BRONX, NY – This weekend the NFL playoffs enter the Divisional Round, where all the good teams with first round byes will seemingly beat the piss out of those four teams who scrapped and scraped their way through the Road Warrior Wild Card Weekend. This is also the weekend when Jerry Jones takes Mike McCarthy to his favorite Golden Corral in Ft. Worth for the all-you-can eat round-up buffet, to seal the deal in grease and carbs. But back to the games. It’s hard to find any reason to root for anyone in this godforsaken league, including your own team – amirite Jets fans? – but let’s look at the remaining teams and see who or what might be worth cheering for.
Minnesota Vikings. Let’s just get this blatant bit of homerism out of the way first, shall we? Pros: They’ve been lovable NFL losers since their inception. Aside from former moron GM Mike Lynn, who was instrumental in helping Dallas win their three Super Bowls in the ’90s, and their skin-crawling Brett Favre period, there’s just not a lot to hate about this team. No arch villains, no annoying blustery fan base, no championships… nothing. Yet they have been one of the most consistently good teams over the last 6 decades. Cons: They are going to lose eventually, so what’s the point? Also, they should be cursed for all eternity for playing football indoors in Minnesota. Verdict: Yes, by all means, pull for the Vikes. It’s more fun without the emotional investment.
San Francisco 49ers. I’m not wasting time here. Let’s get to it. Pros: Jimmy Garoppolo winning a Super Bowl will make Bill Belichick’s head explode and probably send Tom Brady on a Haagen Dazs bender. Cons: 49ers fans should get a lot worse press than they do. They are garbage people. Not sanitation workers, but humans made out of garbage. This team won enough with “the genius” Bill Walsh and deserves nothing but bad things for the next 100 years or so. Verdict: Nay! Only if the Pats were still in it.
Tennessee Titans. Just now is the stench of the Jeff Fisher era dissipating from Nashville. Pros: Derrick Henry is an awesome running back and A.J. Brown is a pretty entertaining young receiver. Ryan Tannehill? Um, OK. Also, they beat the Patriots! Cons: We liked them better as the Houston Oilers. Verdict: Sure, why not cheer for these guys?
Baltimore Ravens. One of the many lesson learned from the movie Wedding Crashers is this: “Crab cakes and football! That’s what Maryland does!” Pros: Lamar Jackson was easily the most electric player in the NFL this year and he’s a lead pipe cinch to be on the cover of Madden next year, so you should probably enjoy him before he gets both of his legs snapped in half. Cons: Ray Rice decked a woman and Ray Lewis probably killed a man. Is that history ancient enough? Also a Harbaugh is coach, but it’s not Jim, so not completely awful. Verdict: It’s close, but I’m a “no” on the Ravens.
Houston Texans. *sigh* Pros: Deshaun Watson is cool and DeAndre Hopkins seems like a good guy. As was pointed out here recently, Whitney Mercilus is a great name too. Cons: The team name is the Houston Texans! How dumb is that? Also, I am tired of stupid announcers fawning all over J.J. Watt. Bill O’Brien is not a good coach. Verdict: Nope.
Kansas City Chiefs. I don’t think Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have been firing on all cylinders since he injured his kneecap on that keeper. Pros: Hard not to like Mahomes and this offense. And the defense is finally playing well enough so that Mahomes doesn’t have to toss a touchdown on every single drive. Mecole Hardman is making everyone forget about Sammy Watkins… and we all need to forget about Sammy Watkins. Cons: The Chiefs winning it all would make Cam James deliriously happy, and do we really need that so soon after the Blues won the Stanley Cup? Verdict: Yes on the Chiefs. No on their tomahawk chop war cry what-have-you.
Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers. Look, I’m already running long here so let me just say… Verdict: F**k and NO, to both of these teams. Hate Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll, can’t stand those terrible (and constant) Aaron Rodgers State Farm commercials, the Lambeau Leap, and both teams’ fan bases. This game is for masochists only… so of course I’ll be watching.
Come back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz, who’s a Knicks fan AND works here, which may make him the biggest masochist of all.