Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Here We Are

In the aftermath of the Super Bowl, I have found myself gleaning from the leftovers: Minestrone Soup, my Aunt’s Guacamole, Banana Cake.  Bliss.
I had some conversations, though, which will stick out, simply because of what they say about how Americans view sports.  The first one came mostly from one of my friends, who seemed to be trying to convince me that I shouldn’t be a Packer fan. For as long as I’ve known him, I have never professed to be anything other than a Packer-backer.  But being from the same state as me, it can be tough to watch your friend’s team have much more success than your team.  Believe me, I went through it last year.  I will definitely go through it again, if the Vikings ever make a Super Bowl.
And I do feel bad for you guys.  The Twins have not won since ’91, which makes the Dome champion-less since that year, unless you count the Final Four in ’01.
The other conversation, however, I might have to agree with to some extent.  This friend, who is a large Association Football fan, was pointing out that playoffs are a bad format, because it doesn’t reveal who the best team over the course of an entire season is.  In the Premier League, he points out, every team plays every other team twice, and at the end the team in first is definitely better than all the other teams.  There is a certain amount of logic to that.  But in football that’s unrealistic.  They can’t play every other team twice, because that’s too many games.  The way I see it is this:  The teams that do the best in the first season get to play in the second season, then the team that does best in the second season wins.  The Packers were beyond a doubt the best team in the second season.  They went Four and Oh, while not playing any games at home.
Admittedly, there are a lot of ways they could have not even been to the second season, but all of these are based on rules that the football establishment have agreed upon, and most view it as a fair system.  I can only say that I will probably enjoy the next playoffs and Super Bowl that the Pack is not a part of a lot more while they’re happening.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
But I have to make some admissions for my history of getting really involved in championships where I don’t have a clear stake.  The 1996 World Series: Sorry, Braves, that I rooted against you.  What made me think it was a good idea to root for a team from a big market that had already won the most championships in Sports and was primed to establish a new dynasty and you really weren’t?  I should have pulled for you guys as really the only team in the South as a conservative, battling against the liberal capital of the world.  Same to you, 2001 St. Louis Rams…  Were you really that dominant that you had to lose to the Patriots for everyone to feel good?  It’s not like I didn’t root for the Broncos in ’98, the year after they beat my Packers. (I have no comment on the rumor that I jumped ship to the Vikings that season.)

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