Believe it not, some people just don't like football. They don't tailgate or paint their faces or pore over statistics or even know who New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is. (Joe Flacco of the Ravens, maybe.)
Cindy Leahy is one of those people. She recalls a monologue by the late comedian George Carlin, in which he compared baseball to football.
"Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life," Carlin cracked. "Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying."
"Give me a baseball game any time," said Leahy, president of the Keswick Improvement Association and an aide to City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke.
Leahy, 60, grew up with three older brothers in a football-loving family, where Sunday dinner was served at halftime. She was 14 when she watched the first Super Bowl in 1967, in which the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10. She didn't remember the teams or the score, only the feeling that she had as she watched the game.
"I remember thinking, 'This is not a good thing.'"
A few years back, she actually went to a Ravens home game with her husband, John.
"It was horrible," she said. "It was the noise and the barbaric nature of it. It was memorable for me."
Leahy is not alone.
"I don't know who's in what league," said architect Walter Schamu, of Federal Hill, shopping in Gundy's gift store in Roland Park last week. "Brady, he's on the Patriots, right? I know Flacco because I don't live in a cave."
He went to an Army-Navy game in 2007 at M&T Bank Stadium, because he was a Navy veteran. He loved all the pomp, like sky divers jumping out of planes into the stadium.
He loved everything but the game.
Schamu would much rather watch a golf tournament on TV. His synopsis of football is: "It's uniquely American. It's uniquely violent. It's uniquely colorful, I suppose."
And halftime is "beyond the pale."
Still, he is respectful of football fans like his wife, Nancy, whose father was a quarterback for the University of Chicago.
When asked if he planned to watch the Super Bowl, Schamu said, "Yeah, probably, because my wife is."
John Bernet, 26, of Ednor Gardens, said he's too busy to watch most football games.
"I feel like I've got better things to do than sit and watch football," said Bernet, assistant director of neighborhood programs for the Charles Village-based Greater Homewood Community Corp. "Actually, I have a lot of better things to do," he said, naming as alternatives hiking, exercising, working on his house and studying for his master's degree in architecture at Morgan State University.
For the same reasons, Bernet doesn't even own a TV. But in honor of the Ravens and the iconic nature of the Super Bowl, he said he plans to watch the 47th Super Bowl at a friend's house Feb. 3.
"He has a TV and he knows what's going on. If I was watching it alone, I'd probably understand about 50 percent of it," Bernet said.
Bernet, who was born in Denver and lived for a time in New England, said he watched the Ravens' last two playoff games, a comeback against the Denver Broncos and a relatively easy win over the New England Patriots. The Patriots game "was pretty good," he said. "The game against Denver was quite exciting."
Bernet's co-worker at Greater Homewood, Director of Development Christy Zuccarini, doesn't even like the color purple, let alone football. She tried to get into the spirit of the playoffs and was half-watching the Ravens-Patriots game on TV while looking at Facebook at home in Rolden, but she didn't know that the Ravens had scored their first touchdown of the game until she saw a Facebook message that said, "Touchdown!"
She got tired of watching the game and turned to "Downton Abbey" instead. Two hours later, she heard fireworks and realized the Ravens won.
"That about sums it up," Zuccarini said.
Like Leahy, Zuccarini, 33, would much rather watch the Orioles. But she said she plans to watch the Super Bowl, probably at someone's house.
"It's an excuse to get dressed up and go to a party," she said, adding. "I am kind of happy when (the Ravens) win. It's something everyone in Baltimore can celebrate together."
Leahy, too, said she plans to watch the Super Bowl. She has softened in recent years, especially in 2001, when the Ravens won their first Super Bowl, and now, as they go for their second championship..
In fact, she and her husband made reservations to watch the game and eat dinner at The Dizz in Remington.
"I have a passing interest in (football), especially if it's something big and there's something social involved with it," she said. "It's good for the city and it brings business. I don't detest it, but I don't like it."