As a football fan, I’m expecting a terrific game on Sunday. Manning vs. Brees. Katrina vs. America’s Heartland. Two of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. I’m even curious if Kim Kardashian will make an appearance. I’m looking forward to it.
So how come there seems to be so little excitement in the days leading up to the game? Simple answer: There is little to no brand at stake here. Therefore, no one is really emotional about it unless you are from Indianapolis or New Orleans.
Imagine, if you will, if the Super Bowl pitted the Dallas Cowboys against the Pittsburgh Steelers? Or, the New York Giants vs. the Oakland Raiders? (The last team was inserted for the “Are you kidding?” quotient of the day.)
There would be great excitement because those teams have emotionally resonate brands that even the casual fan can appreciate. The Colts and the Saints? Eh, not so much.
We’ve seen this in other sports. The NBA went through a difficult period when the San Antonio Spurs were winning championship titles, even though they played some pretty impressive basketball and Tim Duncan may be the most underappreciated player in NBA history. But nobody across the U.S. much cared.
It was, of course, an entirely different matter when the Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics were winning titles. You couldn’t get enough of it – and it was something you could be passionate about.
In fact, as a rabid college football fan, I’d love to see Boise State in the “national championship game.” (Ironic quote marks intended.) But it’s probably better for college football that it was Alabama vs. Texas. Brand names.
I am in no way suggesting the format should be changed to ensure the brand-name teams are in the championship game. You know, nothing like the million to one shot of the New York Knicks getting the first pick in the draft so they could draft Patrick Ewing or anything. (I’m just saying…)
But, as I read the write-ups leading up to the big game, I sense a general shrug. And I think I know why.