Panthers, well mainly just Jake Delhomme, for destroying that divisional round game against the Cardinals in 2008 with five interceptions, costing me the Panthers -10 pick. But it’s 2013 and the Panthers’ Super Bowl loss to the Patriots was a decade ago (and if the Patriots don’t win Super Bowl XLVIII we will enter 2014 with it being a decade since their last championship despite many acting as though they won it as recently as last February) and Jake Delhomme is no longer a Panther or an NFL quarterback. And wouldn’t you be excited to watch the Panthers’ Super Bowl XLVIII DVD with the story about how Ron Rivera went from as close to being fired as you can be to leading the 1-2 Panthers to a championship?

6. Chiefs
If the Chiefs win the Super Bowl then that means the Eagles didn’t win the Super Bowl and it means Andy Reid has won a Super Bowl and the Philadelphia Eagles organization still hasn’t and that means chaos for the city of Philadelphia and Eagles fans. But if the Chiefs win the Super Bowl it means that Alex Smith was the quarterback who led them there and I’m not sure I want anything to do with a sport in which Alex Smith is a winner and possibly Super Bowl MVP.

7. Saints
Jeremy Shockey isn’t there to win another Super Bowl, so the Saints have moved up from their No. 8 spot in 2010. And without Shockey there, aside from Sean Payton wearing a visor, I have nothing against the Saints except for how they screwed me in the final minute against the Patriots and how they screwed me again against the Jets. The only reason I don’t want the Saints to win the Super Bowl is because everything I have come to believe about them and written about them and how they are a different team outside the Superdome will all be meaningless. And that’s because if the Saints win the Super Bowl, they will have won four road games and four outdoor games and that’s a scientific impossibility.

8. Seahawks
In a world where college coaches will do anything and I mean anything to get a better job, Pete Carroll is the poster boy for how to get ahead after he left USC with a two-year bowl ban and the elimination of 30 football scholarships for another shot at the NFL. Back in 2010, I didn’t care if the Seahawks won the Super Bowl (despite those things) and had them ranked third, but they aren’t entering the playoffs as a 7-9 division winner looking to make a mockery of the NFL’s postseason format, so that’s why they have fallen.

9. Packers
Here’s what I wrote about the Packers in my Week 15 Picks:

Since Aaron Rodgers has become the Packers starting quarterback, here’s how their seasons have finished:

2008: Missed playoffs
2009: Lost in Wild-Card round
2010: Won Super Bowl
2011: Lost in divisional round (first game)
2012: Lost in divisional round after beating Joe Webb and the Vikings in the Wild-Card round

So in the last five years with Rodgers as the starter, the Packers have won five playoff games with four of them coming in the same year. And if the “Miracle at the Meadowlands” doesn’t happen, the Packers don’t even make the playoffs in 2010 let alone win the Super Bowl.

I wrote all that because I was trying to show that Aaron Rodgers isn’t worthy of the “Best Player in the League” title he has seemingly been given in a league that boasts maybe the best two quarterbacks in the history of the game and the most dominant running back since Barry Sanders. And after two months without him playing, all it took was one season-saving 48-yard touchdown pass for everyone to push Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson and others like Drew Brees and LeSean McCoy aside for the Aaron Rodgers Is The Best campaign to return to form.

10. Chargers
In the same season in which Eli Manning threw 27 interceptions and lost to Philip Rivers and the Giants went 7-9 and missed the playoffs, it would be very bad if Rivers and the Chargers then went on to win the Super Bowl. I want the 2013 Giants season to be gone and forgotten and right now that process has started, but if the team Eli Manning said he wouldn’t play for and the quarterback the Giants would have possibly then had win the Super Bowl, Eli Manning and especially 2013 Eli Manning will be at the forefront of Super Bowl storylines for the next month.

11. Patriots
I once wrote how a Red Sox-Mets World Series would be the worst possible championship scenario for me and I’m thankful that I was only a month old when that scenario was created in 1986. My last two teams present the second-worst possible championship scenario for me.

Nothing has changed for me and my feelings for the Patriots over the last three years and because of that, here is what I wrote about them then:

There is no way I want the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. None at all. I would rather walk across the George Washington Bridge naked, during rush hour, while it’s freezing rain than see the Patriots win.

However, a Patriots’ championship would put a serious damper on the possibility of adding more chapters to The Last Night of the Patriots Dynasty book that I plan to write with Mike Hurley.

12. Eagles
This is my nightmare! Well, it’s just one of my nightmares. My real nightmare happened in October and October 2007 and October 2004. My hatred for the Eagles is so strong that last week I found myself rooting for the Cowboys in the winner-take-all Week 17 game and actually felt a little depressed after Kyle Orton ended the game with a Tony Romo-esque interception. That’s what the Eagles can do to me. They can make me not only root for the nearly-equally-hated Cowboys, but also have a Cowboys loss negatively change my mood when I should be happy and celebrating Jerry Jones’ Dallas disaster going another year without a Super Bowl.

If Philadelphia trades Cliff Lee to the Yankees between now and Super Bowl XLVIII I’m willing to at least think about changing their spot. But without The One That Got Away holding a Yankee Stadium press conference between now and Feb. 2, I want to hear anything but “Fly, Eagles Fly.”

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