America had a tough year.
So did America's Team.
But just as anti-Americans are suckers for premature conclusions about a looming downfall of the U.S., anti-America's Teamers tend to jump offside in their rush to write off the Dallas Cowboys.
And as the Pittsburgh Steelers tie the Cowboys' record for Super Bowl appearances today at eight, even non-football fans who are loyal Americans should root for America's Team -- the Cowboys -- by rooting for the Green Bay Packers, because:
--The Steelers -- make that the Stealers -- already have three Super Bowl titles they didn't earn, officially giving them a record six. Pittsburgh's ill-gotten triumphs in X and XIII over the Cowboys and in XL over the Seattle Seahawks were all due to blatantly faulty officiating.
--A Green Bay victory in Super Bowl XLV today at Cowboys Stadium would keep the Cowboys, with five official Super Bowl titles and deserving of many more (more on that below), in striking distance of that record. The now-hapless San Francisco 49ers also have officially won five, though it would be a mere four if not for officiating outrages in the 1981 NFC final against Dallas.
--Though the Cowboys were cheated by the officials in the 1966 and 1967 NFL championship games that sent the Packers to the first and second Super Bowls, Green Bay did have a great coach at the time -- Vince Lombardi. And he used to be on the same New York Giants staff with the great Tom Landry, head coach of the Cowboys for their first 29 seasons.
--The Dallas helmet features an inspiring star symbolizing not just the Cowboy and Texas but the American spirit. The Packers helmet features a large, solid "G" symbolizing local pride. But the Steelers helmet features a bewildering logo that symbolizes cryptic confusion. Borrowed from the American Iron and Steel Institute, it contains the word "Steelers" in relatively small script alongside three diamond shapes -- one yellow, one red, one blue. And unlike every other NFL team's headgear accent, it appears on only one side of the helmet.
--Packers quarterback Aaron Rod-gers seems like a good guy. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, twice accused of sexual assault (though never criminally charged), seems like a very bad guy.
--Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has been a good guy in the Country Club of Charleston's Azalea Invitational golf tournament the last three years. He even befriended a local fan with Down syndrome.
--America's Team would be 11-0 -- or better -- in Super Bowls if not for the aforementioned rampant officiating blunders, including those that put the Packers in the first two Super Bowls, that gave the Baltimore Colts Super Bowl V, that gave the Steelers Super Bowls X and XIII and that put the 49ers in Super Bowl XVI. Watching such incessant injustice on TV -- ample evidence of an anti-America's Team conspiracy -- has been galling. Seeing it in person, as this loyal America's Teamer did at Super Bowl X in Miami's Orange Bowl, where the late-hitting Steelers went the entire game without a penalty, was appalling.
--Cowboys paragon Roger Staubach, aka "Captain America," will present the Lombardi Trophy to the winner tonight.
But while the reasons above should suffice to turn even non-football and non-Cowboys fans against the Steelers tonight, here are two more reasons to pull for the Packers:
--Long-haired Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews finished a close and unjust second to vastly overrated and longhaired Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu for the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award.
--Matthews is a cousin of my fellow Post and Courier editorial writer -- and fellow 1965 St. Andrews Elementary School graduate -- Elsa McDowell.
As Egyptians revolt, Americans will relax and savor the Super Sunday spectacle from $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium, aka "The Palace in Dallas." And the real Americans who wish America's Team was in America's biggest game will still have a real rooting interest.
So go, Packers.
And come back soon, Cowboys.