We may as well put it out in the open. We all know how this NFL season is going to end: with a coronation party for the New England Awesomes* that makes the team feel vindicated, makes their fans happy and smug, and makes the rest of us sick.
Today’s alleged contest between the Awesomes* and the Miami Dolphins has just gone to halftime with the Awesomes* leading 42-7 (which may as well be 5,000,000-0). Tom Brady has thrown five (stat-padding, unnecessary) touchdowns. Basically the Patriots went into their kid brother’s room, depantsed him, tied the leg of his jeans around his neck, and flung him into the wall. And when he gets done crying they’ll probably crap on his head, just to completely ruin his psyche forever.
This is how football ended: not with a bang, but with the whimpering of millions of fans, all realizing at once that the season is pointless. People may complain about parity and mediocrity, but we’d all take 32 completely equal teams over this. All of us but the Boston fans, that is. I’m sure they’re as happy as Bellichek talking to his sideline cameraman. As happy as Brady bagging another supermodel (pre-paternity test, that is). As happy as a New Englander with clam chowda on his blubbery cheeks.
Pardon my bitterness, but I’m just realizing that my defending champion Colts, widely acknowledged second best team in the league, don’t have a chance. They’d have to play the best game of their lives and get five or ten really lucky breaks to win a game against the Awesomes*. Every fan of every team should be realizing this. Except for Dolphins and Rams fans – those teams would have to play the best game of their lives, get fifty or a hundred really lucky breaks, and probably kill Randy Moss to win.
The NFL off-season is a long one. We eagerly watch the draft, agonize over training camp holdouts, and put up with pre-season nothing games because we are all dying for an ounce of real NFL action. When it finally comes, every week is carefully enjoyed, like a long sip of aged scotch (or – if like me, you can’t stand scotch – that first bite of a crumbly slice of cherry pie; we are equal opportunity weak metaphorists here in the field office). Each game is to be savored. If someone calls me in the middle of a contest I don’t care about, interrupting one end-of-half kneeldown in a game between two 0-8 bottom-feeders, I still hit pause on the DVR. This is a seriously finite pleasure. I know it seems to drag on for an eternity to non-fans, but for the rest of us every Sunday afternoon and Monday night is a delicious sip from a rapidly draining cup. In a few weeks, in just one change of season, it will end. And the walk through the desert – the off-season, the spring and summer – will be so long and dry without it.
I take such pains with this analogy because I need you to understand that the Awesomes* are taking it away. That sound you hear today is the sound of millions of NFL fans, crying out in anguish. The season has just begun, but it’s already over. Crown their asses.