View Full Version : Super Bowl reveals a lot about your psyche

01-26-2009, 07:03 AM
Monson: Super Bowl reveals a lot about your psyche
By Gordon Monson

The Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake Tribune
Updated:01/25/2009 09:43:29 PM MST

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who favor successful established and familiar franchises, teams with proud traditions loaded with championships, and those who root for the underdog, the downtrodden, the traditionally weak teams that have been categorized as woeful and inferior because well, they almost always are.

Which kind are you?

Freud would have a blast with this one.

The answer can be found in which team you'll root for in the Super Bowl.

Every year, Utahns, at least those without a team of their own for which to cheer or an enemy to cheer against, are faced with finding a favorite in the Biggest Of Games, in this case BOG XLIII.

If you champion champions, the Steelers are your pick.

If you like, as Homer Simpson once put it, the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked, the Cardinals are all yours.

Since the 1970s, the Steelers have won five Super Bowls and played in the NFL title game seven times. On account of that, even people who know very little about professional football recognize the distinctive gold-and-black Steelers uniform, the only NFL team with its logo on just one side of the helmet. Pittsburgh's list of names in the Hall of Fame includes: Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Franco Harris, Mel Blount, John Stallworth, Chuck Noll, and Art and Dan Rooney.

Before the Steelers started winning in the '70s, they fit the other category, never having won an NFL championship. Forty years had gone by in their team history before they won even a division title. But, next thing, their firepower grew so strong, exploding into back-to-back Super Bowl championships on two different occasions in the mid-to-late '70s, they were forever linked with a proud heritage that was all about winning football.

Pittsburgh was the first NFL team to win four Super Bowl titles.

Now, it seeks its sixth.

The Arizona Cardinals, on the other hand, have been a sorry, sorry bunch. In their history, they've only won one league championship, in 1947, although they were awarded another in 1925, when they were, for some strange reason, handed the title, despite losing to the Pottsville Maroons. Some say that disputed trophy caused a curse to fall upon the Cardinals, who at that time were playing in Chicago.

In all their elongated ineptitude, the Cardinals, under cheap ownership, moved from Chicago to St. Louis to Phoenix, and nobody gave a rodent's rear-end whether they stayed or went.

Until now.

Now, Arizona fans actually go to Cardinals games and root for the home team, as opposed to the visitors, who, until this year, were usually favored by those in attendance. That's what a record of 115-205 over the past two decades will earn a team, until it suddenly shakes off the curse, wins a weak division with a pedestrian 9-7 regular-season record, and, then, gets hot through the playoffs, earning three straight victories to qualify for you know what.

The Cardinals now find themselves the darling of the underdog crowd.

What does it mean to be part of that bunch?

I asked Ron Chamberlain, a sports psychologist, exactly what that's all about, and this is what he said:

"People like the idea of hope. If the Cardinals can do it, maybe anyone can do it. It opens the door of possibility to do hard things in our own lives. When we see success stories, it excites us. Maybe we're capable of doing that, too. It shows us the power of dreaming big, believing in ourselves, being resilient."

Chamberlain says Kurt Warner is the poster boy for overcoming adversity, going from bagging groceries to the Arena League to becoming a Super Bowl MVP. And now he'll take another team, the belly-scraping Cards, toward lofty new heights.

And those who root for the big dogs?

"For some people, they have a sense of identity through a team," says Chamberlain. "If they're going to put their identity on the line, they might as well pick a winner. They see a quality organization, and they like that. These people might be power-driven. People with a power personality might be drawn to that."

That's why winners have such large fan followings, why more people wear Lakers jerseys than Clippers jerseys. It's victory, no, it's superiority, by affiliation.

You are what you are.

Root for the Steelers, you're into power.

Root for the Cardinals, you're into hoping for a better tomorrow.

Either way, own it, embrace it, put a potted plant on it, wear it like a badge of honor.

GORDON MONSON hosts "The Monson and Graham Show" weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on 1280 AM The Zone. He can be reached at gmonson@sltrib.com.

01-26-2009, 07:36 AM
Steelers!! All the way!!