Thursday, January 16, 2014

CHEATSHEET: Football is Somehow Almost Over

You're not a sports fan? That's cool, you've come to the right place. We'll give you just enough information to survive a playoff party, decide who to cheer for, when to be excited, and when to be outraged. Really, that's all we need to know in any given life situation.

The Super Bowl is Sunday, Feb 2, 2014.
The halftime show is locked in (Bruno Mars - and the CHILI PEPPERS!!!).
The location is set (New York City - er, at least the New Jersey-exposed-to-the-winter-elements section of it).

All we need now are the teams (much like a girl in her twenties who has her dream wedding all planned and just needs a willing guy).

But ENOUGH parentheticals! Cue the dating-game music and let's meet our championship contenders!

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

There baaack! The Super Bowl Losers' Curse cannot touch Captain-Coach Jim Harbaugh. My feelings for Jim Harbaugh are well documented in this space. He had a super-human season for my Indianapolis Colts during my impressionable youth. In fact, this year's playoffs QBs span about 20 years of my life (Jim Harbaugh circa 1994 took us to Peyton Manning in 1998 took us to Andrew Luck in the now). And, of course, Harbaugh was Andrew Luck's coach at Stanford. Everything comes full circle. YAY!

Every time I turn on my TV, I see Colin Kaepernick's beats. They're playing the hell out of that commercial, and with good reason, as it shows cold-as-ice Kaep getting off the bus surrounded by an angry Seattle-colored mob, which might be exactly what happens this weekend (tho, I always assumed Seattle people were too chill to mob?). Kaep is one of the league's rising stars, though some might say he's regressed this season (he was my fantasy QB, and I did indeed bench him one or twice in favor of Alex Smith for cripes sake). But it's hard to argue with him making the final four twice in two attempts. We should all be so regressive.

By the way - sometime in the 1990s THIS APPARENTLY HAPPENED(?!?)

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Russell Wilson has been in the NFL for two seasons now, and he's five-feet-ten of adorable. Spent some college minutes as a Wisconsin Badger, got drafted by the Texas Rangers baseball team, but entered the NFL draft as something of a long-shot (given his shortness). He lists one of his key NFL heroes as Drew Brees (another "short" quarterback), which makes him alright in my book. He was drafted by the Seahawks last year to backup high-dollar free-agent Matt Flynn - and then won the starting job outright before the season even started. Vintage Disney stuff. And here he is, one game away from the Super Bowl.

Defensive player Richard Sherman is one of the approximately two million Stanford players in the NFL at the moment. Harbaugh was his coach, but now...

Coach Pete Carroll was an NFL failure. He coached the New England Patriots several years ago, such that Sports Guy Bill Simmons nicknamed him "Coach Fredo" (GODFATHER joke). Pete went to USC, reinvented himself as a perennial winner, started a blood feud with Jim Harbaugh when they were both coaching college teams, and then fled NCAA allegations by accepting the job in Seattle (where his team has since enjoyed a series of drug test suspensions). Word on the street is that Coach Pete and Captain Harbaugh truly despise each other - which makes this game (the THIRD time these teams have played this season) all the more fun.

Substance allegations aside, I adore watching the Seahawks. I like how their brightly colored uniforms look in the rain. I like the silhouette and noise level of their stadium (which doubles as a soccer stadium that ALWAYS sells out). Seattle has some of the BEST sports fans in the world. If it were up to me, they'd be hosting an Olympics immediately.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Hello, nemesis. Tom Brady is one game away from the Super Bowl AGAIN. For the SIXTH (6th) time. He's married to the highest paid super model in the world. His house in California has a mote. He does ads for Uggs. There is nothing new here.

Except that, due to injuries and incarcerations, the Patriots are now a running team instead of a throwing team. That sneaked up on people. And it seems as though the league now goes out of its way to make him look hilarious. There are some truly amazing Tom Brady GIFs out there. (Note: As I was drafting this post, news broke that Tommy missed practice because he was sickly. Now I feel terrible, hope it wasn't something contagious that will spread to the entire team...?)

Don't forget about the Belichick - the Hoodie - the evil genius behind it all. Remember the hoodie code: When he wears the blue one, he's vulnerable. The red one, and the Pats have basically already lost. But the gray one - in the gray one he's damn near invincible. With all the stats people out there, I do NOT understand why this is even an issue, but he busted the blue hoodie out for the Colts last weekend. Or perhaps it was just hubris (yeah, Coach Chuck, I'll beat you even with the BLUE hoodie!).

I hate the Patriots in that way that I want them to lose, but I don't want them to go away forever. Ours is a Megamind/MetroMan relationship. When Brady/Belichick ceases to be a thing, I'll be nostalgic. I've missed a lot of games this season, and struggled to get into the story lines. We took a long vacation to foreign places, we sold our house, did a lot of apartment hunting, etc. I feel like I BARELY know what's going on. The end of the Manning/Brady era is coming, and I want to soak all the goodness out of it, but...

DENVER BRONCOS

As I said in the beginning, my alliances are well documented, and I'm a Peyton girl through and through. I care too much. I've spent all week building a pillow fort behind my couch from which to watch this game. Just thinking about it makes me feel like this.

SUMMARY

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
Sunday, January 19th - 3pm EST (CBS)

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, January 19th - 6:30pm EST (FOX)

Winners meet in the Super Bowl
Sunday, February 2nd - ~6pm EST (FOX)