Christopher Fox GrahamIn restaurants and bars across the city on Sunday, Feb. 3, Sedona residents joined the more than 97.5 million Americans to watch Super Bowl XLII.
While both teams garnered local support, in many Sedona venues, the crowds leaned toward supporting the New York Giants in its inevitable defeat at the hands of the as-yet undefeated New England Patriots.
Perhaps our support is a translation of the American way blended with Southwestern flavor.
We are a nation, after all, that earned independence by defeating the largest empire the world had ever seen with a army of Kentucky farmboys and Boston tea-tossers — then defied the greatest navy on Earth for good measure 30 years later.
There is a strong tradition of supporting people who have little chance of victory, yet we still secretly root for Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, the Washington Generals and the Rebel Alliance to overcome overwhelming odds.
Perhaps there’s some vicarious joy in watching Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, the provebial flawless homecoming king replete with cleft chin and five o’clock shadow, get showed up by Eli Manning, a Louisiana hick who often has the stunned expression like he’s just been hit in the face with a shovel.
Even in Hollywood, the doofus gets the girl.
However, Sedona’s support of the underdog was not unexpected, but an incarnation of our city’s character.
Sedona is a city of small-business owners and working artists who often defied convention to eke out a living and inevitable success among like-minded people struggling against larger forces, be it big box stores, economic instability, environmental doom or the vices of selling out to capitalist corporate music.
For Sedona residents, the Giants was our team.
Granted, New York was also destined to lose brutally.
The Patriots were 13.5-point favorites with an unblemished 18-0 record.
The team planned to walk home with the Lombardi Trophy and a perfect 19-0 record after a short Sunday afternoon of playing a quaint little scrimmage against a wildcard team with a 10-6 record.
Sports commentators nationwide debated whether the Patriots would abuse the Giants like Joe Pesci in “Goodfellas” with the largest blowout in history or merely rough up the team by a mere two touchdowns.
Yet, the unthinkable happened. The Giants not only put up a fight, they won.
Casino owners in Las Vegas made money like mad.
The “greatest team in football history” was run out of Phoenix by a scrappy team whose quarterback often throws footballs wildly, often into the arms of the opposition, and can be counted on to blow any advantage his defense can earn.
Manning looks like someone who fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down, then climbed back up because he thought he missed one.
Before Sunday, Manning was not anyone’s pick for most valuable player, certainly not by fans in New York [actually New Jersey, to be geographically accurate], who booed him during games earlier this year.
Yet, Manning led his team over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers with plays that caused diehard fans to go white-knuckled at the sheer inane recklessness of his behavior on the field.
But perhaps we cheered for the New York Giants because the New Agey metaphysical gooeyness that is Sedona has rubbed off onto even football fans and we saw the future before it happened — and the cause of the Patriots inescapable fall from glory.
“Spygate” — the illegal videotaping of opposing teams’ sidelines during games by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick — was conspicuously absent from any reference during the telecast. Many felt the NFL’s punishment for the sin was far too light.
However, the universe smacked revenge by pressing the “smite” key giving the Giants a 17-14 upset of the Patriots
Sedona residents have a word for cosmic justice: Karma.
Deciphering Sedona is published every Wednesday in the Sedona Red Rock News. To comment, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.