The Chicago Bears and the New York Jets—the two teams that probably had the strongest cases for the Jews’ allegiance—both lost yesterday, setting up Super Bowl XLV, in two weeks in Cowboys Stadium, between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The lead of the AP story on the Bears’ 21-14 home loss alludes to the greatest Jewish football player of all time—“Sid Luckman was without a doubt the best quarterback the Bears ever had,” it reads—and reminds us of the suffering of many Chicago-area Jews yesterday (sorry, Jason). And nor can we forget the Tristate Area fans of the Jew York Jets—Ron Kaplan has a nice condolence note—who after yesterday’s defeat have seen their “same old Jets” go 0-4 in post-merger conference championships (their lone Super Bowl victory having come after winning the American Football League).
No year perhaps hurt more for Jets fans than this one. Last year felt like playing on house money: The Jets probably should not have made the playoffs, and offing the 13-3 San Diego Chargers meant the subsequent loss could only have hurt so much. But in the offseason, they bought a bunch of valuable free agents—who, in their defense, ended up paying off; made brash predictions before the season even began; dramatically defeated the overall favorite New England Patriots last week; and played one stellar half of football yesterday, on the road. The Jets’ 19 points were the final 19 points scored in the game; unfortunately, the Steelers’ 24 were the first 24. That’s how it is.
So what now? Steelers or Packers? I actually think it’s something of an easy call. As I noted last time, the Packers technically have some Jewish ownership—they are owned by the town of Green Bay, Wisconsin, which has at least one synagogue. Compare this to the Steelers, who have been owned since their 1933 founding by the Rooney family—a clan so Irish Catholic (not that there’s anything wrong with that) that the paterfamilias is literally the U.S. ambassador to Ireland. You can additionally point to Ron Wolf, who is Jewish, an acolyte of (Jewish) Raiders majordomo Al Davis who, as the Packer general manager until 2001, drafted key contributors like
2009 Defensive Player of the Year Charles Woodson wide receiver Donald Driver . (There is also, ahem, the matter of the Steelers quarterback.) Finally, FOTM Rabbi Andy Bachman would kill us if we said anything other than: Go Packers!
Earlier: Who Is Our New NFL Team?
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.