I lived in Washington during the end of their Super Bowl era. My hatred of the team crystallized when the morning guys on WMAL were talking about how the Super Bowl would be in Minneapolis and just their luck, they’d probably go to that Super Bowl instead of one in a nice place.
If they play it Nome, Alaska when it’s sixty below, it’s still the Super Bowl. Most fans don’t get the opportunity to bitch about the venue.
The Detroit Lions have never been to the Super Bowl. Their last NFL championship came before the AFL (now the AFC) was born. The Cleveland Browns have never been either. The last time the Jets–my team–was there, Lyndon Johnson was in his last days as President.
Regardless of the sport, winning or even playing for a championship is a rare and wonderful thing. As much as fans of whoever happens to be good right now might claim otherwise, it’s not a birthright. Tommy Lasorda was probably disappointed that the Big Dodger in the Sky was largely ambivalent about who wins the World Series.
He loves all his teams equally (though he probably loves the Jets less equally than the others).
So the Bucs are playing in their second Super Bowl. Tom Brady is playing in his tenth Super Bowl–something that’s never happened before.
And Bucs fans are probably going to be insufferable about it until the game–and until Super Bowl LVI (56), if they win.
Packers fans are irritated. They’re complain about a pass interference call late in the game that helped the Bucs keep the ball until the clock ran out.
But if you lost because of one call, you should’ve lost. Aaron Rodgers should’ve run instead of passing on third down. And the Packers should’ve gone for it instead of kicking the field goal. And they shouldn’t have purposely committed encroachment to give the Bucs a first down.
The Packers have been there recently (ten years ago). They have four Lombardi trophies. I’m not crying very hard for them.
So it’s a day to be happy for Bucs fans, to wish them to enjoy the home Super Bowl. (For the record, Rams played in Pasadena and the 49ers played at Stanford, but no one has ever ever played a Super Bowl in their home stadium.)
In six months, Tampa-area teams will have played in the Super Bowl, World Series, and Stanley Cup Finals. They won the cup.
Some will complain that this happened in a pandemic year, so they didn’t get the full championship experience. A championship’s a championship, regardless of the year.
It was 2002 when the Bucs last won the Super Bowl. There’s been a lot of losing since then. Joe Garagiola once said losing hurts more than winning feels good.
I don’t agree. Losing hurts, but not even getting there creates a longing–an itch you can never scratch. And winning is incredible.
A lot changes in 19 years, but the feeling of winning never changes.