The first step in deciding who you’re going to root for in Super Bowl XDFISDACIXBIFIXIIXIVIV — just kidding, it’s Super Bowl XLVII, because that’s so much easier! — is to decide what you think of this face. This face belongs to Jim Harbaugh, the coach of the San Francisco 49ers and a man who somehow synthesizes petulance and blazing charisma into the persona of Perfect Football Coach.
For example: in the NFC Conference Championship, Jim Harbaugh did this:
His team won that game. And yet, Harbaugh still found reason to go full-apoplectic, kicking the grass and stomping his feet like he’d just been told that this week’s episode of Pokemon was actually a re-run. How you feel about Harbaugh probably reflects how you feel about #sports, and how you feel about #sports probably reflects how you should pledge your allegiances in this weekend’s Super Bowls.
8. WHY YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS:
You should root for the 49ers if you like Sesame Street. The 49ers’ starting quarterback is Colin Kaepernick; Colin Kaepernick’s disembodied head turned upside down looks just like the right-side-up head of Bert, from Sesame Street. What’s the lesson from the Super Bowl, kids? Corporate oligarchies and football sure do mix!
You should root for the 49ers if you can name at least two fashion designers who you would admire for aesthetic reasons. Band of Outsiders jacket hanging in your closet? Currently wearing Mark McNairys? Enjoy the smooth skirt stylings of Jil Sanders? You have to cheer for the 49ers, because Vernon Davis is smoother than the skin on Scott Disick’s hands.
You should root for the 49ers if you’ve ever sent steak back at a restaurant for having an improper fat-to-lean ratio.
You should root for the 49ers if you enjoy exciting, slightly unconventional offensive football that mixes a wind-quick running game with the ability to throw both down the field and laterally. If you’ve ever had dreams in which you quarterbacked 10 heroic Golden retrievers against a defense of snarling hyena-bears, then you should root for the 49ers.
You should root for the 49ers if you like the color red.
You should root for the 49ers if you are a bull.
You should root for the 49ers if you think that their “It Gets Better” video survives as an emblem of LGBT activism despite the fact that two of the players in it have said they didn’t know they were making a pro-gay spot, meaning that they didn’t even bother asking anyone why there were cameras pointed at them while they recited lines.
You should root for the 49ers if you are descended from anyone involved in any North American gold rush, particularly if that gold rush benefited your family in some way. If it negatively affected your family, you should root for the 49ers in acknowledgment of the existential complications that come with being a human, falling prey to the mesmerizing smell and taste and feel of money, the potential to change you and your loved ones into creatures of importance and comfort, and how even though you’ve felt the cut of this disappointment vividly and it remains with you, has actually become a part of your DNA, your blood, you’ll still succumb to promises that won’t be kept and the dizzying spin of lusted-for fame. You know: ironically.
You should root for the 49ers if you think the Discount Double Check commercials with Aaron Rodgers are funny because Aaron Rodgers gets belittled and treated like a child.
You should root for the 49ers if you would rather drink lava-hot tar than move to the middle of the country.
You should root for the 49ers if your therapist told you to.
10. WHY YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR THE BALTIMORE RAVENS:
You should root for the Ravens if you can’t remember the last time you watched football because you got so drunk you stopped forming memories.
You should root for the Ravens if you love The Wi — actually, FUCK The Wire. Baltimore’s about more than just The Wire! It’s about Edgar Allen Poe. It’s about Johns Hopkins University. It’s about, uh — actually, yeah, you should root for the Ravens if you love The Wire.
You should root for the Ravens if you are sexually attracted to Ray Lewis.
You should root for the Ravens if, every time Ray Lewis says something about God, God whispers to you, “Dude, you hear that? Ray’s shouting me out. That’s so rad.”
You should root for the Ravens if you enjoy running backs who can change directions so fast that they must have little baby feet. I have no proof that Ray Rice has little baby feet, but dude might as well be a human unicycle.
You should root for the Ravens if you think linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and the organization’s overt support of LGBT rights outweighs center Matt Birk saying that gays being allowed to get married would “affect the broader well-being of children and the welfare of society,” because Matt Birk actually thinks gays are dragons and can breath real, napalm-y jets of fire from their snouts. (Which would, in fact, be bad for society. If it were true. Which it isn’t. Gay people aren’t dragons.)
You should root for the Ravens if you use the word bro as a form of endearment, or as an illegal prefix on your tax filings.
You should root for the Ravens if you think purple and black go so well together that you’re thankful the gods made the Earth turn from black and white to technicolor back in the 1940s.
You should root for the Ravens if Joe Flacco makes you feel better about yourself, or if he makes you feel worse about yourself, or if he makes you feel anything.
You should root for the Ravens if you have ever “summered” in the “Chesapeake Bay” or “Martha’s Vineyard” or ever “piloted” a “boat.” If you’ve ever tasted salt water. If you’ve ever gotten wet.
You should root for the Ravens if you’re an ornithologist.
12. But remember: cheer hard, and have fun! It isn’t life or death.
Unless you have enormous gambling debts.