I’ve got to get something off my chest. My last predictions had some flaws in them, and I apologize. Regardless, I still have four of my six predictions alive, and 4/6 equals 2/3 which is two times 1/3 which happens to be the number of predictions Blase got right in last weeks round of playoff games (Boom). Because of this, I strongly advise you to read this over Blase’s predictions. So, for this round of playoff games, I thought I’d bring in my expertise and give you a proven experts opinion on these games.
Patriots vs. Ravens, Sunday 3:00 pm
This game has quite the odd vibe to it. On one hand, you’ve got the Patriots who had an extremely impressive win against the Broncos and on the other, you’ve got the Ravens who struggled to get by the Texans who was quarterbacked by T.J. Yates. Based on conventional wisdom, one should conclude that the Pats should win, but conventional wisdom is often predictable and under thought. So, I compare the thoughts of the average sports fan with my thinking.
Conventional thinking: Wow, this is not going to be a game. God’s nephew vs. T-Sizzle? T-Sizzle, wait a minute, isn’t that Taylor Swift’s rap name? I mean God’s nephew did make the Mile-High Messiah look like Harold Camping (the guy who predicted the world was going to end last May), so Brady will probably make Flacco look like some hillbilly with a hideous Fu Manchu… oh wait. On top of all that, they’re playing in Foxboro, which makes the Ravens chances of succeeding similar to Charles Barkley’s chances of losing weight. The only thing shocking about this matchup is that the Patriots are only 7 point favorites. This will be a blowout.
My thinking: Wow, this is going to be a great game. God’s nephew vs. T-Sizzle… Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, Cheeseburger (Ngata’s nickname for Terrence Cody) and, of course, Ray Rice. Brady has put this team on his back for so long that he probably has some form of chronic back pain that I’m sure one of the Ravens’ defensive menaces will bring out by the end of the game. The Pats may be 13-3 this year, but they haven’t beaten anyone with a winning record all year (even the Broncos finished 9-9). They only played two playoff teams (besides the Broncos, but their hardly considered playoff caliber) during the regular season (Giants and Steelers) and lost them both. Also, their defense is awful. People (including Ed Reed) have been giving Flacco beef all week for his inability to score against the Texans last weekend, when really no one has been able to score on the Texans all year. The Texans have given up the 4th fewest points all year only behind the Ravens, Steelers, and 49ers, and only 12 points more then the Ravens. I still don’t think the Ravens will light up the Patriots offensively, but I can easily see them scoring over 30 points which will be more then the Ravens are going to give up to the Pats.
49ers vs. Giants, Sunday 6:30 pm
What’s not to like about this matchup. Two premier franchises, each led by two back-to-back #1 overall draft picks, going head to head in one of the most historic stadiums around today with stellar defenses on both squads. Just thinking about it gives me a quarter-chub, and if you think that’s weird, you’re right. As you may know from reading my previous article, I have been on the Giants bandwagon for quite some time now, and when I should be saying, “Told you so,” I’m saying “Get me off this bus.”
Last weekend, I sat down to watch the Packers-Giants game in my basement and something felt really out-of-place. It was a similar feeling to watching Two and a Half Men with Ashton Kutcher instead of Charlie Sheen. I knew something was up and then when the Packers kicked that onside kick in the second quarter, it all clicked. The 15-1 Packers, and #1 seed in the NFC, were playing like they were underdogs. Onside kicks in the second quarter are only acceptable in two situations: a) you’re trying to surprise a team that has been called better then you by everyone all week(i.e. the Saints vs. Colts in the 2010 Super Bowl) or b) you’re clinically insane (there are still no examples of this occurring in the NFL). After doing some research, I figured out that Mike McCarthy isn’t insane and that the Packers were the favorites in the game, so it wasn’t any of those situations. But I thought some more and can now say that the Packers kicked an onside kick because Mike McCarthy is kind of insane and people were kind of saying the Packers might lose. As a result, the Giants were able to beat the former world champions without much of an effort. To most, this was a very convincing win, but to me it just didn’t seem right.
