It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year -Post-Season Football Frenzy!
They say January is the most depressing month of the year. Credit card bills come, the days are cold and dark, and New Year’s resolutions are quickly dumped in favor of sugar and chardonnay. Well, who is this “they” anyway, and don’t they watch football??
It’s playoff month, ladies. The time when our favorite 32 teams are culled down to 12, leaving fans brokenhearted or elated.
Why are the NFL playoffs so superior to all other forms of playoffs?
It’s one-and-done, win-or-go-home, sudden death time! None of this sissy several weeks of seven game stretches (I’m talkin’ to you, baseball and hockey), no ridiculous “everyone gets a trophy” college bowls (yes, there is a Magicjack.com St. Petersberg Bowl, and no one cares who plays in it), no “all star” rosters (although you are easy on the eyes, World Cup). Just teeth-knockin, every-play-matters football!
And when it’s all over, the winners get a ring, with tons of bling like this.
If that doesn’t get you all geeked up, consider that playoff football also draws its fair share of celebrities, B-listers and assorted hangers-on. Prospects for this year include Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Redskins), Usher (Falcons), Robin Williams (Niners), Hilary Duff (Texans), Michael Phelps (Ravens), George Clooney (Bengals), Matthew McConaughey (Redskins), Carrie Underwood (Cowboys), Demi Moore (Packers) and the evil Gisele Bundchen, the “Yoko Bund-o” of the Patriots as I like to call her. Sorry, but two of our fave Brads, Brad Pitt and Bradley Cooper, will not be attending games this year as their respective teams (Saints and Eagles) have failed to qualify. Perhaps there is a “hottest fan” consolation award we can bestow on them.
If you know someone whose team didn’t happen to advance to the big time, here are a few parting shots to take. Say these simple phrases, and any fan worth their salt is guaranteed to go ballistic. You don’t even have to know what it means, just throw it out there. In case you be hatin’…
Chargers – 4th and 29? Really?
Lions – Matt Millen’s fault. Still. Always.
Raiders – Your current coach makes Lane Kiffin look like John Madden.
Cardinals – At 4-0, you had an 80% probability of making the playoffs. But that’s if you don’t end up 5-11.
Jaguars – A QB named Blaine ain’t instilling fear in anyone.
Jets – Maybe go easy on any Jets fans you know this year. They’ve suffered enough.
Eagles – Guess this dog wasn’t built to fight. Oh yeah, I went there.
Cowboys – While Jerry Fiddles, Romo Burned (you)
Bills – Haven’t they moved to Canada yet?
Boo yah! That’s how we roll girls!
As for the teams that are left, here are the story lines that you won’t want to miss–
The Indianapolis Colts are not only my favorite team of all time, but this year’s Cinderella Story. With coach Chuck Pagano stepping down in the face of leukemia treatment, last year’s 2-12 team rallied to an improbable 11-5 record, largely on the back of rookie QB Andrew Luck and a cast of cast-offs and rookies. With Pagano now back on the sidelines, can their magic season continue through the playoffs? The Baltimore Ravens may have something to say about that. They host the Colts this weekend and are, as always, a defensive powerhouse. They will be fueled by the announcement that their team’s heart and soul, Ray Lewis, will be retiring at the end of the season. Meaning that this could be the last game for this controversial figure who has played for 17 seasons and was also charged with murder 12 years ago, only to plead guilty to a lesser charge. Tell whoever you’re watching the game with that you hope Ray brings some “killer instinct” to the game, and watch them cringe!
The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings will face off (probably in snow) in a somewhat anti-climatic matchup that was played just last weekend. In that game, probable-MVP Adrian Peterson missed the single-season rushing record set in 1984 by just nine yards. This is a huge deal. Look for him to try to run it up the gut again on the Packers, but if I had to bet, I’d put my money on “Discount Doublecheck” commercial star and sometime-quarterback Aaron Rogers at Lambeau Field, aka The Frozen Tundra, one of the hardest places for a visiting team to play.
Other games include the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins, a showcase of incredibly talented rookie quarterbacks. Personally, I enjoy watching the sidelines on this one, as the exuberant gum-chewing Pete Carroll takes on Mike Shanahan, a coach with a few Super Bowls and a few too many hours on the tanning bed under his belt. These two masterminds will provide some of the best play calling you’ll see in a matchup almost too close to call, but the Seahawks have won more tough games this year, and have a cuter coach (such a chick thing to say) so I’ve gotta go with Pete’s posse.
The Houston Texans vs. Cincinnati Bengals may have looked like a yawner a few weeks ago when the Texans were on the top of their game, but they’ve lost their last three of four games and have fallen from the one seed to the three seed. These seeds are not of the garden variety; they determine who your team plays during the playoffs and if you get to play at home, a huge advantage. The one and two seeds even get an extra week off to heal injuries and rest their weary bones, or date more model-actresses. The Bengals are a team on their way up but Arian Foster is one of the best running backs in the game (plus extremely easy on the eyes) so I like the Texans to win this one. Keep an eye on J.J. Watt, the best defensive player in the game (do not argue) as he will be in the face of the Bengals’ young quarterback like a Kardashian magazine cover. Post-pregnancy, of course!
Watching from the sidelines this weekend are the “top seeds” or the teams that get to rest because they have the best record. The Denver Broncos are riding an 11-game win streak into the playoffs and seem to be the most complete team on both sides of the ball, meaning they have Peyton Manning as their QB and a whole mess of tough guys on defense. However, the New England Patriots are close behind, are always monsters in the playoffs, and are buoyed by the return of their tight end (hee hee, she said tight end!) Rob Gronkowski, or “The Gronk” who was out for five weeks drinking and macking on Playboy models, oops, I mean with a broken arm.
On the NFC side, the Atlanta Falcons are the team to beat, although the San Francisco 49ers are hoping that this is their year. They came close last year, losing to the New York Giants in overtime in the NFC title game that would have sent them to the Super Bowl. But a mid-season QB change and a few signature wins send them into the playoffs feeling like they can recreate the Niners dynasty of old.
So how will it all end? We will know in a few short weeks, and if you haven’t started planning your Super Bowl party, food and wardrobe yet, you are already behind the curve. So sit back, cuddle up with your guy and enjoy this, the most wonderful time of the year!