Following the events this past Sunday known as Super Bowl XLII, I had to wonder. Is there a reason why the NFL went with Roman Numerals and no one else? Interesting choice to me, but I guess it works, people for the most part seem to enjoy it. It was fun with the I’s, V’s, and X’s, then a couple years ago we all got to learn a new one in the L. Despite popular belief the L is actually 50 not 30. So you take the X (10) and subtract that from the L (50) to = 40. Fast forward to 2016 and we can all get excited for Super Bowl L. That’s the big one, L. Who cares? This really wasn’t what I was wondering about anyway.
Did the Patriots use up their good luck winning 3 Super Bowls in 4 years? It was hard to say especially after watching them have the first perfect 16 game regular season in NFL history and 2 more wins in the playoffs before taking their 18-0 record into Glendale. But they have now lost 2 straight “Big Games” (the AFC title game last year to the Colts, and Super Bowl XLII), both to teams quarterbacked by Manning’s. I’ll get more into that in a minute. After their 3rd Super Bowl victory in franchise history the Pats have still won at least 10 games in the regular season, and always advanced to the 2nd round or further in the playoffs. Pretty impressive stuff. In the last 7 years with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady as the full time QB New England has won 86 regular season games. I’ll do the math for you and say that’s an average of over 12 a year. Despite those great stats the last 3 years have all ended in disappointment.
The unsettledness I have felt at the culmination of each of the past 3 seasons has been even worse than merely seeing another team capture the Lombardi trophy. Everyone has their favorite teams in each sport. Most people root for 1 team and 1 team only. Some will pick a team from the other Conference or League, or you may even find yourself watching a team for their style of play, because the team who you support, who you still watch may not be the best brand out there. (This can be the Phoenix Suns rule. They are so enjoyable to watch, despite zero affiliation with them I find myself rooting for them against every team other than the Celtics the last few years.) And like many fans I have a select group of players in each sport that I support far more than any others, and similarly a group of players who I despise more than any other. So if the Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, and New York Giants winning championships weren’t bad enough, take a look at their signal callers.
Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, and Eli Manning. I don’t have three players in football I hate more than these three. There is a variety of reasons why each one of these guys bothers me.
Roethlisberger is wildly overrated now. He throws 32 TD passes this year and all of a sudden he’s a top 5 QB. Give me a break. He’s a lot like Ben Affleck. He can give you a great performance, say in Mallrats, but just know that there’s a Pearl Harbor right around the corner. Also you can win with both Ben’s as long as you don’t ask them to do too much. Affleck played it safe in Good Will Hunting. They didn’t rely on him to carry the movie and he, and the team came through. Exactly like Roethlisberger when he “won” the Super Bowl. Pitt didn’t want him to do anything. Antwaan Randle El threw more TDs in that game than Big Ben. For those of you who don’t follow the game closely, Randle El is a wide receiver and only threw the ball once in that game, 20 times fewer than the QB who tossed 2 INTs and completed less than 10 passes, but he still goes down as a Super Bowl winning quarterback. Seriously? This was his first year out of four with decent stats; let’s not go crazy just yet.
Peyton Manning is the only one on this list that I at least respect as a player. He and Brady are in a class by themselves. The reason he bothers me, aside from the barrage of commercials is more his team’s success than anything. The Colts have become the Yankees to the Pats. Derek Jeter is similar to Peyton in my mind. I recognize their talents, but would not be caught dead cheering for them. If Peyton goes 0-16 next year only a 0-162 out of Jeter would make me happier. He’s the only 1 of the 3 QB’s that his ability is part of the reason why I can’t stand them. He is also hurt because he is the older brother to my least favorite athlete on the planet.
Eli Manning cemented himself as an unlikable player before he even took a snap in the NFL. I hated him the second the 2004 draft began. The San Diego Chargers wanted to take him #1 overall to be their QB of the future, but Eli didn’t want to play for them, and wouldn’t sign. The Bolts took him anyway as Eli moped on stage while every other college player sweated it out to see where they would go. He held the Chargers jersey with as much excitement as Kristie Alley eating a salad. The Giants traded picks with San Diego to get Manning. What San Diego got back was Philip Rivers, Shawn Merriman, and Nate Kaeding. I could always say that was a horrible trade until Super Bowl XLII.
These losses by the Patriots have been bad, but watching these 3 players and their teams capitalize on their collapses have made it that much worse. There is 31 starting QB’s I would rather have win it than Eli Manning, 30 more than Peyton, and 29 more than Ben. I don’t know who my 4th least favorite quarterback is in the league, but as soon as I figure it out I’m taking his team to win the Super Bowl XLIII. Maybe keep an eye on Jay Cutler and Vince Young.