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(Courtesy Menachem Butler)

If you’re going to root tribally for a team in this year’s Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, there’s really no choice in the matter.

The Baltimore Ravens play in a heavily Jewish town and were owned for many years by the irrepressible Art Modell. This Super Bowl in particular has special meaning for the team and the city:

“Adding to its significance, the showdown comes just six months after the death of former owner Art Modell, the Jewish Brooklyn native who moved the team to Baltimore from Cleveland in 1996. Ravens players dedicated this season to Modell, wearing a patch with “Art” on their jerseys.

And even more poignancy: The Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce whether Modell will be inducted the day before the big game.

“Honestly, I’m kvelling over this game,” David Modell, one of the late owner’s two sons and a former president and CEO of the Ravens, told JTA. “I’m not praying for results, I’m praying for the strength and courage of this team, and the rest will take care of itself. But a Super Bowl victory and a place in the Hall of Fame would be an incredible way to honor my father’s memory.”

The 49ers, on the other hand, are owned by a guy named Jed who went to Notre Dame. The 49ers are also decidedly one of the leagues’s most un-American team names. For you history buffs out there, when the gold rush took place in 1849–an event which inspired the team name–California belonged to Mexico. Just saying.





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