Lessons of a Super Bowl on the campaign trail

Here’s the thing about loving politics: You find yourself watching the Super Bowl and subconsciously comparing quarterbacks Eli Manning and Tom Brady to Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

Yes, I know this is rather pathetic to admit—and hurts my athletic credentials…but was indeed true.

Both on the field and on the trail you encounter bumps and bruises (just ask the Florida voter now suing Newt Gingrich’s campaign after a security guard supposedly stomped on and broke his foot), slow spots, injuries and thrilling twists & turns—even some name calling.

I won’t wax too poetic (I’ll leave that to either Al Michaels or George Will—pick your poison) but here’s a brief breakdown of how the big game may be a parallel universe to the big race.

Mitt and Newt. As cliché as it may be, these guys are clearly the big QB’s duking it out right now. They hurl attacks on the other team’s defense like Brady and Manning with stinging results and whose arms never seem to tire.

They lead. Many follow. And both are the most likely to end up in the end zone, with arms raised. Though there’s a problem with this parallel. The winner inherits more work instead of less and the loser is the only one who would actually have the time to go to Disney World.

Please forgive me Rick Santorum supporters…but at this point he’s most like Lawrence Tynes or Stephen Gostkowski. Both talented kickers who certainly have the ability to score & even win games (remember Iowa?) but are often overshadowed by bigger names with more raucous supporters.

Of course, I didn’t do a headcount but it’s probably safe to say more Pats fans don a “Brady” jersey than good ole Gostkowski’s, right?

Ron Paul is kind of like the commercials. Humorous, entertaining, not taken seriously by everyone but also is backed by followers so rabid they yell at everyone in the room to shut up when the ads start to play. He, just like the ads can bring in some big bucks…but if there wasn’t a game being played or race being run, well….

Oh yeah, then there are Jeb Bush & Chris Christie. Let’s say they’re playing the part of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Maybe they don’t pick who wins the game, but they certainly have a say in how it all unfolds.

So in the end, it may be a Hail Mary pass that determines a winner. Is that rosary-bead clutching moment going to be Super Tuesday…or as the field vows, will it not come until the convention?

Either way, Mitt Romney at this moment seems in best position to hoist the GOP’s version of the Lombardi trophy.

And if so, I wonder: what does his staff douse him with in lieu of the Gatorade bath? Those milk shakes he celebrates with after big election nights, could be a real mess.