Posted by: Nate | February 5, 2008

Karma Police: Super Bowl Edition

[As promised, here is the piece of the Super Bowl preview I had written regarding the Karma of both teams coming into the game. The lesson here: karma’s a real bitch sometimes.]

Which team has the better karma going into the Super Bowl and how will this affect the outcome? Due to the oversaturated nature of the hype for the game and the ubiquitous nature of sports commentary these days, we were treated to two weeks of delightful stories about the Giants and the Patriots. Many of these stories were from a human-interest standpoint and provided good insight into some of the karma aspects that would play into this game. Here are a sampling of some of the ones I came across.

Positive Giants Press:

This first one is the story of an Iraqi war veteran who went to school with a member of the Giants staff and was injured in the line of duty. He was introduced to the team before the Redskins game in September and has been giving motivational speeches to the team before games and attending games periodically throughout the season. Players derive motivation and perspective from his story and his presence; they are undefeated when he is on the sidelines. He’ll be there in Arizona. Win one for the Gipper? Let’s hope not.

Link: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs07/columns/story?columnist=garber_greg&id=3222397

A story ran on ESPN.com last week about Giants player Chris Snee and how he is the pride and joy of his small hometown and everyone knows his name and is rooting for him. Not only does he have the love and support of the whole team, but he goes back there still after every season to see his family and friends. The small-town homeboy always seems to come out on top in these stories. (link can be found be searching EPSN.com’s archives)

Positive Patriots Press:

The Patriots lost a member of their team this past May, defensive end Marquise Hill when he drowned in a tragic jet skiing accident. Jarvis Green, a teammate of Hill’s at LSU has been wearing Marquise’s pads all season in homage to him. He has also tried to play a fatherly role to Hill’s young son Ma’shy in addition to raising his own three children. In honor of their fallen teammate they have sported a black number 91 decal on their helmets this season. The death of a teammate is always hard to bear, especially when they leave behind a family. Sometimes this can be a motivator for those left behind, as seen by the play of the Washington Redskins and other players in the league who were friends of Sean Taylor in the wake of his death. Here’s hoping the Patriots and Green continue to honor Hill with inspired play in the Super Bowl.

Link: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=nfl&id=3221651

Negative Patriots Press:

All the press surrounding Tom Brady and his ankle, from every news source imaginable, has been omnipresent and oppressive. Sites from ESPN, Sports Illustrated and your local sports cast to TMZ.com and other celebrity based weblogs have all chronicled “the boot saga” and even if he is the most poised man alive, he has to be bothered by this a little bit. Brady has become more and more famous throughout both his career and this season and eventually that fame is going to weigh on him and affect his play. Here’s hoping the media crush on his ankle injury isn’t the straw that breaks the camel’s back as they say.

Leading up to the game, more news broke about the Spygate scandal with some golf coach in Hawaii saying he has tapes of the Rams walkthrough from the 2002 Super Bowl that he took while employed by the Patriots. If this is true it is a violation of league rules and ultimately could get Belichick suspended and put in doubt the legitimacy of their Super Bowl victory over the Rams. Even the most grounded team in the NFL (which this one is I would argue) has to have this on their mind to a degree and Belichick especially has got to be somewhat distracted as his job may be in jeopardy.

Additionally, numerous media outlets have been reporting that a woman in Florida has filed for a restraining order on Randy Moss stating that he beat her and/or was violent towards her. The media has been looking for something to keep the Randy Moss is a bad seed angle going all season and this was the fuel they needed to get that fire started again. Here’s hoping Moss can keep focused and be the dominant force we need him to be in the big game.

Overview:

A quick perusal of these stories point to one thing. Almost every story being written about the Giants is a positive karmic force: small town hero makes it big, honoring a war veteran, the David vs. Goliath angle etc. There is hardly any negative press surrounding them, and they aren’t carrying much bad karma for one big reason: not many people expected them to be here and so the positive articles kind of write themselves. The G-Men are playing with the house’s money at this point, and that’s a great place for them to be. The Pats on the other hand, have been scrutinized more and more with each passing week, most of the nation is probably rooting against them to fail because they don’t want to see 19-0 happen or think we are dirty, women beating, drug abusing cheaters. To top it all off, our star QB has a mild injury that has gotten blown way out of proportion and one can clearly see the bad outweighs the good here. Lots of forces are at work against the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but hopefully they’ll be able to over come them and cement their dynasty.

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