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BEVINS: Bucs? Chiefs? May as well root for somebody

I always look forward to the Super Bowl, even though my favorite squad, the Washington Team Who Must Not Be Named, hasn’t darkened that gridiron in 29 years.

I eventually started writing an annual piece to help people in my boat decide who to root for while watching the game. That was back when we could get together with other people for social activities that didn’t require adding the word “distance” and when even if you didn’t want to watch the game, you could look forward to the commercials. Today, most of the ads get previewed in advance and, frankly, aren’t as good as they used to be.

Clearly, I’m a grumpy old man who’s set in his ways. I’ve been offering this unsolicited advice on who to root for when you just don’t care for quite a while, and so I continue, with a five-part test to determine which team is, if not your favorite, then at least the one you might like a little. It’s not intended to pick the winner, although I do have a 50/50 shot.

Geography

Neither the Kansas City Chiefs nor the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are exactly local, but the Chiefs play their games at Arrowhead Stadium, which is 759 miles from Parkersburg as the Google Maps drone flies. That beats the 922 miles to the Bucs’ Raymond James Stadium.

CHIEFS 1, BUCS 0.

Uniforms

This game pits Kansas City’s simple, striking red-and-white color scheme against Tampa Bay’s unique red-and-pewter ensembles. Give the edge to the Bucs, whose uniforms distinguish them from other teams at any level of football.

BUCS 1, CHIEFS 1

Mascots

I don’t know if Kansas City will eventually have to follow the Washington Football Team’s lead and change from the Chiefs. It doesn’t seem as problematic to me, implying strength, skill and honor, but others may see it differently.

I prefer it to “Buccaneers” because, despite how we romanticize them, pirates are generally not good dudes. Plus, Chiefs is easier to spell. Even if you shorten Tampa Bay’s to “Bucs,” you’ve got to be careful not to confuse them with Milwaukee’s NBA team.

CHIEFS 2, BUCS 1

Storylines

In most sports movies, we root for the underdog. But both these teams are powerhouses, with immense offensive talent and quarterbacks who are either legendary or on their way.

The most obvious storyline is whether young Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes will officially take the torch from the Bucs’ Tom Brady. Both are Super Bowl champions, Brady many times over.

I give a slight edge to Brady, who supposedly wants to prove he can do it without Patriots Coach Bill Belichick. Mahomes will probably have other chances. At 43, Brady probably only has, OK, six or seven more. But less than Mahomes.

BUCS 2, CHIEFS 2

College Connections

Neither team has anyone from West Virginia, Ohio State, Marshall or Ohio University on the active roster. But both have a player from Colorado State Pueblo (Bucs’ center Ryan Jensen and Chiefs’ defensive tackle Mike Pennel), a Division II school whose mascot is the ThunderWolves and possibly my new favorite team – unless they play Marshall (which might happen sooner than another Marshall-WVU matchup).

On the practice squads, we’ve got ex-Marshall linebacker Omari Cobb for the Chiefs and former Ohio safety Javon Hagan for the Bucs.

For me, the deciding factor is on the sidelines, where star Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich is Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator. I covered Leftwich and the Herd for a season, putting me a few degrees closer to him than Kevin Bacon.

BUCS 3, CHIEFS 2

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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