ATLANTA -- I love it that the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans are in the Super Bowl.
I love it that there are new faces, new story lines, fresh subplots. I love it that people will be weaned from the Cowboys and 49ers and might just learn why the wondrous Jevon Kearse is called ''The Freak'' or how Dick Vermeil at the age of 63 transformed himself from Woody Hayes to Alan Alda.
You know those people screaming that viewership will be down for this Super Bowl? They're the same ones who told you to buy a month's worth of batteries and milk because Y2K was going to disrupt the world.
The Super Bowl, boys and girls, is recession proof. It's beyond who plays whom. A survey by Hallmark Cards a few years ago concluded that the Super Bowl is the top at-home party event of the year, surpassing New Year's Eve.
It's the second-largest day of food consumption in America, trailing only Thanksgiving. It wouldn't matter if Slippery Rock played Carson-Newman; if you trot two teams out there on the final Sunday in January and bring Cher in to sing the national anthem, 150 million people are going to watch.
What we don't know not only doesn't hurt us, it's a breath of fresh air. You want me to believe we'd be better served by another week of stories about The Genius Egomaniac Tuna Bill Parcells, or The Genius Tyrant Jimmy Johnson, or The Genius Obsessive-Compulsive Mike Shanahan? Can you imagine seven days of Parcells stumping for his flunky Bill (Hey, Can I Reconsider) Belichick? Do we need another week of the Buffalo Bills? As much as I love John Elway, I'm not sure I could take an entire week of Is-Elway-Coming-Back-Next-Year? stories. How much soup can Terrell Davis sell?
There's nothing wrong with St. Louis vs. Tennessee. In fact, there's plenty right with it. And to me, you'd have to start with Vermeil. Only 12 months ago, Vermeil and Mike Ditka were the Sunshine Boys, two past-their-prime used-to-be's who simply hadn't evolved with the game they once mastered. Now, Ditka's by himself. How instructive that Vermeil could shed his old skin and remake himself, and come here with a team that bears no resemblance to any team he's every coached.
How about Kurt Warner? To see the former Arena Leaguer start at quarterback for a Super Bowl team has to be affirming for every kid who ever didn't make it, for everybody who was pushed back to the JV. None other than Warren Moon, exiled to the Canadian Football League for the first six years of his career, said Wednesday of Warner, ''I can really relate to what's happened to him, even though it took him one year (to reach the NFL) and it took me six. He took whatever path he could to create an opportunity for himself and it's a wonderful story.''
How about Steve McNair, who had the luxury of joining a team with a young coach (Jeff Fisher) who could care less about what color a quarterback is, or what football's sometimes dubious tradition says he should be.
And how about Kearse, the 6-foot-4, 265-pound rookie who has a lineman's body and a running back's speed. As Vermeil said when asked to compare Kearse to the incomparable Lawrence Taylor, ''You better play a few years before you get put in that category.''
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.