Ratto: Finally, a potential alternative to the worst Super Bowl ever

Ravens’ win provided hope that 49ers-Pats apocalypse can be avoided

Ray Ratto
November 04, 2019 - 12:02 pm

The news from Sunday night was, for a change, pleasing. The New England Patriots had just endured their first competitive dismembering of the season, thus offering legitimate hope for the first time that we as a nation could avoid the most hideous of potential Super Bowls:


This is the one combination that must be avoided at all costs. The Patriots can go, and that will be fine, allowing for the fact that most of America will hate the repetition. The 49ers can go, and that will be fine, too — fine being code for "I don't care one way or the other."

But Patriots-49ers would be two weeks of intolerable, and since we can agree that in a world in which Miami can win a game it is trying not to win anything is possible, Patriots-49ers can and must be avoided, whatever the cost to the nation.

Reasons follow, even if you don't.

One, nobody wants to see two great defenses play each in the same game. Yes, New England got shredded by Baltimore Sunday night, but everyone gets a bad one now and then (49ers-Steelers comes immediately to mind). The Ravens' offense is significantly more dynamic than San Francisco's, and Lamar Jackson is a better and more potentially game-changing player than anyone on either New England or San Francisco. You saw what Bill Belichick can do to an electric team like Los Angeles a year ago; he He ate the entire game with his brain and his memory of 1960s football. Now double that feeling and feel the despair wash over you.

Two, two weeks of people arguing over whether Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo is better looking is such a forlorn and repulsive corner of our culture that it cannot be endured by any right-thinking person. I mean, Garoppolo just turned 28, and nobody of that age should be called Jimmy. The idea that we must submit to a fortnight of arguing which team has the better eye-candy is so revolting that I would accept global extinction as an alternative.

Three, I'm pretty sure we'd get two weeks of joking about Bob Kraft's proximity to the massage-a-torium he was caught in in Florida last year. I cannot prepare myself properly for a world in which Jed York would be dragged into that one. He almost surely has his own weird vice — we all do, more or less — but I'd give a fair chunk of cash never to know what spins Jedediah's propeller.

Four, nobody needs or wants two weeks of Rob Gronkowski-George Kittle arguments. It would be like watching adults argue about which Marvel superhero is better than which DC superhero — a sign that you've wandered into the wrong party and need to flee immediately. And that goes trebly for "Is Kyle Shanahan The Next Bill Belichick?" and its pernicious offshoot, "Is Belichick The Architect Of Both Teams?" Feh, twice.

Five, inevitability sucks, which I why I need games like Sunday night's to remind me that teams that go wire-to-wire tend to suck as entertainment. I would rather spend the next eight weeks imagining other realistic alternatives to either team for the sake of variety than an inevitable march to a New England-San Francisco Super Bowl that would give us four hours of 1971 football. If this does not align with your desires, swell. I merely warn you of the horror to come if the thing you want comes to pass.

Thus, Sunday night produced our first real sign of hope that the apocalypse can be avoided. Football isn't just the games. It is also the illusion that multiple outcomes are possible. And if Patriots-49ers happens anyway, maybe I can get some kind of quarantinable disease that will keep me safe from the skull-crackingly stupid buildup to a game that will be decided by the first team to score a second safety and whose MVP will probably be a punter.

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