As a long bye week draws to a close, Super Bowl Sunday is finally on the horizon. Some salivate with anticipation for the big game, while others wonder why two esoteric underdogs deserve to play in the game named Super Bowl XL. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks will duel Sunday night, and Swarthmore will be watching along with the rest of the world.
Nobody is spared from Super Bowl excitement. The over-sized rat Punxsutawney Phil’s big moment was overshadowed on Wednesday, when the annual Groundhog Day festivities about an hour outside of Pittsburgh turned into an impromptu Steelers’ rally. Members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle — a bunch of top-hat and tuxedo-wearing businessmen — donned black and gold Steelers towels as they waited on Phil.
Ian McCormick ’08 represents Swarthmore’s Seahawk coalition. “Being from Seattle I have been a Seahawks fan for just about all my life,” said McCormick. “While the town is not necessarily known for its pro football, I consider myself a diehard fan of any team hailing from the emerald city.” Unfortunately for McCormick, he is the rare diehard Seattle fan on campus. Of course, that simply means more gloating for him. “Basically being the only Seahawk fan on this campus has been a tough journey but a rewarding one. I have seen the Hawks put together a magical season that included making a mockery of the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football–a game that I went to with a friend who is a huge Eagles fan.”
On the Steelers’ and their fans’ taunts of his team’s “softness,” McCormick assured, “I am sure that you think that you are going to crush the Seahawks because you think we are soft. Since when has a team that boasts the NFL’s MVP, the first ranked defense, first in sacks, and first in knocking players out with concussions considered soft?” McCormick also had two harsh words for super-sized Pittsburgh running back Jerome Bettis: “Jenny Craig.”
Tori Martello ’08 was more than willing to provide the Steelers’ rebuttal. “Jerome Bettis is a god,” said Martello. “I don’t care what his diet is. Krispy Kreme donuts, cookies, whatever. You know how stadiums have gold statues outside? If he wins the Super Bowl, we can erect a gold statue of him eating a donut. I don’t care.”
Martello explained the depth of her devotion. “I was a steelers fan when I was conceived…I wasn’t privileged enough to be born in Pittsburgh, but with my dad I was born a Steelers fan. Other fans don’t have the devotion that Steelers fans have. It’s just what you have in that city. Other fans don’t get it. The story about the guy with the heart attack,” referring to Terry O’Neill, a Pittsburgh resident who had a heart attack when Bettis fumbled during the AFC Championship game, “I can see that happening to my family.” When informed of McCormick’s comments on Bettis’s girth, Martello rebutted, “Ian McCormick is going to be cursed. That’s what happens when you insult a god.
Ian’s going to be eating a Super Bowl snack, and he’s going to get food poisoning.”
On the atmosphere of the game, McCormick emphatically promised, “On Sunday, it’s going to be Detroit Hawk City!” Martello begged to differ: “Seahawk fans don’t travel. The stadium’s going to be black and gold.”
It’s unclear what colors the lounges and common rooms at Swarthmore will be on Sunday, but there will be an orgy of football, pizza, chips and wings. Put that linear algebra problem set on ice — Super Bowl Sunday only happens once a year.