NFL fans: It is time to choose a side.

Hopping on the Super Bowl team bandwagon is a bittersweet process. NFL fans of all the teams who inevitably did not make the Super Bowl must carefully choose which of the two Super Bowl teams’ bandwagons to join.

Sometimes, the choice is easy — perhaps your second favorite team made the Super Bowl, so your instinct is to root for them. Other times, however, it is harder to determine the right team to root for.

Some fans root for the underdogs, others for the presumed winners. Some root for the team whose city has been ravaged by a disaster or against a team they feel doesn’t deserve to win.

Growing up as a fan of the New Orleans Saints, I would usually root for the team with a Manning brother on it, as the Manning brothers are New Orleans boys and their father, Archie Manning, is a beloved former Saints quarterback and member of the New Orleans community. The exception, of course, was the Super Bowl 44, when the Saints faced Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.

Other times, I have rooted against a team that had delivered a particularly heartbreaking loss to the Saints that season, such as the 2013 Seattle Seahawks, who defeated New Orleans 23-15 in the Divisional Round. The Seahawks ended up playing Peyton Manning’s Broncos team in the Super Bowl that year, making the choice even easier.

Whatever the Super Bowl combination, I always joined NFL fans in choosing a team to invest in for the three-hourlong game. After all, the bandwagon tradition is an integral part of the Super Bowl experience. To watch the Super Bowl without a reason to raise your guacamole-slathered tortilla chip in celebration of a touchdown is to deprive oneself of one of the purest joys of the game — or so I thought.

During last year’s Super Bowl, I sat quietly throughout the game, scowling at the television, angrily munching my tortilla chips that I did not at any point raise in celebration. My less-than-sunny disposition was a result of the fact that Super Bowl 51 featured the Saints’ number one rival, the Atlanta Falcons, facing the New England Patriots.

Similar to baseball, when most non-Yankee fans root against the Yankees in the World Series, most non-Patriots fans feel obligated to root against the Patriots. Fair or not, rooting against the Patriots is an accepted unwritten rule for NFL fan bases everywhere.

How could I choose between my least favorite team and the most hated team in the NFL?

Eventually, I felt obligated to lean slightly toward the Patriots — joining the NFL’s evil empire seemed less terrible than rooting for my top division rival. But the choice was difficult. It also came with the knowledge that I would be ridiculed by NFL fans for hopping on a bandwagon most fans would not dare to join.

The Patriots’ presence in the Super Bowl ruins the Super Bowl bandwagon tradition for at least one team’s fan base. Last year, Saints fans were conflicted — no matter the outcome, Saints fans would be grumpy and disinterested throughout the entire Super Bowl and therefore robbed of our bandwagon-fueled, tortilla chip-waving extravaganza.

This year, the Patriots have ruined the Super Bowl experience for fans of the New York Giants. Between the 13 losses, the midseason firing of Head Coach Ben McAdoo, multiple injuries and a tearful Eli Manning, Giants fans have suffered enough this season. Now, they must choose between their storied rivals — the Philadelphia Eagles — and the Patriots. How impossible.

Giants fans: I feel for you. Like us Saints fans, you will most likely arrive at the conclusion that you have no choice but to root for the Patriots, whom you have been conditioned to dislike whether or not they deserve it.

In the interest of saving you from the sullen, droopy-tortilla-chip Super Bowl experience Saints fans suffered last year, here is the rationale for you to root for the Patriots during Super Bowl 52.

Every Super Bowl the Brady-Belichick combo wins only enhances the Eli Manning-Giants legacy. The more rings the Patriots win, the more impressive the Giants become, as the only team to best the Patriots during the Brady-Belichick era.

Either way, revel in every point scored: You can now enjoy the shortcomings of both teams. While I hated watching Brady hold up the Lombardi Trophy yet again last year, I did enjoy the utter disbelief and heartbreak the Falcons suffered as a result.

So Giants fans: Do not let a Patriots v. Eagles Super Bowl make you melancholy. Grab your guacamole, hop on your bandwagon and enjoy an excuse to root for one of the best teams in NFL history.

Amanda Christovich is a junior in the College. Helmet to Helmet appears every other Friday.

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2 Comments

  1. Gene Smolenski says:

    As a loyal Giants fan your article is greatly appreciated. Well Done !

  2. Gene Smolenski says:

    As a loyal Giants fan your article is greatly appreciated. Well done. Go Pats !

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