JEANNE SAFER I believe I am in an exceptional position to prognosticate about the Superbowl, because until Time magazine approached me last week to discuss the sibling rivalry of the dueling coaches, I had never heard of them or their teams and had no idea that the game was this coming Sunday. I also have never seen a football game in my entire life. From a purely psychological perspective therefore, I vote for elder brother John. He was a less obnoxious kid than his relentlessly competitive younger brother, and has had to swallow a lot of normal envy of Jim’s superior athletic ability and meteoric rise as a coach after that. It’s payback time for him, and I bet he feels that on some level, despite their mutual disavowals of the slightest issue between them.
WESLEY J. SMITH Even though I live in the Bay area, I never root for any San Francisco team. I wish them to lose every game they play. I yearn for their hearts — and those of their fans — to be broken into shards. Why am I so bitter? Blame former San Francisco Giant pitcher Juan Marichal, who, on August 22, 1965, hit Dodger catcher Johnny Roseboro with a baseball bat during a masterful game being pitched by Sandy Koufax. As a boy, growing up in Los Angeles, I was an extreme Dodger fan and all LA/SF games were televised to Los Angeles — a novelty in those days. I saw the incident and the resulting bench-clearing brawl on television, live. Koufax was so upset he lost his concentration and the game. I have never forgiven and never forgotten. I am, like Inspector Javert of Les Miserables, obsessed with seeing justice done! So, until and unless Marichal is arrested for assault and battery, I will root for all San Francisco teams to lose. Thus, Ravens by 9, although I don’t follow football and I have no idea which team is better. If the 49ers have the superior players, may the best team lose!
GEORGE WEIGEL For native Baltimoreans with memories that antedate the Dies Irae, March 29, 1984, when the arch-fiend Robert Irsay stole our NFL team and replanted it in Indianapolis, this is not a simple business, for many of us still tend to think of the Ravens as the Browns, despite the Cleveland transplantees’ 16 years “on the shores of Chesapeake Bay,” as the National Boh’ jingle once had it. Irsay, we are confident, will be watching the game on some Purgatorial ledge (at best). But when your grandson knows nothing but Ravens, the mystic chords of memory linking me to Unitas, Berry, Moore, Mutscheller, and Marchetti retreat before a rising seven-year-old’s enthusiasms, so I’m going with the Ravens, 27–24, with the game won in the last two minutes. Johnny U, looking down on Irsay from his post-mortem perch among the blessed, will like that. So will Master William Joseph Susil.