I'm not going to lie; the Super Bowl is the most football my brain will ingest throughout the entire season. With that being said, I'll probably focus a majority of my time watching commercials and the fourth quarter. I've already admitted to being an Anaheim Ducks snob, now I'll admit to being a hockey snob.
To me, there is no greater sport, and every Super Bowl Sunday as I sit and force hours of mind-numbing football into my subconscious, I find myself counting the ways that hockey is far and above superior over football (and every other sport for that matter).
Here are the top 10 reasons that I think hockey is better than football, even on Super Bowl Sunday.
There are stretches of hockey that can go on and on. At some point in the back of your mind you begin to think to yourself, "Wow, there haven't been many whistles in this game." Rushes up and down the ice are often highlighted by intense scoring opportunities or close saves by the goaltender.
On the opposite end, football is categorized as one, 10-second play after another and each pass or rush is often flanked by the referee announcing another "penalty on the play". It seems easier to watch ESPN at the end of the night to catch the highlights and important plays in order to avoid all of the constant stoppages in play that make up a majority of football's three-hour programming.
We're talking hard hitting, blazing speed, and the ultimate in agility...all while on ice skates. Sure, most people can run, jump, sprint, and dash along a field, but the rare few who can skate and do it as well as a hockey player are few and far between. The ability to fake out defenders and fly past the opposition is a highlight in any sport, but when it's done on two thin blades, the feat becomes magical.
Simply, the ability to skate and move along a sheet of ice with ease makes hockey an athletically superior sport before considering any other aspect of the game.
Add in the physicality of those hard hits you see in football, and once again, hockey wins.
Hockey has superstars like Sidney Crosby, a young fresh-faced 20-something seen in commercials shooting pucks into his mother’s dryer for target practice.
Football has players self-absorbed enough to legally change their name to "Ochocinco."
And you don’t want to get me started on the salaries and illegal actions of those so-called football role models either.
Likely one of the most physically demanding positions in all of sports, the goaltender's agility, conditioning, and mindset are above and beyond. The last line of defense requires cat-like reflexes and a mental strength of the highest degree when facing the most talented offensive forces. The goalie willingly stands in the way of blazing slap shots from a flying puck 20-30 times a night.
There is no end zone dancing in hockey.
In hockey, goals are celebrated as a unit. Assists are an important aspect of the game, and the goal and those assists are recognized and rewarded. In hockey, five men huddle together to celebrate the puck in the back of the net. They glide along their respective benches to bump fists with the teammates who have been battling along with them all night.
Unlike football, the men on the ice don't pound their fists to their chests to show an achievement; instead they pat their fellow teammate on the back to show appreciation for a great pass.
Because of the fast and constantly moving nature of hockey, the chances that you are going to see a move, or a play, that you've never seen before is quite likely. As plays in hockey unfold, the unexpected movements, passes, and hits are all likely to shock the senses.
Show me a 50-yard pass in football, it's likely I've seen it before. I can't say that football doesn't have its unexpected moments, but I can say that every game of hockey shows me something I've never seen before.
Hockey has an official vehicle. It's large and has knobs, wheels, and flaps that most of us have no understanding of. It uses hot water to repair icy surfaces. For many of us who love nothing more than seeing a fresh sheet of ice ready to begin a new period of play, the desire to simply ride on a Zamboni is definitely something to write home about. Driving one would be the chance of a lifetime.
Football has lawn mowers, and some of the fields don't even require that piece of machinery.
I have a lawn mower in my garage...they're nothing special.
So I'm not the biggest fan of the fighting in hockey (yes, I know, it's unnatural not to like fighting in hockey), however, it's an integral and unique part of the game that no other major league sport can offer. Fighting is often a highlight, and for most fans, it’s a reason they began watching hockey in the first place.
Ultimately, fighting is the means by which teammates show their support and loyalties to one another.
In football, the most talked about companionship is between the quarterback and his model girlfriend.
The Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints will have participated in six playoff games combined, including the Super Bowl, when all is said and done.
In 2009, the Pittsburgh Penguins had to play six games just to get past the first round!
I realize that football has a much shorter season (just another reason why hockey is better than football), but the thrill and excitement of just one playoff game is limited in comparison to the intensity of a playoff round. Where every game is important, and getting to a Game Seven can make or break any team is always heart-wrenching for any fan.
The true testament of a hockey player’s heart and determination is often discovered in the final months of a season when teams strive to win 16 of the hardest fought battles on the ice. After 82 regular season games, every man has to dig deeper to find the strength to give 150 percent more than he has for an entire season in order to come out on top.
I don't get that same feeling in the all of the hoopla of the Super Bowl. It must be the halftime show that confuses me.
Let's face it, hockey has the holy grail of all that is sports memorabilia. If there is an iconic and recognizable artifact in all of sports, it's the Stanley Cup. Its uniqueness and stature makes for a stunning masterpiece at any event. It has a charm and allure all on its own. The engraving of names on the cup is a time-honored tradition dating to the very core of the cup's existence.
Football's bland and uninspired Vince Lombardi trophy is an honor, but not a treasure. Unlike the Stanley Cup, there are a plethora of Lombardi trophies, making its aura tame in comparison.
While there is a monetary value that can be placed on the Tiffany & Co.-made Lombardi trophy, the Stanley Cup is quite simply priceless.