I wasn’t in on the big party in Tampa covering the Super Bowl, so I watched it from the cheap seats — a local sports bar. I live in Columbia, Md., and watched the game at the Greene Turtle there.
It was an interesting fan dynamic. Columbia is considered by some to be the dividing line between Baltimore and Washington interests, including sports — though given the Redskins futility and the Ravens success, that dividing line for football seems to be going further south toward the District every year. You can find a decent percentage of Redskin fans at the Columbia Greene Turtle for a game, but for the most part it is Ravens country.
You have to use an excavator to find a Washington Nationals fan there. Numerous times when I have gone there I have had to ask them to put the game on their TV selections, and give up perhaps a Maryland field hockey broadcast.
I expected to find a pro-Steelers contingent last night because they have such a widespread fan base and they are an AFC team. And there were a large number of Pittsburgh fans watching the game. But I was surprised at the number of fans rooting for the Cardinals. I think some of it may have been just anti-Steelers sentiment by Ravens fans. As the game went on, the Cardinals boosters seem to grow in numbers, perhaps because they were making such a game of it and then staged what appeared to be a historic comeback, from a 20-7 deficit to a 23-20 lead with a little more than a minute left in the game.
A minute later, they were out the door grumbling after Pittsburgh stunned everyone with the great Santonio Holmes catch in the corner of the end zone for the 27-23 win. The Cardinals did not win, but they certainly did gain a lot of respect for what had been for years a ridiculed franchise. They were playing as good as any team in football at the end of the season — certainly better than the one that lost to the Redskins 24-17 in Week 3 this past season.
After the game I loved seeing Joe Namath presenting the Lombardi Trophy to the Steelers. If you were a guy growing up in the 1960s, you wanted to be Joe Namath. I was sort of hoping he would kiss Dan Rooney.
I will be on The Sports Reporters today (Monday) on ESPN 980 AM from 5 to 7 p.m.
To learn more about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com