Gay Guide to Super Bowl LII: Eagles vs. Patriots
Here is this year’s Gay Guide to the Super Bowl. It is designed for new fans and regular fans and anyone who wants to know all the key elements in the game, with a bit of an LGBT+ twist.
WHAT: Super Bowl LII will be played Sunday Feb. 4 between the New England Patriots (15-3) of the American Football Conference and the Philadelphia Eagles (15-3) of the National Football Conference. The Patriots are favored to win the game by the Vegas odds-makers by 5.5 points; this means that Patriots bettors need their team to win by six or more points, while Eagles bettors need them to either win the game or lose it by fewer than than six points.
The Patriots have played in seven Super Bowls since the 2001 season and are 5-2. The Eagles have only appeared in the Super Bowl twice, losing in the games played in the 1980 (vs. Oakland) and 2004 (vs. New England) seasons.
WHERE: The game will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Fortunately, the game will be played indoors, considering the game time temperature outside in Minneapolis is expected to be 5 degrees with a windchill below zero.
KICKOFF/TV: The game will kickoff at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time after a zillion-hour, over-padded, mostly inane pregame show. True football connoisseurs will tune into Hallmark’s “Kitten Bowl” instead.
FASHION NOTE: The Patriots are the designated home team and have decided to wear their away white jerseys. This is clearly a psychological ploy since teams wearing white have won 12 of the last 13 Super Bowls (the 2010 Green Bay Packers be the exception) and the Patriots are 3-0 in that color.
The Eagles will wear their green uniforms, which shouldn't be a problem since this will be the third consecutive game in the playoffs where they wore green and were an underdog.
QUARTERBACKS: Tom Brady is the Patriots quarterback and has won five Super Bowls. He is married to supermodel Gisele Bündchen.
Brady is also good friends with Donald Trump, but he has kept his distance since Trump’s election and that apparently bothers the president, the New York Times reported.
Mr. Trump still takes shots at Mark Cuban, a fellow rich-guy reality star, and expresses disappointment that Tom Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback, has distanced himself.
Brady’s counterpart, Nick Foles, did not even start a game this season for the Eagles until there were only three weeks left in the regular season. Foles was the backup quarterback to Carson Wentz, who was lost for the season with a knee injury suffered Dec. 10.
The Eagles were not given much chance to reach the Super Bowl with Foles, becoming the first NFL No. 1 seed (team with the best record in each conference) to be underdogs at home in consecutive playoff games.
The only historical NFL analogy to Foles’ unlikely Super Bowl appearance is Jeff Hostetler, who took over as New York Giants quarterback late in the 1990 season for the injured Phil Simms. In an omen that should gladden the hearts of Eagles fan, Hostetler and the Giants upset the favored Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl.
THE COACHES: Bill Belichick, the Patriots coach, will come up with some wrinkle to keep the Eagles off guard. He’s also the NFL’s worst-dressed coach, usually sporting a hoodie or gray sweatshirt that looks like he picked up from a dumpster; I think it’s done for effect. We’ll see if he classes it up for an indoor Super Bowl. He did wear a suit for Super Bowl media night, so there is hope.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson is in only his second year and, while a terrific coach, is pretty anonymous, looking more like a high school science teacher than an NFL coach.
LGBT+ SUPPORT: Boston and Philadelphia are two extremely LGBT-friendly cities, so it’s hard from that standpoint to single out one over the other.
In many ways, the Patriots have been the most LGBT-supportive team in the league. Team owner Kraft and his late wife Myra were early supporters of same-sex marriage. In 2015 the Patriots were the only NFL team to sign an amicus brief supporting marriage equality to the Supreme Court.
In 2017, the Patriots gave $25,000 to support Gay Bowl XVII in Boston. Kraft attended the closing party to thank the attendees and give a short speech.
In 2012, Gronkowski told Outsports he would “cool” with a gay teammate.
In addition, the Patriots once had a player who later came out as gay, offensive lineman Ryan O’Callaghan, who was on the Super Bowl team of 2007. Seven current Patriots offensive linemen were very supportive about having a gay teammate. “For anyone to have to hide what you are is wrong in my opinion and I’d like to think I play in a league where we’re openly accepting of anybody,” James Ferentz said.
The Eagles haven’t voiced nearly as much public support for LGBT+ issues, though QB Foles said he doesn’t care if a teammate is gay. “I’m going to treat them the same way ... [football players are] normal people, and we just want to treat people decently,” he said.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft was somewhat postitive about having an openly gay Patriot, Kraft said: “The only thing I care about is can they help us win, sweetheart.”
Gay men are like most Americans in rooting for the Eagles to win. A survey of users by the gay social app Hornet found 37% of gay men want the Eagles to win vs. 19% for the Patriots, with 44% not caring. This tracks a general survey of fans and shows that people have a clear rooting interest and it’s rooting for someone to lose rather than the other team to win.
POLITICS: It’s hard to avoid politics these days, so here’s your scorecard.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft is good friends with President Trump and gave the president a Super Bowl ring last year with his named engraved on it. He also gave $1 million to Trump’s inauguration. Coach Bill Belichick wrote a letter endorsing Trump during the 2016 election. Quarterback Brady had a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker room.
On the other hand, as the Nation’s Dave Zirin, points out, “an unprecedented number of Patriot players skipped the White House visit for explicitly political reasons.”
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie donated to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith called Trump “the most divisive person” in the country, while defensive back Malcolm Jenkins called Trump a “social media troll.” Injured Eagles quarterback Wentz took to Twitter to support the people of Haiti (where he traveled last year) after Trump’s reported “shithole countries” comment in January.
ENTERTAINMENT: Justin Timberlake will perform the halftime show. The last time he performed at a Super Bowl was in 2004 when the infamous Janet Jackson “Nipplegate” episode ensued.
Leslie Odom Jr. of Hamilton fame will sing “America the Beautiful” while Pink will sing the national anthem. Pink is an Eagles fan. Pink is ecstatic over the idea of singing at this Super Bowl.
THE COMMERCIALS: Each 30-second spot will cost about $5 million.
The Gayly. Febraury 4, 2018. 10:04 a.m. CST.