The 49ers, on the other hand, had a very impressive win last weekend. Alex Smith finally looked like the Steve Young that everyone expected him to be as the #1 draft pick back in 2005. On top of that, they beat the Saints, the team that I predicted to win the Super Bowl. Going in to the playoffs, we all knew that the 49ers could play defense. All they needed to become Super Bowl contenders was solid play from Alex Smith, and I saw more than that last week.
In the end, I think the 49ers win this game because of the other Smiths, Justin Smith and Aldon Smith on the defensive line. These two feed of the success of the secondary and likewise for the secondary. If the secondary, lead by sudden stud in Carlos Rogers, is blanketing the Giants receivers, you know one of the Smiths will get to Eli, whereas if the Smiths apply pressure on Eli, their secondary is more then capable then picking off a hurried throw. Because of this, I give the edge to the 49ers.
The moment was surreal. Aaron Rodgers had a wide open Jermichael Finley. And when I say wide open, I’m talking as open as my Cadillac windows on a summer day (my air conditioner is broken so the windows are ALWAYS open); I’m talking as open as the Taco Bell drive thru at midnight. Finley was open. But Finley seemed to decelerate and Rodgers threw an errant pass, the ball hit the ground. At that moment I knew. I knew the Packers were going to lose.
Cue the pity music. I’m sure if someone was videotaping me (It’s not like anyone would, but hypothetically speaking) I looked like one of those abandoned or abused animals in those “donate to our cause” commercials– you know, the ones that make you feel really bad about sitting on your comfy couch and enjoying those chocolate chip cookies. My eyes were glossy: glossy, but no tears. I thought about the season, all the good times: the rise of the Discount Double Check move, Rodgers’ historic season, and Jordy Nelson’s emergence. Those memories didn’t help me though; they only made me feel worse. I felt like a hungry teenage male who simply wanted Chick-Fil-A, drove all the way to Chick-Fil-A, and then realized it was Sunday. I was drowning in a sea of sadness.
(Remember the music is still playing)
But there was a chance to help me, all you had to do was call or text my phone, and unlike the animal shelters, I wouldn’t even take your money. I just needed some comfort. Sadly, instead of encouragement, I was greeted at the end of the game by texts asking me, “What happened to your Packers dude????”(Seriously? How am I supposed to know?)
Although the Packers are out of the playoffs, the playoffs (and all sports in general) continue and so does my quest to identify and predict the best games of the week. Last week was filled with sadness, but now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This time I didn’t have a Muscle Milk, and my intuition is feeling strong.
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots, Sun. Jan 22, 2:00 pm
Ah, such an interesting matchup. My heart wants the Ravens to win. I mean who wouldn’t want the Ravens to win after what Belichick and Brady did to Tebow last week. And who can stand the ranting maniac that is Skip Bayless? After debating Terrell Suggs on his show, I’m sure Suggs has Skip’s annoying voice saying “the Ravens defense is too old” on a loop playing in the back of his head. Every play, he’ll probably see a little visual picture of Skip and will proceed to pop the next guy who will get in his way. So, I see Terrell Suggs having a big day. After that, I don’t have much faith in the Ravens. I don’t understand how anyone could.
Yesterday, my colleague and I placed a ten dollar bet on this game. I had the Patriots. I couldn’t believe it. So, I asked him all the usual questions when referring to bets.
“You’re not betting doll hairs are you?”
“What about monopoly dollars?”
“Nope, straight up, ten bucks.”
“Then why are you doing this, you know the Patriots are going to win.”
“Because I hate when people like you are overconfident.”
And that’s the exact reason, why I’m scared about this game. I’m almost 99% sure the Patriots will beat the Ravens. The Ravens are 4-4 on the road, Brady is coming of one of the best performances by a quarterback in the playoffs, and the killer Tight end tandem of Hernandez and Gronk is the coolest thing the NFL has seen since the forward pass. But something tells me that the Ravens will put up a good fight and might event pull off the upset. In the end, though, Brady and Belichick will be returning to the Super Bowl, leaving Terrell Suggs with countless nightmares of Skip Bayless and the Patriots offense.
