The anatomy of a Super Bowl species



A ninth Cincinnati Bengals player was arrested within nine months, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was caught carrying a suspicious water bottle and legendary head coach Bill Parcells announced that he's retiring from coaching.

But, who the hell cares?

The Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears will face off in Super Bowl XLI, and finally Bloomington is going bowling -- Super Bowling, that is.

Of course, there is only one town on Earth that will serve the front lines for this February feud. If Chicago and Indianapolis were the respective capitals of this gridiron clash, only one region will be the bedrock of bedlam. "What town?" you ask.

Naperville? Noperville. Lafayette? Not yet. Kokomo? Koko No. South Bend? Get bent -- Fighting Irish fans don't even know the NFL exists. So, then where?

Welcome to Bloomington, Ind., a Midwest melting pot that blurs the lines of professional football allegiance. Welcome to the jungle that inhabits primarily two kinds of football fan: DaBearus butkus and Coltus domis. For the next two weeks, Bloomington will serve as No Man's Land to Every Man's fantasy. Where there was once "bleeding Kansas" in middle America, soon we will come to terms with "bleeding Bloomington."

In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act introduced "popular sovereignty," the idea that any state established in America can allow its citizens to democratically decide whether they would be pro- or anti-slavery. Now, in 2007, popular sovereignty has forsaken fans on either side of the Indiana-Illinois border, with Bloomington established as the new Mason-Dixon Line.

Make no mistake about it, my fellow Hoosiers -- for the next two weeks we will be a segregated city. And mark my words: A house divided half-Bear and half-Colt fan cannot stand. OK, that might have been Lincoln's language, but, before you makeshift a musket and ring out a rally cry, you should get to know both species that stand in arms against each other.

DaBearus butkus: The Chicago Bears' fans comprise a remarkable genus. Their native tongues are straightforward, as nearly every sentence begins and ends in two words: "Da Bears." While strong in their convictions, DaBearus butkus are weak in its geography. It famously holds the belief that the city of Chicago is nearly 200 miles around in diameter, just so long as its hometown is considered "Chicago" to anyone who asks. DaBearus butkuses are polytheistic people who believe in two gods: Mike Ditka and Dick Butkus. Though they beam with pride in their newest leader, Rex "Sexy Rexy" Grossman, DaBearus butkus is a brutal, bandwagon bunch that is ready to jump at Rexy's jugular if need be.

Coltus domis: The Indianapolis Colts' fans are the dominant beasts in Bloomington. These normally docile diehards have turned diabolical since tasting the Boston blood of quarterback Tom Brady. As monotheists, the Coltus domis wakes up every morning with a prayer to its savior, Peyton Manning, and also perform a small sacrifice to Robert Irsay,the man who brought professional football to Indiana. No defense? "No problem," says the Coltus domis, who naively relies on dome turf and a diluted defense to defeat its enemies. The Coltus domis has a rare offspring of students who reside in Indianapolis, but preach Butkus. These "bi-fanuals" have never been fully embraced by either species in either state.

Fellow readers, this is a historic time that we are living in. Two weeks from now, the Super Bowl will create mayhem in the Midwest as both species are already starting to sharpen their claws. This game will decide bragging rights for decades to come, and if it all concludes in one controversial call, then may Butkus, Ditka and Manning have mercy on us all.

So, praise football and pass the ammunition, because come Super Bowl Sunday, there will be bedlam in Bloomington.

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