We get a little too sensitive around these parts about the whole east coast bias thing. I’m guilty too, but I guess that goes with the territory when you write a blog with “Bay Area” in the title. When I ran a wide swath of picks from known football “experts” throughout the land, a theme emerged.
Most high profile media pros are comfortable with what they know and have seen, just like fans. The 49ers faithful believe their defense and special teams units walk on water, while Giants backers feel like Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul are the modern day equivalent of Lawrence Taylor, Michael Strahan and Leonard Marshall.
Since most national writers are just getting familiar with the 49ers’ story beyond the obvious (read: Jim Harbaugh), most are assuming not only that the Giants and the Patriots will once again face off in the Super Bowl, but also that the country’s anticipating and hoping for Brady vs. Eli, Part II.
Unscientific evidence to the contrary
I was watching NFL Network yesterday, and they interrupted Jamie Dukes’ ebullient praise of the Giants’ pass rushers to flash the results of a poll question — a poll that I can’t find anywhere on the Internetz, so you’ll have to take my word for it.
The question was (paraphrasing): What Super Bowl intrigues you the most?
Winning convincingly, to the shock of everyone on set, was Ravens/49ers. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but Ravens/49ers took over 50% of the vote — 53%, if I remember correctly.
Even though he spent a considerable amount of time talking up the Giants, Dukes picked the 49ers to win a close game, like 17-16 or something. But he was visibly upset at the voters’ decision, ignoring the reasons why they might be leaning towards Baltimore/San Francisco (fans appreciate defense more than the NFL thinks, the Harbaughs’ sibling rivalry, Giants and Patriots fatigue) and instead talking up why Pats/Giants is what everyone should want to see. He even mentioned how it would signify a “revenge of the nerd” scenario, with Brady as the “nerd” trying to get back at the Giants for ruining the Pats’ perfect season.
(Don’t you lose your nerd cred when you start dating Gisele? What about if you marry her?)
Mainstream Media’s favorite pastime: underestimating fans’ intelligence
They think we don’t know any better. They think we can’t handle change. And I’m not talking about “we” as in the people reading this site, I mean fans who live all over the country and get the majority of their sports information and content through ESPN. Sure, there are enough people who’ll watch all the crap they feed us about Tom Brady’s hair, Brett Favre’s indecisiveness and Rex Ryan’s bluster either because they’re interested in these familiar topics or through force of habit.
However, there clearly exists a huge group of fans who seek out new stories, new figures, new teams. If the 49ers and Ravens do end up meeting in Indy, it may disappoint those like Dukes and everyone at CBS Sports, but the nation at large will do just fine.
Update: @sfbleachergirl provided visual evidence that even ESPN fans would rather see a second Harbowl than Brady/Eli II:
Gives a brand new meaning to the whole “red states, blue states” thing, huh?