Every time one of the major sports is about to decide its champion, and there's no Philadelphia team involved, I have to figure out which team I want to root for. In general, I like to root for the underdog, or David over Goliath. Teams that haven't won before or cities that haven't won in a long time, whose fans seem deserving of the success. Players I like (or dislike). So, no rooting for New York teams, the Dallas Cowboys, etc.
More and more there's a problem, though. Between the general arrogance and surly attitudes of many modern-day players and the rise of performance-enhancing substance usage and, in recent years, the outspokenness of players on gay issues and teams' participation in projects like You Can Play or It Gets Better, it's increasingly impossible to decide which team to support.
For Super Bowl XLVII (and boy, isn't it going to be weird when it's just Super Bowl L in three years), featuring the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, there's been particular attention paid to gay stuff. On one hand, the Ravens' Brendan Ayanbadejo is an major supporter of equality, speaking out and helping same-sex equality become law in Maryland. On the other hand, his teammate Matt Birk holds anti-gay views based on his religious beliefs. Point: the 49ers' Chris Culliver made stupid anti-gay remarks this week. Counterpoint: the 49ers repudiated his remarks and his coach and some of his teammates spoke out against them. Plus: the 49ers are the only NFL team to release an It Gets Better video. Minus: Two 49ers who were in the video denied being in it, until they were shown the video featuring them, and the video's now been pulled from the It Gets Better website. It seems possible the 49ers were unclear or misled their players about the video's purpose.
And that's not even getting into the media's canonization of Saint Ray Lewis, playing his last game, conveniently sweeping under the rug his involvement in the murders of two men, men whose murderers have gone unpunished thanks to the actions of Lewis. Oh, and there's that whole deer-antler-spray thing (getting back to performance-enhancers).
I suppose, with all the pro-gay and anti-gay stuff kind of canceling each other out, the Lewis factor would push me toward the 49ers. But the 49ers have already won five Super Bowls, and the Giants have two World Series wins in three years. So that pushes me back towards Baltimore.
See what I mean?
So I can't say how I'll feel about whichever team wins. I will say, after some wavering, I think the 49ers will win. It really depends on their quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, continuing to handle the pressure despite having little NFL experience before taking over midseason. If he doesn't play like a rookie, the 49ers will win. And, if you don't mind tattoos...