Let's welcome the nation to Minneapolis, where we will spend the next week exploring answers to the question: What if the NFL presented the Super Bowl From Hell, and it froze over?
Take entitled Patriots fans, violent Eagles fans, add black ice, and you get a smoothie that tastes nastier than kale.
This could not have worked out any worse for Minnesota. We will host one team that the nation loves to hate and one fan base that deserves to be hated as the Vikings become the first NFL team ever to welcome to its stadium for the Super Bowl the team that beat it to advance to it. It's like the Packers played a practical joke on the entire state.
What did Minnesotans do to deserve this? Other than support a team that gave up 38 unanswered points to a backup quarterback in the NFC Championship Game?
If you are one of the lucky locals with a ticket to the big game, you may feel obligated to root for one of these teams. This will be like choosing between Vader and Voldemort.
On one sideline will be a team trying to prove again that it is the greatest intermittent dynasty in NFL history amid reports that the star quarterback went over the head of the Greatest Coach Ever to get the talented backup quarterback traded so the star can play until he wears out the tennis balls on his walker.
The New England Patriots have been accused of all manner of football espionage. Patriots fans respond by accusing the NFL office of conspiracy to ruin its own brand. This doesn't make sense. Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't benefit from destroying the reputation of the best team in the league, and he's not capable of playing the three-dimensional chess required to do so.
Patriots fans believe winning justifies the means. What's remarkable about their team is that Belichick and Brady would have won as many championships had they not filmed Jets defensive signals during a game, or allegedly deflated footballs to beat the Colts (whom they could have beaten with medicine balls).
Belichick is probably the greatest football coach ever and Brady is probably the greatest, or most accomplished, quarterback ever. They're like billionaires who cheat on their taxes.
The Eagles are a well-run, well-coached team filled with spare and reclaimed parts. If only their fans hadn't behaved like felons last weekend, they'd become Minnesota's home team for the next week.
But what we learned last weekend is that the Eagles have the worst fans in sports. Grandma-cursing, throwing-full-beers-at-heads, groping, punching, gesturing, mob-mentality, greased-pole-climbing losers.
There are those relying on clichés to defend the behavior of Eagles fans at the NFC Championship game. One bad apple? This fan base is a rotting orchard. Eagles fans staged a campaign to intimidate or harm anyone wearing purple last Sunday, and the Eagles and the NFL should be held responsible.
Vikings fans should forevermore be thankful that their primary rival is Green Bay. Packers fans are to Eagles fans as cheddar is to arsenic.
What do average Minnesotans get out of this week, other than traffic jams? The privilege of throwing an expensive party to which only a few of us are invited.
The Wilfs are being rewarded for securing public funding for a stadium that made them extra-billionaire-y. According to Star Tribune reporting, the NFL confidentially requested free police escorts for team owners, 35,000 free parking spaces, free presidential suites in the best hotels, free billboards, all revenues from game ticket sales and NFL-preferred ATMs at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Blackmail Bowl is printing money, and charging you to touch it.
But, hey, the list of NFL requests was only 153 pages long, you can watch the game on TV, and you may fulfill your lifelong dream of catching a glimpse of Guy Fieri at the airport.
Enjoy the traffic and the ice-fishing jokes, and remember that NFL owners are always there for you when they need you.