New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers, Sun. Jan 22, 5:30 pm
Man, was I wrong about the 49ers. Their stifling defense was a pure joy to watch. I think after watching the whole game, I saw two missed tackles, which in today’s NFL game is like saying I saw Bill Belichick smiling or DeSean Jackson not whining—it’s unheard of. As for the Giants, see the above intro to get my reactions on the game.
The two quarterbacks in last week’s games both proved their respective doubters wrong. Now, for this game, it will be how they handle the success they experienced last week. And for this category, I like Eli, simply because he has had success (I’m sorry to say this, but I don’t think Alex Smith has ever experienced success in the NFL. Ever). What stuck out to me about Manning’s game last week was his ability to convert on third and long situations, which, when playing the 49ers defense, will occur frequently. If Manning can replicate last week’s success in those situations the Giants will be able to gut out a win, and set up the classic everyone remembers from four years ago Giants vs. Patriots.
Giants-21 49ers- 17
(5) Missouri at (3) Baylor, Sat. Jan 21, 1:00 pm
This game has serious Big 12 Title implications on the line and also will have National ranking implications as both teams are in the top 5. As I see it, this is the ultimate battle of size vs. speed. The Baylor Bears average height for their starters is almost 77.5 inches, while Missouri’s is less than 75.6 inches. To put that into perspective, Missouri is 303rd in the nation in average height. But what they lack in height, they make up for in speed. Missouri guards can be streaky shooters, but with a hostile crowd in Waco, Texas if Missouri doesn’t come out hot, they’ll have a hard time recovering. And so far, with my Big 12 picks, I’ve been riding the home teams, and I’m not stopping until I see evidence to suggest otherwise. Baylor wins in a shootout
(7) Kansas at Texas, Sat. Jan. 21, 3:00 pm
Kansas is coming off a huge win against Baylor with great performances from Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor. It seems like the win woke up the sleeping giant that is all KU fans. There was a nice serenity to not having to hear KU fans claim their team is “the greatest ever even in a down year.” Please, Kansas fans give it a rest; let’s wait until March to start claiming Kansas is “the best team ever.” Unfortunately, I don’t think these KU fans will quiet down anytime soon, as Kansas will beat a struggling Texas team that recently lost to Kansas State earlier in the week. Although, I said, I wasn’t going to pick against the home team, for this game, I see Kansas winning.
And if you have more time, these are some other great games to check out also.
Indiana State at (18) Creighton, Sat. Jan 21, 2:00 pm– The Missouri Valley should be given some serious attention with many quality teams. Doug McDermott is a legitimate player of the year candidate for Creighton and is fun to watch.
(1) Syracuse at Cincinnati, Mon. Jan 23, 6:00 pm– Since the lost and brawl to Xavier, Cincinnati has gone 7-1. This can be a serious threat to Syracuse’s potential perfect season.
(13) Indiana at Wisconsin, Thurs. Jan 26, 8:00 pm– If you’re a fan of slow, grind- it- out- games, Wisconsin is your team of choice. Indiana has beaten Kentucky and Ohio State, but Wisconisn will be tough to beat at the Kohl Center.
Indiana at LA Lakers, Sun. Jan 22, 8:30 pm- The young Indiana Pacers have suprised NBA experts while the struggling Lakers have been riding on the wearisome shoulders of Kobe Bryant. This can be a big statement game for either team.
LA Clippers at LA Lakers, Wed. Jan 25, 9:30 pm-Battle for LA, part II.
Blase Capelli is 4-5 for his predictions. He hopes to break .500 after this week.
