I know it seems laughable now, but there was once a time when my beloved Buffalo Bills were a perennial playoff contender.
Between the 1988 and 1999 seasons (basically my entire recall-able childhood), the Bills made the playoffs 10 times – reaching four consecutive Super Bowls and winning 11 playoff games during that span. That kind of extended run of excellence is relatively rare, so my fan expectations were raised to unreasonable levels when it came to playing football in January.
Since the dawn of the third millennium A.D., the Bills have been shut out of postseason play. I now know what it must be like to be a Detroit Lions fan.
When hope is lost and your team has played its last game, your next move is crucial. What team should you back when the playoffs begin?
I present to you three ground rules:
1.) Any team from your division is out. You detest these teams during the regular season and wish pestilence upon their coaches, so you have no business cheering for them once the playoffs start. That’s like cheating on your girlfriend with her über hot best friend – provided said best friend is tactlessly trying to set her up with other guys and constantly whispering in her ear what a drunk, degenerate, immature gorilla she is dating. It might feel good while the cheating’s hot and happening, but after it’s over you’ll feel like crying to an Air Supply album.
2.) Any team that has absolutely no shot to win a game is out. *Ahem* NFC West. You don’t want to be left without your team after the initial wild card weekend. What good is switching horses in midstream just to finish racing one week later? You should have known better. Now you do.
3.) Any team the national media has a not-so-subtle crush on / has created a bandwagon for / or has overexposed to the point of fatigue is also out. You want a true underdog, not a media-fabricated “true underdog story.”
Please choose wisely, and remember – regardless of which team you select – to savor these games, for in five weeks you’ve seen the last of football until September arrives.