Volume 2, Number 1 -- January, 1997
The BackPage

By Dave Lind

Can you feel it? It's here. That special frosty, biting chill in the air that carries with it a strange kind of warmth all its own. Yes, though the trees may be barren and the ground covered in a glistening blanket of snow, it is the icy breeze blowing down from the North that tells us that the season of hope and togetherness is fast approaching. All across the country people will gather amongst family, friends, and even strangers to rejoice in the eyes of the Almighty and to revel in the glory that is his greatest gift to mankind on this, the Holiest day of the year.
Superbowl Sunday.
Ah, yes. Superbowl Sunday comes but once a year, but the magic of this special day can carry you aloft on its mighty wings throughout the coming year, or it can affix a ponderous leaden anchor round your neck which you must drag with you throughout every wretched minute of the coming twelve months.
For Yours Truly the outcome has been the latter in each of the past twelve Superbowls. With all the certainty of the rising sun, the team I have rooted against in the Superbowl has won in each of the past twelve seasons. Of course, I suspect, in my less self-pitying moods, that my recent run of bad fortune has more than just a little to do with my penchant for-backing AFC teams in the big game. But a losing streak is a losing streak and I therefore declare that this entitles me to a good wallow.
That requirement being met, let us move on. Now, it has become customary around this time of year for NFC fans to puff out their chests and strut back and forth pronouncing their superiority for all to hear. Distressingly, it has likewise become customary for AFC fans to cower meekly in the corner for weeks on end until thoughts finally turn to the NFL draft in April.
Well, not here, Buckaroo! Not me! I am here to debunk the myth of NFC dominance. I stand before you a proud backer of all that is the American Football Conference. Even the name loudly proclaims all that is good and right about this land of ours. American! You never hear anyone talk about the "National Way of Life" or "The National Dream." When was the last time you heard something referred to as "National as apple pie"? No one, NO ONE, has ever uttered the phrase "I'm proud to be a National." I could go on and on, but I sense I am losing you.
Back to the point. Despite what you may have heard or read, the NFC is not the dominant conference in the NFL. Oh, sure, the NFC has won each of the past twelve Superbowls dating to Chicago's shellacking of New England back in Superbowl XX. But let's take a closer look at those games.
First, of the twelve Superbowls in question, seven were won either by San Francisco or Dallas, with the other five going to Chicago, Washington, and New York. Now, to the average low-brow, knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing NFC fan, this is all the evidence needed to prove their position and they're probably going to run off now to go pound their chest and pee on trees and sniff the butts of other NFC fans. Leaving me to my task of inflating the battered psyches of the more thoughtful, enlightened, and cultured AFC fans.
Here's the truth of the matter. The Superbowl has been dominated in recent years not so much by the NFC as by a couple of teams who happen to reside in the NFC. These teams (San Francisco and Dallas for the most part) have not just dominated the AFC, they've dominated the ENTIRE NFL. They walk through the entire league like Godzilla strolling through Tokyo, pause for an afternoon to settle up between themselves, then roll on into New Orleans or Pasadena or Miami to pick up their hardware. No big deal.
Fortunately, for AFC fans ' the success of the top teams has been reflected in the misery of the bottom teams. With the exception of the New York Jets, who are really (I believe) an NFC team in the witness protection program, the worst teams in the league, year in and year out, can always be found in the NFC. Atlanta. New Orleans. Arizona. The Rams (no matter what city they play in). And of course, Tampa Bay. This is a dominant conference? Please! The WAC has better teams than this!
So who wins the Superbowl this time around? Regrettably for my AFC faithful, probably Green Bay. Not because the NFC is better, but because Green Bay is better. As of this printing the only four teams that remain are the Pack, New England, Carolina, and Jacksonville. As much as I would be intrigued by an all-expansion team Superbowl, I'm afraid it will have to wait as New England and Green Bay look to advance to the biggest of big games.
Why does Green Bay beat New England? Simple. Defense. It always comes down to defense. Even with two high-powered offenses like these, with names like Favre and Bledsoe, Freeman and Glenn, Martin and Bennett, Coates and Chmura, it will still come down to who can stop the other guy from scoring. And that, my friends, means Green Bay will hoist the trophy named after the man that made Green Bay the NFL's first true dynasty.
Besides, it would only be fitting for the NFC's Superbowl winning streak to be capped off by the team that started this whole glorious tradition thirty years ago. In a way, it's almost a shame Kansas City couldn't make it.
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