There are few things in life that bring me more joy than the NFL playoffs. Okay, maybe watching the Sons of Anarchy with my dog Mazie, just might give the playoffs a run for its money, but even that can’t match-up with some cold weather, hard hitting football. The drama is just incredible, and, no, not even scripted television can top the incredible games (I can safely make this prediction with all the television shows I’ve been watching over the break. Thank you, God, for Netflix). Come on, think about all the “holy shit” moments that you have witnessed in the playoffs: a 6th seed winning the whole thing last year, Marshawyn Lynch’s beast-mode-I’m-putting-the-team-on-my-back run against the Saints, “the catch.” I could go on forever. But I won’t. Instead, I’m going to help save you from the shock of a future “holy shit” moment, and maybe at the same time save you from having a heart attack. For the 2011-2012 NFL playoffs, this is what’s going to happen*…
1. Defense will win the Super Bowl.
In a season dominated on the offensive side of the ball, I’m thinking that the old adage, offense wins games, defense wins championships, comes through once again. We all know that the three favorites to win the Super Bowl (Packers, Patriots, Saints respectively) can put points on the board, but their defenses are in the bottom 25% in yards allowed per game with the Patriots and Packers being 31st and 32nd respectively. This doesn’t mean I’m completely ruling out any of these teams to win it all, but rather, if these teams are expecting to just outscore their opponents rather then beat them on both sides of the ball, they’ll be in for a rude awakening when they’re losing 19-14 at the end of the fourth quarter.
2. Giants will make a run.
I’ve been on the Giants’ bandwagon for some time now, and now it’s time for everyone else to join as well. Eli Manning is playing the best football of his career and has one of the most deadly wide receiving duos in Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Also, the Giants defense thinks that they can be the best defense in the league and, I agree with them. With the sudden emergence of pro-bowler Jason Pierre-Paul and the return of Osi Umenyiora, the Giants D has really turned it up in the last few games of the season, especially when rushing the quarterback. This could prove to be a problem for opposing teams and definitely makes the Giants a team to watch in the playoffs.
3. Packers won’t win a game.
Two words… Drew Brees. Brees is the hottest quarterback in the league and unlucky for the Lambeau faithful, he will most likely be visiting them in a few weeks. Down the stretch of the season, the Packers have looked like they are past their prime, whereas the Saints look like they’re at their peak. In a perfect world, the rest of the playoffs would end when this matchup happens and this would be for all the marbles. However, this is not a perfect world and neither are the Packers. I give the edge to the Saints.
4. No #1 seeds will be in the Super Bowl.
As stated earlier, I think the Packers are going to take an early exit on the way to Indy, and the Patriots should be there with them. Let’s face it, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s playoff magic has worn off. Along with that, if it isn’t their magic wearing off, it’s their defense. The inexperienced squad won’t be able to last a long playoff run. That combined with the loss of offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to Penn State should create problems for the Patriots.
5. Tim Tebow will make John Elway reconsider the Bronco’s future.
Once saying that Tebow was “not going anywhere,” John Elway will most likely reconsider this after the outcome of Tebow’s first playoff game. My prediction is that the Bronco’s get destroyed and Tebow’s performance will be horrendous, but it’s not entirely Tebow’s fault… I mean Elway is the one who told Tebow to “pull the trigger.” This advice could not have possibly come at a worse time considering that when Tebow has pulled the trigger in the last two weeks, he has had 1:4 touchdown interception ratio and ending both games with a QB rating under 40. Also, the fact that he’s facing the top passing defense in the league doesn’t help his case at all. I’m thinking Elway doesn’t want him back and is going to try to get the fans behind him by telling Tebow to throw the ball (but this whole scheme that I believe will play out may just come from a Sons of Anarchy hangover).
6. Super Bowl: Saints over Ravens.
I’m thinking the Ravens have the lead the whole game, until Drew Brees mounts a late game comeback and outlast the Ravens by a hair. Brees just has way too many weapons (Sproles, Colston, and Graham) to be held down for long. I feel the system that New Orleans has will be too much for the hard nose football the Ravens play. After leading this late game surge, Brees will be named MVP of the Super Bowl, taking home another ring and cementing his name in the record books (for the time being ) all in one season.
