Monday, January 01, 2007
There is an old saying among lawyers that, if you have a weak spot, you bring it up first before your opponent has a chance to bring it up. That way, you get to deal with the weakness on your own terms, and blunt your opponent's attack. Kid Bling's post demonstrates that he knows as much about law as I do about video games. That being said, anyone who thought I would let this momentus occasion pass with only a Bling post to commemorate it is crazy. We're going to do this the right way.
There, really, is only one thing that sports teams wish for. All season long, the silent mantra in the heads and hearts of every true athelete, regardless of the particular sport, is this: let us be in control of our own destiny. See, nothing sucks worse than to be in the position of Boise State: they did everything right, won all their games, and yet, despite being one of only two undefeated teams in the top 20, Boise won't get to play for the national title. Why? Because the teams they beat weren't good enough (a point I disagree with, but let's move on). This is every athelete's worst nightmare: not being in control of his or her own fate.
And the ultimate, final expression of the mantra "let us be in control of our own destiny" is this simple, playoff rhyme: "win and in." Sweeter words have scarcely been uttered by a pro player. Win and in means, quite simply, that to get in the playoffs, a team need only do what it sets out to do every game: win the game. Their destiny is, indeed, in their hands. Win and in.
But, the plot gets better: win and in, at home. Yes, right in front of the hometown fans, the people who pay your salaries, the faithful masses who brave (for example) bitter cold and fierce winds to see you play. Win and in, at home, in a sport where the home-field advantage really exists? Now that's something pro players dream about since they are kids.
Or, how about this: Win and in, at home, in a sport where the home-field advantage really exists, against a team that really isn't very good? I mean, at this point, the result must almost be a foregone conclusion, right? Win and in, at home, in a sport where the home-field advantage really exists, against a team which has been humiliated several times this season, and will finish with a losing record? Would anyone (except home-town fans who want to celebrate a whoopin') actually buy tickets to see such a game? A game so predictable it would not be broadcast except in the local markets of the two teams involved? One could not become a pro athelete without hoping for such a game.
But, as generic announcers like to say, that's why they play the games, rather than just predict them. For the "win and in, at home, in a sport where the home-field advantage really exists, against a really bad opponent" team, in this case, was the Denver Bronkeys (Donkos?). And Denver reached back, back, into the not-so-distant past, and took a page from its own playbook, circa 1985-1995. And, as everyone knows, there is only one page in that playbook, and only one play on that page. And anyone who has every tried to swallow a mouthful of partially-chewed steak will be familiar with that play, and with the wheezing, gasping, sputtering, choking sound that accompanies that play.
Now, detractors may point out that the Donkos shouldn't have been in this position in the first place. They were well on their way to losing to the Bungles, except that the Bungles apparently read from the same playbook as the Donkos, and managed to Bungle a play so routine that sometimes, telecasts don't even show it. And if they had lost to the Bungles, as they deserved to (based on their playing), this game wouldn't mean anything. Indeed, no AFC game on New Year's Eve would have meant anything, because the playoffs would have been cemented. But, the Bronkeys were the receipients of a gift, wrapped in tiger-striped paper. And apparently, like so many people out there nowadays, the Bronkeys believe in regifting. Or, call it synchronized choking.
I'm not going to spend any time in this post bragging about the Chiefs, or reminding everyone that certain contributors to this Blog have spent a lot of time this season telling us how bad the Chiefs are and how good the Bronkeys are. The Chiefs, truth be told, aren't that good. There is a high likelihood that their season will last only one more week. But that's not the point here. The point, friends, is simply this. One loss, Bronkeys-style, has Kid Bling ranting and raving and steaming about what his beloved Bronkeys have done. Pissed off. And rightfully so. And maybe now, Kid Bling is equipped to understand how, after being burned in this same manner (and, frankly, burned worse) about 8 times, I swore off the Bronkeys. Players change, coaches change, stadiums come and go, but the simple fact is that the ghost of choking Elway hangs over the Bronkeys like a cabbage fart in a New Year's Eve party. They are still the same team, the same as they always were and always will be. This, friends, is part of the Bronkeys game plan, as inescapable as a Jake Plummer bootleg (which we won't be seeing anymore) or a Bill Romanowski personal foul penalty. Either get used to it, or find yourselves a team that wins when it's supposed to.
Posted by Ben Patrick at 12:45 PM