Civil Discourse Now

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How to choose a team for which to cheer in the NFL(r) playoffs.

   I was born a fan of the Chicago Bears. I grew up watching Lindsey Nelson and CBS's broadcasts from Wrigley Field and its seemingly (perhaps actually) too-short end zones. The Bears did not win any championships during those years. Individual players were fun to watch. Gayle Sayers was awesome. The Chicago Tribune ran a front page photograph Dick Butkus as the middle linebacker sacked a quarterback and, fingers inserted through the guy's face mask, attempted to gouge at least one eye. The 1970s arrived and with them such greats as Bobby Douglass, a quarterback who threw so hard he could break a receiver's solar plexus. Then along came Walter Payton, one of the all-time great running backs. The highlights of a day's games would feature various awesome runs for Sweetness. The seasons, however, would end 2-14. The 1985-86 season, of course, brought the Bears of The Super Bowl Shuffle. The awesome aspect of that team was (1) the offense was decent but (2) the defense was so great, when the defense took the field, a Bears fan knew his or her team had a chance to score. Okay, one championship and da Bears returned to their usual runs at mediocrity.

   I moved to Indianapolis in 1986 to attend the Indianapolis University School of Law at Indianapolis. The Colts had moved here a year or two before. The Pacers? In the NBA they always had sucked. The Colts? They sucked and they were a novelty. But time, the flow of my tax dollars, and the Colts, wore away at my football allegiance. Studies generally (with the exceptions usually those commissioned by municipalities to conclude otherwise) show that government investment in a sports franchise is a bad return on the dollar. I haven't checked the odds, but probably it is similar to the lottery. There are winners in the sports thing, but they are the people who own the franchises.

   So we come to the 2013 playoffs. The Colts were a surprise, but came up very short against the Baltimore Ravens. I tend to agree with fellow blogger Paul Ogden who forecasts next season will be less successful for the Colts. He cites the success of this season and the subsequent "more difficult" schedule the NFL will set for the boys in Blue. I think that will be one factor. The other will be that the Colts have moved way down on the draft list. This will be a weaker draft than other years. The Colts needNeedNEED a good offensive line. Archie Manning had a decent career with the Saints, but spent much of his time running away from defensive linemen or, unsuccessful as the quarry in that pursuit, lying on grass or artificial turf in whatever the venue. I think Paul is generous when he says the Colts will finish 8-8, although they play Jacksonville and Tennessee, two bright spots on any team's schedule.

   That brings me to this year's playoffs and how to choose a team for which to cheer.

    Sunday's four teams? Three were from "blue" states---"blue" to the extent they voted for the Democratic candidate for President in 2013. Only Atlanta's ill-fated Falcons went for Mitt Romney. Maryland (Baltimore) and California (of course, and home of the 49ers) went for Obama. The New England Patriots? They are evil. That quality has nothing to do with where they play. Their coach will arise tonight from the coffin in which he sleeps, walk into the bathroom, look into the mirror and see---nothing. I was glad the Patriots lost again. Besides, the Patriots played a team from a blue State. So I was happy the Ravens won. I represent persons in criminal appeals, after all. But we arrive at my formula: if one has no team in the game, for me it is blue state over red. If your political views are different, you can flip the formula.

   Now comes The Super Bowl(r). First, we have to wait two weeks for the game. That's a bunch of crap. We are Americans. We are entitled to immediate gratification of our senses. Why do we have to wait two weeks? How many pizza commercials will we have to watch? Second, the game does not start until after 6:30. Give me a break. I go to bed at 9. Plus---what's the deal with half-time shows? I miss "In Living Color," and its half-time show. That was a welcome alternative. And please do not get me wrong: for example, I like "The Who," but rock and roll stars, one of the songs of which had the lyric, "Hope I die before I get old," should not play when they are past the age of 70. Sinatra? Sure, his music was not so youth-oriented.

   And the choice of the team for which to root? Both teams are located in "blue" states, so there goes that test. The 49ers have won five times (most recently almost 20 years ago). The Ravens already have one, and that's not bad for a franchise that pulled up stakes from Cleveland. (That's about the only way the Browns can win a Super Bowl(r)---through relocation.) So? I don't care. The game will fade into my memories. Two or three years from now, I won't remember who the opponents were in Super Bowl whatever the Roman numerals.  

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