*all predictions made in this are likely to change.
If you’re anything like me, you love the Madden hit stick. The satisfaction of landing a big hit on a wide receiver jarring the ball loose for an incompletion, or nailing a running back and forcing a fumble all with the flick of a thumb is such an honor (thank you creators of Madden). The first time I used it, I was like a little kid who was just given a new Star Wars toy. Just like I abused my Star Wars Millennium Falcon, I also abused the Madden hit stick. I used it constantly; I’m talking every play.
And, if you’re anything like me, you rarely made contact with the hit stick. Was it just me or did it seem like every time you used it, your player completely whiffed the ball carrier, and he proceeded to gain an extra five yards? Maybe I was just bad with it, but that didn’t stop me from using it. A few broken controllers and hundreds of cuss words later, I still adore the Madden hit stick-no matter how frustrating it can be.
The reason is simple: when you do make contact, when everything comes together– your mind, body, sweat , thumb, controller, Xbox 360, Madden—when all those things come together, and you land the perfect hit, it’s probably one of the most rewarding experiences the Madden game has to offer. You feel like a man; you then proceed to shout like a man—you are a man.
Now let’s step back from the video game of Madden and look at the NFL. In the midst of the passing craze that has dazzled the league, my inner-Madden- hit stick craving self wants to yell at Mr. Roger Goodell himself.
“Mr. Goodell, you not allowing a safety to make a hit on a wide receiver over the middle of the field, or allowing a defensive end to hit a quarterback leading with his helmet is like taking out the hit stick in Madden.”
After he recovered from passing out in shock (taking out the hit stick in Madden is considered blasphemous), he would quickly change the bogus rule that has been implemented to protect offensive players.
But things aren’t that way, and there’s a reason for that.
You see, my brother and I are like any average guys. We fight (For the record, I win), we eat, and we watch football. When we do watch football, it’s similar to your average watch party—a little back and forth banter, nothing special. But there’s one thing we almost always manage to say once every football game.
“Wow, that’s a bogus call.” Of course, we say that almost ten times, but we always say it at least once when a lineman or a safety is called for leading with the helmet.
And if my dad is with us, after the call is made, we usually come to a general consensus, “football is becoming a wimp’s sport.” (This is the G version)
We don’t take into the consideration the danger a player that leads with his helmet is in; we don’t think about all the injuries that have occurred because a player led with his helmet; we don’t think.
We want to see the big hit. The violence. The potential to rattle the ball loose. We are savages. We want to see the player yell after making the hit. We want to yell with them.
We forget everything about the safety of the players, the importance of a person, and instead we think of ourselves and our entertainment. It’s pathetic. I’m pathetic. My brother and dad are pathetic. We think that a player might be injured and soon be able to get back up. And that’s a sad belief.
When you look at the cover of Sports Illustrated, you will see a picture of Eric LeGrand, a Rutgers player who was paralyzed from the neck down because he tried to tackle leading with his helmet. The picture is of him returning to the Rutgers football field before the game starts (the actual injury is in the video below.)
Looking at the picture and watching the play makes me realize something that I will always try to remember when I think there is a bogus leading with the helmet call: the players out on the field are more than just a video game player, they are a human being.
Spencer: So by now you’ve probably heard about the vacant coaching spot for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Blase: And like us, you probably have certain guys you want to see as the head coach. I mean, let’s face it, seeing Bill Cowher in Red and Yellow would be interesting to say the least.
Spencer: But our hopes aren’t set on getting Bill Cowher (we’re being realistic). We’ve heard the question discussed and thought we would duke it out ourselves.
Should the Chiefs hire Romeo (Bromeo) Crennel?
Spencer: For me, I think the Chiefs should definitely hire Romeo Crennel as their head coach for next year.
