Tuesday, December 11, 2007

NFL Defeatism

So far in the 2007 NFL season, fans of roughly 29 teams have turned into what I call NFL defeatists. That is to say, there are many fans saying, "Woe is me, this season is an exercise in futility, our victories now mean nothing since we stand no chance against the Patriots. In the big picture, our season is insignificant." (The three teams I'm skipping are Indy, Dallas and of course New England.)

Case in point, a blurb from danshanoff.com (and he's not alone with this sentiment) - "Three games to play in the regular season and playoff jockeying is beginning to take some shape. (Again: Not that it matters this season. Whoopee: Your team made the playoffs. They're not winning the Super Bowl, unless you're a Pats fan.)"

That's right, everyone, just stop watching the games. It's over. Channel your inner Nietzsche and ponder your teams relevance to the rest of the league. Forget about watching your team progress (or regress), forget about rivalries, forget about getting caught up in the excitement of a single game, forget about new players emerging, forget about any of that. Because your team isn't the Patriots, or the Colts, or the Cowboys.

Have we already gone from blubbering about parity to blubbering about a top heavy league? That didn't take long. Was it that long ago when everyone commiserated about how 3/4 of the league was hovering around 8-8, how there were different teams in each respective conference's title games every year, about how there was seemingly no continuity from year to year? And now, the instant we have a team threatening to go undefeated with only two teams with a realistic chance of knocking them off, lets start bitching the OTHER way. And the bitching this year is worse than the blathering about parity.

As I've written in the past, I'm a Vikings fan. Inexplicably, impossibly, the Vikings are 7-6 after starting 2-5. Let me tell you that there's not a single Vikings fan alive right now that isn't positively THRILLED about how this season has gone so far. Watching the emergence of Purple Jesus, the maturation of Tarvaris Jackson, the pleasant surprise of Sidney Rice, the all out badass play of the entire defense. But still, do the Vikings have a realistic shot at winning the Super Bowl? Probably not. Does that matter that much to us after what's happened so far? Probably not.

And I've already heard from other folks saying something like, "But the goal of every season is to win the Super Bowl. Anything less than that is failure." Okay, Spock. Thanks for your coldly logical interpretation of sports. You must be a blast to watch a game with.

"Did you see that?! That field goal bounced on the support bar and back outside the uprights!! I've NEVER seen that! And the ref managed to mess up the call even though he was standing right there!"
"It is meaningless. Your team cannot beat the Patriots."

"Holy shit, did you see Adrian Peterson just destroy the Chargers defense!! He's playing like its Tecmo Bowl and he's Bo Jackson!!"
"A useless gesture. The Vikings will not win the Super Bowl."

"There goes Devin Hester AGAIN! This guy is just insane!!"
"Your enthusiasm is illogical. The Bears are going nowhere."

I hate to turn this into such a widely generalized philosophical type deal, but really all I'm trying to say is, SO WHAT? So the Patriots are a great team, one of the best ever, so maybe realistically speaking the Colts and Cowboys are the only teams that can take them down... this is supposed to prevent me from having fun rooting for my team, or following the rest of the league for that matter? Fuck that.

And if it does prevent you, enjoy watching the games alone, Spock. Live long and prosper, jackass.

EDIT: And of course, the day after I post this, the always irrelevant Pete Prisco writes this piece. "What happened to parity? Wasn't I just bitching about that less than a year ago??"

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