This Sunday will feature some big match ups with the two Conference Championship games on the docket, but much to the chagrin of Cowboys fans, it will not involve our beloved Boys in blue. After a heartbreaking defeat last week, the season has come to an abrupt end and the excitement of football has lost its luster. Maybe after sulking for a while, we might just...maybe for a moment, turn on the tube and check in on those games to see what is going on. Not that we really care, but I mean, what else are we going to do?
Who are we kidding? It’s football. We love football.
While the intense, tortuous anxiety that usually accompanies Cowboys football will be missing from Sunday, it doesn’t mean that us fans won’t have a rooting interest in the game. We still might have a dog in the fight. Sure, it won’t be our dog. It’s more like the neighbor’s dog, who at times may do its business in our yard so naturally, it infuriates us, but it’s a dog we will choose to support because we just don’t care for the other dog they’re playing against.
So which team should we be pulling for? Maybe you have a personal interest in one of the remaining teams or there could be a hometown reason to like one more than the other. Maybe there are just certain players that you like more than others. Whatever the case, there’s a team you’d rather see lift the Lombardi Trophy more than others.
Which team will you be rooting for?
This one is the easiest. The Cowboys don’t have any deep-rooted history with the Falcons. They faced each other twice in the NFC Playoffs (1978, 1980), but the Cowboys got the better of them both times. Atlanta has only made it to the Super Bowl once in 1998 against John Elway’s Denver Broncos, but they came up short. So this would be the Falcons first ever Super Bowl. No harm in that.
And if that’s not a reason to pull for them, maybe you can pull for the Falcons head coach, Dan Quinn? He and Jason Garrett both were coaches under Nick Saban’s Miami Dolphins in 2005. Garrett always speaks highly of him and it would be nice to see his old buddy win a Super Bowl.
But after the Falcons, it gets hard. Really hard. You could make a compelling case against any of the other three teams remaining.
The Steelers are the only team in the NFL that has more Super Bowl titles than the Cowboys. They sit at the top with six. The Cowboys have been chasing title number six for years and if Pittsburgh wins another one, it would put more space between them. Dallas is brewing up something good for the next few years so they have a real shot to catch Pittsburgh and possibly jump them. It would make sense to want the Steelers to just sit tight at six.
If there is a team that people love to hate more than the Cowboys, it would be the Patriots. And like Dallas, a lot of it is attributed to just having such a long stretch of success. The Patriots have reigned supreme over the league for the better part of the last decade and a half. New England has been to six Super Bowls since 2001, winning four of them. One more and they’ll join the Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers with five. Of course, this five will be different than the other as it will come at the hands of one coach, and one quarterback - Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Their legacies are cemented.
The down side for the Patriots is that many fans will slap a nice healthy asterisk next to those titles. Whether it’s Spy-gate or Deflate-gate, New England has teetered on the edge of the rules. So go ahead and get your five. It’s tainted.
Just like the Patriots, the Packers would also reach five Super Bowls should they win it all. But unlike the Patriots, the Packers titles are spread out over the beginning of time. Well, maybe not the beginning of time, but the beginning of the Super Bowl era. Vince Lombardi’s Packers won Super Bowl I and II back in the mid ‘60s, followed by Brett Favre’s title 30 years later, and now Aaron Rodgers is trying to help the Packers win their second title in the last seven years.
Of course watching confetti come down on the Packers might sting a little bit considering what just happened last Sunday. Packers fans will rejoice, but it will be hard to escape the “it should’ve been us” feeling that will sit at the bottom of our stomach. For some reason, Green Bay has had the Cowboys number as they’ve ended their playoff run twice over the last few years. I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to not like those guys.
It will be fun to just root for some exciting football, but when it comes to picking a winner - I’m pushing all my chips in on the Falcons. They’re they only team that could win it all without making me nauseous.
What about you? Which team are you pulling for?