There’s no day that will ever make
me feel like more of a loser than Super Bowl Sunday.

Mira Levitan

My name is James Brady McCollough, and I’ve been a Buffalo
Bills fan since 1990.

That’s right, just in time for “wide right”
— Scott Norwood’s missed 47-yard field goal in Super
Bowl XXV that handed the Bills the first of four Super Bowl losses
in a row.

Four in a row — that’s years 7 through 11. Crucial
in every child’s development. Somehow, I think it may have
set my puberty back a few years.

Even though I haven’t been a real loser on Super Bowl
Sunday since 1994, it always feels that way. The greatest win the
Bills ever had in a Super Bowl was when Don Beebe ripped the ball
away from Leon Lett’s fat ass in No. XXVII – the
Bills’ first whipping at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys.

I lived three hours from Dallas. I spent my entire adolescence
listening to natives of Shreveport, Louisiana hop on the Cowboy
bandwagon and yell “HOW ’BOUT ’DEM
COWBOYS!” in my ear.

So, here I am, 10 years later, pulling for the Patriots (AFC
pride, baby). As they drive the ball down the field with a minute
left in regulation, tied 29-29 with the Panthers, I hear my friend
Ken predict, “The J. Brady luck is going to kick
in.”

Thanks, Ken.

But on an evening that’s known for making the firm
distinction between the winners and the losers, it was
“everybody” who won last night in my living room.

The big winners

It’s 4 p.m. when two of my roommates, Adam and Eric,
realize they have no team allegiances to the Pats or Panthers and
need something to spice up their evening.

Like Rogers and Hammerstein, when Adam and Eric combine on
something, it’s normally worth watching. This time, they
decided they would place $100 each on the Panthers to beat the
7-point spread favoring New England in an effort to make $200
toward a $400 “special gift” our house has been
coveting.

I’ve got to hand it to the Pats and Panthers; they made
sure watching Adam and Eric between plays was better than listening
to Phil Simms talk about what makes a good quarterback.

I love watching the people who bet on games just to make them
interesting to watch; I’ve never had that problem. By the
time the second half rolls around, Eric — a music major who
does try to relate to my obsession with sports — is referring
to Carolina as “we.” Later, he critiqued Jake
Delhomme’s “throwing technique” on an overthrown
ball.

By the middle of the scoreless second quarter, Adam and Eric
(I’ll go with A&E from now on) were chanting, “3-0
would be outstanding.”

They were also basing their hopes on the “defense wins
championships” theory, which ultimately proved to be total
bull. The Pats and Panthers, under the direction of defensive
masterminds Bill Belichick and John Fox, both gave up more than 300
yards passing.

“I’m going to need to be pretty drunk by the end of
the game, so if I lose, I can handle it,” Adam said.

Unfortunately, we ran out of suds sometime in between P. Diddy
and J.T.

At 29-22 New England, it looked as if A&E were going to be
neither winners nor losers. Luckily, that never happens on Super
Bowl Sunday: Somebody always wins, and the other person inevitably
loses.

“You’re a loser, a big fat one,” Adam said to
me, even though my team was ahead and his bet was about to
“push.”

Within a few minutes, when Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri combined
once again to make New Englanders forget about the Red Sox for just
a few seconds, A&E could rejoice. The Patriots won, 32-29, and
A&E suddenly didn’t care who won anymore. They were
rich.

“It didn’t matter that I didn’t have the money
to bet right away,” Adam said.

When you don’t have the money to begin with, it’s an
even bigger win.

Everyone can win

One afternoon in second grade, I ran home crying to my mom
because the girls down the street kept calling me “Brady
Bunch” and singing “Here’s a story of a man named
Brady …”

What now, ladies?

I love Tom Brady. I love him because he’s a Michigan man.
I love him because every time he throws a touchdown pass or even
completes a pass with a tight spiral, my stock increases nine
percent. Trust me, I’ve charted it.

As Brady collected his second Super Bowl MVP trophy, if you
looked closely enough, you could see my stock soaring through the
Reliant Stadium retractable roof.

Admit it. Since Tom Brady has become an American icon and
Miranda named her baby “Brady” on HBO’s Sex and
the City, guys named Brady have increased their chances of success
with girls tenfold. The Jakes and Toms on campus should expect the
same effect.

So, kudos to A&E for their $208 victory last night, and
kudos to me: The team from the AFC won, my stock is in excellent
shape and I can still enjoy the benefits of A&E’s win for
another two-and-a-half months.

Yet, even after a night of big winning, I’ll still be a
Bills fan when I wake up this morning.

At least my name isn’t Bill.

J. Brady McCollough is working to have guns like last
night’s head referee, Ed Hochuli. He can be reached at
href=”mailto:bradymcc@umich.edu”>bradymcc@umich.edu.

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