Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hold for the party line

Pro sports playoffs are anti-climactic. If you're like me, you've spent the whole season following all 20, 30, 40 teams, and suddenly only about a quarter of them are left, and each week that number dwindles. In the NFL, it seems to go even faster — a blur of finality. Two weeks on now and we're left with four teams. Soon it will all be over and then … the Pro Bowl, an agnostic's kind of all-star game (definitely not what you were expecting at the end).

However, I tried to remain in the present and take pleasure in this weekend's action. Three of four underdog teams won in the divisional round. There now are no clear-cut favorites for NFL champion, unlike last year. I'm going to listen to the national sports radio guys tomorrow morning to see whom they're leaning toward. You could make a compelling case for each of the remaining four. Talking sports heads don't like to do too much work or stand apart from the cognoscenti, so it'll be fun to hear them squirm. I imagine many will glom onto Pittsburgh because they like big, simple classifications such as "No. 1 defense."

I won't go as far as to root for Baltimore against the Steelers next weekend — I don't really like the Ravens either. I'm just for any scenario that further confounds the pundits and bums out ESPN and NBC. That most likely will mean an Arizona appearance in the Super Bowl. Hey, it's anyone's trophy this year; I'll go with the Cards: An aging, multiply concussed Bible-thumper jumps off his funeral pyre to try to recapture a whiff of his former glory from a decade ago — how can you not like that?

No comments: