Monday, January 21, 2013

No Lions, No Problem! My Advice on How to Choose What Team to Cheer For.

Future Baltimore Ravens Head Coach, John Harbaugh

The field has now been set for the biggest game of the year.  February 3rd will pit the San Francisco 49’ers against the Baltimore Ravens in a game to decide the Super Bowl Championship.  It should be an exciting match-up with plenty of story lines (Harbaugh vs Harbaugh, the last ride of Ray Lewis, 49’ers return to the Super Bowl for first time in 19 years, etc.).  Both teams are playing very well right now as evident by their come from behind wins in each of their respective conferences. 
Jim Harbaugh...Michigan Wolverine
The only question now is who do you cheer for?  If we lived in Baltimore or San Francisco it would be an easy answer.  We live in Michigan though.  A lot of times our sports teams have long been eliminated by the time a championship is being decided.  This is the Super Bowl though; we want to be able to cheer for a particular team.  Every good story needs a protagonist and an antagonist, and sporting events are no different. 

The process by which we determine what team will receive our loyalty for the day is different for many people.  Some decide what team they want to root for by the colors of the uniforms.  Others will choose allegiances based upon if they've visited the city before or not. 
In situations like these, I do some research and find out which teams have the most connections to our state.  This can make that team feel more like your home team. 
With that being said, let’s take a look at the teams and what connections they have to Michigan.
Joe Staley as a Rockford Ram
Baltimore Ravens
·         Head Coach John Harbaugh
o   Harbaugh started his coaching career at Western Michigan University (1984 – 1987) working for his father (Jack Harbaugh).  He earned his master’s degree from WMU while he was coaching. 
·         Running Backs coach Wilbert Montgomery
o   Wilbert played for the Detroit Lions during the 1985 season.  He also coached the Lions running backs during the 2006 – 2007 seasons.
·         Assistant Equipment Manager Kenico Hines
o   Kenico was the Equipment Manager for Western Michigan University from 2004 – 2011.
San Francisco 49’ers
·         Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
o   Harbaugh played at the University of Michigan from 1983 – 1986 and signed with the Detroit Lions before the 2001 season (he was cut before the regular season began)
·         Offensive Tackle Joe Staley
o   Attended Rockford High School (2000 – 2003) and Central Michigan University (2004 – 2007)
·         Wide Receiver Mario Manningham
o   Attended University of Michigan (2005 – 2007)

While some connections are strong (Staley, Hines), others are shaky (Manningham, Montgomery).  With that being said, I have to say that I will be pulling for the Ravens on Super Bowl Sunday.  Baltimore’s John Harbaugh is a WMU alumnus and the assistant equipment manager is also from WMU.  Then add former Detroit Lion player and coach Wilbert Montgomery into the mix and it produces a stronger Michigan connection than what San Francisco has in my opinion.

That is my process for picking a team to root for.  Knowing more about the teams adds to the pleasure of watching the games for me.  It’s certainly better than picking a team just because I like the colors of their jersey…purple and black does go together well though.  

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