Blase: You had to say it. Well, just to warn you, I caught five shrimp tonight at the Japanese Steakhouse (always a competition in my family) and let’s just say I’m on top of my game. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. I have to politely disagree with you: Crennel is not the answer for the Chiefs organization. As much as I love the big guy, I see some major issues with the hire.
Spencer: Let me explain, Crennel has the backing of the players behind him. After taking over the job as the interim head coach, he rallied the troops and managed to beat the undefeated Packers. That was a solid win. Someone needs to get a video of that Gatorade bath. The calm, cool “I’ve done this a million times” look on Crennel’s face was priceless. Not to mention, his headset was dislodged after the Gatorade hit him. Come on, who wouldn’t want a coach like that.
Blase: You’re right the players are behind him. But, just because he has the backing of the players doesn’t necessarily mean he should be hired. Having confidence in a coach is one thing, but if the coach can’t give the players the tool’s to win then that confidence means absolutely nothing.
Spencer: You do realize that Crennel arguably led the strongest part of the Chiefs team this year, the defense?
Blase: I’m well aware of that, but go back and look at the stats. These are the amount of points the Chiefs gave up each game respectively: 41, 48, 20, 17, 24, 0, 20, 31, 17, 34, 13, 3, 37, 14, and 13. That looks pretty inconsistent to me. And am I wrong or was that the exact reason Pioli fired Haley in the first place—he was too inconsistent.
Spencer: Yes, but you have to admit. Having a coach with a lot of jewelry is appealing. He’s been there and done that. His five rings are proof of that. And the stat with the points can be slightly credited to the offense that couldn’t move the ball or control the clock. And don’t you think you’re forgetting something (or someone I suppose): Eric Berry, easily one of the best safeties in the NFL.
Blase: But during his time as head coach with the Cleveland Browns, his combined record was 24-40. I think that’s a tell-tale sign that, while he may be able to handle the defense, I’m not sold he can lead a whole team.
Spencer: That’s what the offensive coordinator is for… We could go on for days, but I think we will stop there. Alright, for the other two serious candidates that the Chiefs are considering, check out the below information.
Blase: And please, Clark Hunt, spend money on Jeff Fisher.
Coach Fisher was previously the head coach of the Tennessee Titans for a total of 16 seasons. While he is known as an offensive line specialist, Coach Fisher has been around the block long enough to know how to handle a team with “special” personalities that the Chiefs have on their hands (we’re looking at you Jonathan Baldwin and Dwayne Bowe). As the head coach of the Titans he led the team to a combined record of 146-120 in his 16 seasons. He led a 13-3 Titans team to the Super Bowl in 1999, but lost to the St. Louis Rams 23-16 (That game went down as an instant classic. One yard. Just one yard. I’m sure Coach Fisher and the Titans have nightmares about that play all the time). He has made the playoffs six times.
The Roast of Josh McDaniels
Josh McDaniels’s resume makes me want to run the other way and beg for Todd Haley to return. At the time of his hiring, as head coach of the Broncos, he was the youngest head coach in the NFL. In his first season, McDaniels managed to go 8-8 in a division that was well below average. The second season was a disaster. The Broncos had a regular season record of 3-9 in 2010, when he was fired. He moved on from the firing and pursued a job as the offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams where he was incredible at calling all the wrong plays. With the Rams, McDaniels’s offense put up staggering numbers for all the wrong reasons. The offense led the league in fewest points SCORED and was second to last in yards. The offense also was able to land in the top ten for turning the ball over (21 times). The bright spot on the season is the two wins, one against the New Orleans Saints… we will just leave out the thirteen loses. In regards to the Chiefs, it seems like Pioli wants Josh as a puppet, I mean head coach… Scott wants some one that will not challenge his drafts or his trades. That guinea pig could be Coach McDaniels if Pioli gets his way.
Good news for Kansas City fans came out tonight. While our team might not be playing football into January, we will still have players to watch that will be representing the Chiefs at the 2010-2011 Pro Bowl. Yes, Kansas City fans, two Chiefs players from your beloved team were given the Pro Bowl honors and will be traveling to Hawaii: Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson.
