Jeff Pearlman

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A Great Super Bowl for a Hen

I love Super Bowl matchups like Baltimore-San Francisco, because none of us know who’s about to win.

I mean, back in the 80s, when I’d watch the games from my living room with a bunch of pals from junior high and high school, it was always sorta obvious. Nobody was beating Joe Montana, nobody was beating the ’85 Bears, nobody was beating the Giants. We’d hope for close games, pretend we truly believed Denver could pull it out but, in our hearts, we knew. We just knew.

So we’d gather around the TV, eat our subs and chips and feign interest as some NFC powerhouse jumped out to a 28-3 halftime lead.

That was a long time ago.

I love this upcoming Super Bowl for myriad reasons. Ray Lewis’ final game. The Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh coaching matchup. San Francisco’s return to the big stage. The emergence of Colin Kaepernick. My hometown hero, Ray Rice.

Mostly, I love seeing Joe Flacco, a Delaware Blue Hen, start at QB.

To hell with Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Miami, etc … etc. Delaware, my alma mater, is about to have its second quarterback start a Super Bowl. The first came 10 years ago, when Rich Gannon and the Oakland Raiders got smoked by Tampa Bay. Now, Flacco.

This might be hard to understand for someone who attended an enormous university with a stellar program, but there’s something … special about attending a non-football powerhouse, then watching its players excel. You know the fields they trained on, the system they ran, the halls they walked, the dorms they lived in, the pressures they experienced. You know that, were Flacco to hear about the Stone Balloon or Klondike Kate’s, he’d know whereof you spoke. That’s cool and funky and neat and special.

Even if the quarterback during my days at Delaware was …

Bill Vergantino.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life