Well, I know it’s been a couple of days, but I’ve had a chance to cool down and look at things in a little more reasoned light. I am talking, of course, about the NFL Conference Championships coming up next weekend.
I must say that this has been the most disappointing playoff run since the Astros and White Sox were in the World Series in 2005. The teams I wanted to win are now 0-8 in the playoffs. 0-8! Every single game the “bad guy” has won. Seriously, if you would have asked me what the worst possible matchups would be in the Conference Championships at the end of the regular season, I almost certainly would have said New York vs. Green Bay and San Diego vs. New England.
Not that I dislike these teams as teams, except Green Bay who I despise. I LOATHE Green Bay. However, historically I am apathetic at best about San Diego, don’t really care too much for New England, either, and while I don’t really like any New York sports teams it’s nice when a team with as much NFL history as the Giants do well. If I had it my way, the Bears, Giants, Redskins, and Steelers would have good years every year, because I think these are the teams that best embody the spirit of the history of the NFL (even though the Steelers came from the AFL) and it’s good for football when these teams are at the top of their game. (The same could also be said for Green Bay, but I hate the Packers more than I like the NFL.)
However, all three of these current teams are fundamentally flawed. I really don’t like Eli Manning; I typically can’t stand anyone who feels they should get special treatment in the NFL before they even played a game (they usually suck anyway; see Cedric Benson, Cade McNown, and Rashaan Salaam), and even since his little temper tantrum at the draft he has come across as a whiner and a spoiled brat. Plus, he’s ugly. I really don’t like baby-faced quarterbacks at all (it’d be nice if Sexy Rexy had some stubble or something); I think all quarterbacks should look like that guy in the Old Spice commercials. But I can usually get over that if they prove to be a good football player and ambassador to the game, and I don’t think Eli is either of those. The rest of the team is actually okay; I just don’t want to see Eli Manning succeed. Of course, part of this may be sour grapes. Rex Grossman is better than Eli Manning, but everybody hates Rex and hands Eli free passes like they’re Orbit gum.
As for the Chargers, you can pretty much copy and paste everything I said about Eli Manning into a paragraph about Philip Rivers. But it’s worse with Philip Rivers. I really, really don’t like Philip Rivers. He’s an asshole! He looks like an asshole, plays like an asshole, talks like an asshole, and acts like an asshole. And it’s worse with the Chargers, because there are a number of players I don’t like. Such as LaDainian Tomlinson. Now, I’ll admit he’s a good running back. What he did at the end of the Wild Card game, when he was stuffed at the goal line but reached the football over the pile of linesman, was probably one of the smartest plays I have ever seen. If he didn’t have it before, he earned my respect with that move. But I just can’t get on the L.T. bandwagon. I don’t know, maybe it’s the helmet. Have you ever noticed he looks like Darth Vader in that thing?
Then we come to the Patriots. You know, I really wouldn’t have a thing against this team most years. I don’t like Belichick, but I don’t dislike him enough to wish bad teams upon him. Same thing with Tom Brady. Though I don’t like Randy Moss to the point where I wish bad teams upon him. But this is not the team that I would like to see go 19-0. I think that’s my biggest problem. I really don’t want any team to run the boards because I’d like da Bears to be the first since the Dolphins. However, if they aren’t going to be the first 19-0 team, I would like to see a better team than this year’s Pats take the honor.
So who do I pull for? You have to pull for someone! As much as I hate to admit it, I think I’m going to go for the Packers. Probably the first time in history. I have said many times before that if Brett Favre didn’t play for the Packers I’d love him. I think, more than any other quarterback in the league, he plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played; he’s a pocket passer, he has that Old Spice quality I alluded to earlier, he’s more likely to take a hit than dive, and he seems like a stand-up guy and a wonderful ambassador to the game. I actually think the NFL should force him to play in handcuffs just to maintain competitiveness; he’d still win anyway. But he has just tore up the Bears for too long for me to like him. Still, the 2007 Packers are a great story, and I suppose he deserves to go out like John Elway. I was hoping the Cowboys would win so I wouldn’t be in the predicament of picking Eli or the Pack, but since I am I guess I’ll go for the Packers. Just this once.
In the AFC, I’m going to have to go with the Patriots. Running the board is probably inevitable anyway, and I really, really don’t want to see these Chargers in the Super Bowl, so that’s my “lesser of two evils” pick.
Besides, the fact that they struggled so much against the Jaguars gives me comfort. Their perfection wasn’t quite perfect (though it’s hard to imagine a more dominant offense. They could name Janet Reno the punter and it probably wouldn’t effect them at all), and they played in a relatively weak division. The ’85 Bears went 18-1, and if a writer doesn’t put them at number one they are virtually always in the top three. However, da Bears really destroyed, and I mean completely annihilated, their post-season competition (and I use the word lightly). These Patriots always find a way to win, and they should be given credit because that’s what’s important, but lately it’s been by the skin of their teeth. Therefore, I can feel comfortable in saying their record was a product of a somewhat lucky season. So even though it’s probably impossible to go undefeated without some luck, and though they certainly earned their right to be named as one of the all-time best football teams, I can still rank the ’85 Bears higher. That does make it a little easier to pull for them over San Diego.
If I have to choose, I’ll go with Green Bay to win the Super Bowl. Though the way this year has gone I should probably bet on New York vs. San Diego with the Chargers winning.