Once again this year, for the 41st straight season, I'll be staging a one-man protest of the Super Bowl.
Sure, I'll watch it. I'll cheer for my pool "numbers" to show up so I can claim the bounty for a quarter, a half or the game. I'll also keep track of which team wins the coin flip, which player scores the first touchdown, the total amount of punts and turnovers, total yardage, etc. Those can all have a bearing on my retirement fund.
But I have no interest in attending the Super Bowl. I wouldn't mind being invited to a couple of the pre-game parties, and another stroll along scenic South Beach certainly would perk my interest. But as for attending the game itself, no thank you.
I vowed a long, long time ago, shortly after I covered my first Browns playoff game (a 20-3 loss to the Baltimore Colts in 1971), that until Cleveland played in the big game, I would not be in attendance.
Thirty-six years, two wives, three kids, one grandchild, 165 diets and a lot of gray hairs later, I'm still waiting. And, quite frankly, there's no end in sight to this drought that has lasted much longer than I or anyone else could have ever imagined.
I was lucky enough to be alive for most of the team's great years of the 1950s and early ‘60s, although the only NFL Championship Game that I vividly recall was the 1964 27-0 demolition of the Baltimore Colts.
The Colts represent the AFC, so does that mean I'll be rooting for them as they make their first Super Bowl trip as a representative of Indianapolis? Or will I favor the team that once was led by a guy I consider the greatest defensive player of his time, Dick Butkus?
The reality is I could care less which team wins. I think I join with most Browns fans in saying if Cleveland isn't involved, it doesn't matter.
But if I had to predict, I'd say it will be the Indianapolis Colts in a blowout. Thus far in the playoffs the Colts have won despite an overall sub-par performance by Peyton Manning. Now that he's no longer lugging King Kong on his back, I look for Manning to pick apart a Bears defense that will be unable to get any pressure on him.
I also feel the suddenly-potent Colts run defense, which has come up big in the playoffs after a pitiful regular season, will force quarterback Rex Grossman to try and keep pace with the potent Colts offense. That's like going into battle with a slingshot against a nuclear bomb.
In reality, I don't think the Bears are even one of the four best teams in the NFL. The Ravens, Chargers and Patriots were all better teams, but they had the misfortune of playing in the same conference as the Colts.
As Indianapolis entered the playoffs, they faced death row. But to their credit they did it whatever it took to come away victorious. Had they not had two weeks to prepare for the Super Bowl, the Colts might have been too emotionally and physically spent to beat even a very average Bears team.
Chicago, on the other hand, had to only beat an over-achieving Saints team in the NFC title game. Until they got upset by Reggie's Bush's sophomoric taunting of classy Brian Urlacher, the Bears were in danger of getting beat.
I imagine Colts coach Tony Dungy has made it pretty clear to his players that they cannot afford to pull, pardon the pun, a bush league tactic like Reggie's.
When all of the Super Bowl activities are over … from the countless hours of pre-game analysis, to the much-hyped halftime show, to the post-game presentations and interviews and, oh yes, the game itself … look for the Colts to walk away with a well-deserved 38-17 victory.
Meanwhile, the Browns will remain one of just a dozen or so teams that has never suffered the humiliation of losing a Super Bowl.
Just think about the poor fans in Minnesota, Denver and Buffalo, all of whom have had to endure four Super Bowl defeats. And you have to sympathize with those poor souls who call the Cowboys and Dolphins their favorite teams. Dallas and Miami have both lost thee Super Bowls.
So, we Clevelanders should count our blessings. We've never, ever been beaten in the Super Bowl. And, for better or worse, that looks like a streak that will stay intact until I have a full head of gray hair, a couple more wives, and a few more grandkids.
In other words, it could be a long, long time until we suffer a Super Bowl loss … or, for that matter, enjoy a Super Bowl victory.