It's Gabe's first Super Bowl. His NFL fan affiliation is still undefined, so he gets a nice chance to simply pick one of two options: Colts or Bears.
There are a couple of factors that are going into the decision-making mix:
(A) His existing fan allegiances. Gabe's Florida Gators fandom has two significant implications: (1) He has an interest in rooting for Rex Grossman. (2) He has an interest in rooting against Peyton Manning.
(B) His family birthright. Gabe's paternal grandfather's family is huge Chicagoan. I have to imagine that "Grandpa" -- a Bears fan -- would like to see his only grandson get behind the Bears.
(C) His father's complicated history. (With the Bears, specifically.) Mostly from my dad's influence, I grew up a huge Bears fan. Settle in for some backstory:
I was 12 -- arguably the most formative year for any fan -- for the Bears' 1985 season.
More than that, I grew up a Bears fan in
I can't stress enough the effect of displaced fandom on a kid in heightening interest. Washington, D.C.
(What makes that so interesting is that when I finally got to
full-time, for college, and I was finally surrounded by "my people," my love for the team eroded. Ultimately, I stopped liking the NFL altogether, but that was a function of working for the NFL and another story altogether.) Chicago
I never regained the die-hard love of the Bears that I had as a kid. But I have always maintained a sympathy (even this season, when I adopted the Jaguars -- thanks, Deadspin!). It's interesting: While I lost my passion for rooting FOR the Bears, I could never imagine rooting AGAINST them.
And so even though I picked the Colts to win the Super Bowl in my preseason picks (over the Bears, I have to add), I will be rooting for the Bears on Sunday -- a residual feeling from my fandom as a kid.
Only 9 months old, Gabe has no real choice in the matter, but I think that given the factors above, he'll be rooting for the Bears, too. At least, that's the direction we'll be pushing him.
And, for the first time, I'm wondering what NFL team he'll be a fan of when he finally has the cognitive ability to make a choice. Will it be the Bears? Is it possible that his experience this weekend will leave some sort of subconscious imprint on him?
P.S.: I'm in