Surprisingly, it was not an easy decision to reach. This, from a Hound who has ALWAYS been a fan of the OLD American Football League, since their beginnings in 1960 and the one and only season of the Los Angeles Chargers, continuing through the league’s integration into the vile NFL, as the American Football Conference. In the mid-1960s, AFL Commissioner Al Davis had devised a plan to bring the NFL to its knees, and the plan worked, but the majority of the AFL owners, in particular the oil barons such as Lamar Hunt and Bud Adams and the media giants such as Eugene Klein and Sonny Werblin, did not want to rule football, but rather only wanted entry into the club that had shunned them, and they called a cease fire and instead joined the enemy as a NEW NFL conference.
So, generally, I’ve always rooted for the AFC team in the Super Bowl. But, in recent years, with the old AFL’s existence more and more remote, and expansion teams, team movement, and various realignments causing more and more blurring of the ancient lines, it’s become more of a team-by-team decision, often determined by individual players, coaches, and owners.
ten-fold for the support, the spirt, and the profit. More often than not, those in the first category inherited most of their wealth, while the majority in the second came from humble beginnings, who studied hard and worked hard to achieve their success.
The first category includes the likes of George Steinbrenner, Philip Anschutz, Steve Irsay, and former 49ers owner Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., whose team was passed on to his sister, Marie Denise DeBartolo York, who installed her son, Jed York, to run the team, after Eddie, Jr. was convicted of bribing Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards. The second group includes people such as Walter O’Malley, Henry Samueli, Mark Cuban, former Ravens’ owner Art Modell, who had to drop out of high school to be the sole support of his family at age 15, and who went on to make a fortune in advertising, public relations, and television production, and current Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti, who started a business in a basement office and built it into the fourth largest business of it’s kind in the world.
I will always think of the “Baltimore Ravens” as Art Modell’s Cleveland Browns. Clevelanders vilify Model, but Baltimore fans are indebted to him for returning the sport that Robert Irsay ripped from their hearts. I have many friends who live in the Baltimore area and who are huge Ravens fans. I’ve been to Baltimore twice, both brief visits, the last more than a dozen years ago. I’ve seen little of the area except the airport and the harbor. Conversely, I love San Francisco, and have enjoyed many, many trips there, and know the area, the sites, the great restaurants, well. As a kid and a hugh Dodgers’ fan, I hated the Giants and their city. Later on, I learned to love The City.
No trojan brain surgeon has poisoned the roster of either team, and the Ravens feature the only Bruin, Brendon Ayanbadejo, on either team. That also is a big plus for Baltimore.
On the field, I can’t now decide who is the better team, but all in all, I’ll be rooting for the Ravens.