If you can't develop a real rooting interest in the Super Bowl, perhaps you can come up with something almost completely arbitrary to help you care.
Poe, the mascot of the Baltimore Ravens, cheers on the team during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in December 2010.
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Randy Moss of the San Francisco 49ers addresses the media on Jan. 31.
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Head coach John Harbaugh (Suit-Wearing Brother) of the Baltimore Ravens and Head coach Jim Harbaugh (Hat-Wearing Brother) of the San Francisco 49ers speak to the media on Feb. 1.
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This is Sandra Bullock at the 2012 Oscars. Sunday, she's watching the Super Bowl.
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Practice squad player Nate Stupar and guard Leonard Davis of the San Francisco 49ers celebrate during the NFC Championship game on January 20.
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Headlines were circulating last week about how, as Slate put it, "almost everybody" is rooting for the San Francisco 49ers over the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday's Super Bowl. Of course, it turns out that what this actually meant was more like "substantially more than half of the area of the country is included within counties in which more people like the 49ers on Facebook than like the Ravens on Facebook."
In truth, many of us are probably undecided if we began the season as fans of some other team, or fans of baseball, Top Chef, or (shudder) reading books. If you find yourself in this position, where you have no particular rooting interest as between these two teams and would like to develop one in time for your Super Bowl party today, we are here to help.
Option 1: Root for or against Randy Moss.
Randy Moss is a very talented receiver who's been with quite a few teams and is currently with the 49ers. Last week, he called himself "the greatest receiver" who's ever played football, only to find himself on the receiving (har) end of sharp words from Jerry Rice, another famed receiver who would perhaps take issue with Moss on this point. (Furthermore, has Randy Moss ever finished near the top of the standings on Dancing With The Stars? No.) People who like Randy Moss tend to admire him enormously, while people who don't like him would point out that the "Controversy" section of his Wikipedia page contains the words "fully clothed mooning incident" alongside the more serious "dating violence allegations" and "lack of effort."
Option 2: Choose a mascot.
Hey, if you're going to be arbitrary, be really, really arbitrary. The Ravens have a raven, and his name is Poe. (Get it?) The 49ers have a freakishly excited, foam-headed miner named Sourdough Sam, who didn't listen when his foam-headed mother told him that if he insisted on pretending to be enthusiastic about everything, his face would freeze that way. In a broader sense, this also calls on you to choose between a team named after a poem and a team named after hard-working locals of yore.
Option 3: Pick Suit-Wearing Brother or Hat-Wearing Brother.
This year's Super Bowl pits two brothers against each other in the head-coaching department: Jim Harbaugh is the coach of the 49ers. John Harbaugh is the coach of the Ravens. At their joint press conference the other day, Jim went with the baseball-cap look. John went with the suit-wearing look. Are you more into casual wear? Or do you prefer to cut a fine figure in your professional attire?
Option 4: Decide how you feel about Sandra Bullock.
If you read The Blind Side or saw the movie (or chose not to see the movie), perhaps you know that it was about Michael Oher, who currently plays for the Ravens. Not only was it a Sandra Bullock movie, but she's reportedly coming to the game with Oher's family. So just be aware: If the Ravens win, it will probably make Sandra Bullock really happy. Make of that what you will.
Option 5: Be carried away by other people's enthusiasm.
There are many reasons, both serious and frivolous, to ignore the Super Bowl (or football, or sports). But the single best reason to go to a Super Bowl party is to enjoy the other people who are there. Now, I'm not claiming you're going to literally jump into anyone else's arms, but there's something to be said for, if you have no other particular rooting interest, rooting for the team that's more popular at the gathering where you find yourself. After all, if this guy had jumped into the arms of someone who didn't share his enthusiasm, he'd have broken something.