Saints win Superbowl!

I said on Twitter that I would explain more about my NFL allegiances. It’s an area I’ve been considering ever since I went to NFL UK 2008 when the Chargers lost “at” the Saints. At that stage I didn’t really have a team, in fact I didn’t really follow NFL that much, I went that year because I am interested in the game as I am with baseball and ice hockey following numerous trips to Canada and the USA. Having MLB and NHL teams and having followed the NFL closely in 2009 made me think that I should pick an NFL one too, and so I set out to work on who I would pick. This decision was going to be based three criteria: location, branding and reputation.

Location was less of a challenge as it was really limited to places I had been. My NHL team is the Canucks, as I have family in Vancouver and absolutely love the city (I cannot say that strongly enough, I have considered emigrating there). My MLB team was harder to pick, but after a trip to California around the time when the San Diego Padres were winning their division I have always considered them my team. No matter that they are the furthest from home, and I wasn’t swayed by the fact that the only baseball ground I have been in was the Rockies’ in Denver (ableit not to a game). So taking into account cities I have been to with an NFL team I was down to San Diego, San Fransisco, Seattle, Denver, Washington and New York.

Branding was a factor. A huge factor. Did I like the colour? Well, that put the Browns and the Bengals into the running for the orange in their hats. Did I like the name? Well, following a baseball team with a slightly religious reference in their name, naturally I liked the Saints and their logo looks very mature. I could live with the Chargers, the blue is nice and it is a simple enough logo.

And lastly and probably least, Reputation. I will say now that I am not a glory seeker, but I do like to see a team which has a bit of history. I say this as a West Brom fan, a team who has won the Football League and the FA Cup but now lingering between the bottom of the top division and the top of the second. So I ruled out teams like the Colts, Patriots and Giants and unfortunately this is where the Browns, Rams and Lions amongst others fell out of favour.

I spent most of this season following the Chargers – sidled on them being near the Padres. However, in the back of my mind they didn’t tick all of the boxes, having also lost to the Saints at Wembley. They will still be my AFC team especially having another great season and finishing as AFC runners-up. But ticking more of the boxes are the Saints. Maybe I was caught up in the atmosphere of my first NFL game which was Saints branded and which they won. Maybe it was watching them achieve a win in their first Superbowl appearance. Maybe it is a bit of sympathy over the way they have created a sense of unity to the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I don’t really care which it is, they have had a fantastic season and have impressed me in more ways than just winning the Superbowl. They are now officially my NFL team.

Now all I need to work out is who to support at Wembley in October: the 49ers or the Broncos. There is a bit of a trend establishing: Win at Wembley one year then go on to win the Superbowl (the Saints did it the following season, the Giants the same, and it should be noted that the Cardinals have lost at Wembley and subsequently at the Superbowl). Technically that makes the Patriots my bet to win next year, but for this game I’m undecided as I don’t feel a stronger affinity to either team (although I remember seeing Mile High stadium from an aeroplane). I should probably go with the home team, 49ers.

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