Although both were integral parts of the Chiefs’s defense, they had very different roles when it came game time. For Hali, the man was a pass rushing machine. He gave teams all kinds of fits, becuase of his speed coming off the edge and his superior hand to hand tactics (watch him warm up, it’s insane). This has led to a team leading 12 sacks and countless holds by offensive linemen that aren’t always included in the stat line. I know if Hali was running full speed at me, I would probably pass out. He’s a pretty scary-looking guy.
While Hali was voted in because of his ability to get to the quarterback, Johnson was voted in because he was the overall leader of the defense. Johnson not only led the team in tackles, with 126, he also was the defensive play caller and was in charge of making the correct audibles when he saw something he didn’t like at the line. Chiefs fans have been given the delight of watching Johnson mature before their eyes.
For me, I can’t help but wonder if Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki, and Jamaal Charles weren’t injured. Not only would we have potentially had 5 pro-bowlers, we might have still been playing into January-as a team.
Sorry to all the Scrooges, I’m not done with Christmas. Not yet.
Unfortunately, this year Santa Claus didn’t follow the instructions on my Christmas list (I thought I made it pretty clear). I managed to mail it to the North Pole; maybe he didn’t receive it, or maybe his elves couldn’t make it. I don’t know. All I know is that Mr. Santa didn’t buy me my stock in the Packers.
Before I indulge you with the details (I cried for two hours and later taught my little cousins some new words to describe Santa), I want to explain why I wanted a stock in the Packers in the first place.
I’m the kid who believes the Packers are my team. If I were living in Green Bay this may be true, since the Packers are community owned, but I don’t. This is my terminology when talking about the Packers…
We- “We need to get our running game going.”
Us- “Don’t be hating on us because we have the first seed in the NFC.”
Aaron (Rodgers)- “Aaron and I are really good friends. He’s coming over today to play some Madden.”
You guys- “You guys just blew that game against the Raiders.”
To put it simply, my friends don’t really appreciate it. They seem to think that because I’m not on the Packers, I can’t use that terminology. And so, that’s why I wanted a stock in the Packers: no longer would one of my friends be able to say that I’m not a part of the Packers organization, because, heck, I would have owned them.
After getting over Santa’s minor blunder, I realized that I don’t need a paper certificate (That’s really all it is considering it is non-tax deductible) for me to proclaim that the Packers are my team, and I urge all fans of all sports and of all teams to take a similar stance.
Let’s face it; we aren’t a part of our respective teams. I’ll be honest, if I went out on Sunday and played with the Packers, I think Ndamukong Suh wouldn’t even have to stomp on me, he could just fall on top of me, and I would be done. It would save him the headache of trying to explain why he tried to stomp a guy’s head off, and it would save us the headache from hearing every ESPN guy talking about how they like Suh’s toughness but think he took it too far (No? Really? I couldn’t tell).
But without the fans, these athletes are nothing. Without us cheering our asses off in sub -freezing temperatures, without us purchasing tickets, without us buying their merchandise, these NFL players are playing just another backyard football game. What’s to separate my CYO basketball game, or my uncle’s softball league from the NBA and MLB besides the rampant fan interest in the latter examples (OK, I guess the talent level is a little different too).
The game and the league, for that matter, would have no implications without its fans. When playing in front of an audience, the game feels more important, because it’s more than a game: it’s about winning for the team’s community, for their fan base.
Speaking from a strictly business perspective, it’s obvious that without fans the NFL, or any other sports league, would be nothing. Consider the new reported nine year television contract expansion the NFL agreed to with Fox, NBC, and CBS. Although the financial terms have not been released, the three networks are expected to pay roughly $3 billion a year (Forbes). Yes, you read that correctly, $3 billion. The only way the NFL receives this incredible amount of money is through the support of its passionate fans.
So the next time a friend asks you what you think of the Chiefs or the Royals, you can proudly say the re-occurring chant for both organizations, “We are building for the future.”