Unabated to the QB, Week 8: On Loyalties

“What we call basic truths are simply the ones we discover after all the others.”

—Albert Camus (the official voice of Unabated to the Quarterback)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about loyalties — both loyalties in sports and across them.

This was an issue provoked by two entirely separate events. The first happened at the beginning of October, when on back-to-back nights Minnesota fans were treated to two huge victories at the Metrodome: the Vikings beat the Packers on Monday Night Football, followed by the Twins defeating the Tigers in a divisional tie-breaker.

Now, this forced me to consider something very simple and elemental that I had long suppressed/ignored when I thought about sports: Geographic loyalties carry across sports. Quite simply, the same people who rooted for the Vikings also rooted for the Twins. Don’t ask me why I didn’t consider this before; it’s fairly obvious when I think about it now.

But these twin victories in the Twin Cities bothered me, mainly because I’ve always disliked the Vikings and always kind of liked the Twins, first because they had Kirby Puckett, who let’s face it was about as likable a star player as the league had at the time (not to mention his fantastic name) and later as they became, to me, a likable group of overachievers that traded their best player and an overall awesome guy to my team for a woefully inadequate package of minor-leaguers.* It suddenly bothered me that all these Twins fans I felt happy for were also Vikings fans, who while long-suffering and conflicted about Favre and yadda yadda, were still Vikings fans.**

*Please please please repeat history with Joe Mauer.

**I can’t really tell you why I dislike the Vikings so much, although I imagine it dates back to the 1997 Wild Card playoff game between Minnesota and the Giants.

I found myself suddenly conflicted. I liked Twins’ fans and the Homer Hankies and going nuts in the Metrodome; but could I still root for them to beat the Yankees knowing full-well that while they cheered for the Vikings, Yankee fans backed my beloved Giants?

This had never caused any problems for me in the past. I had never rooted against the Mavericks because I disliked the Cowboys, or against the Falcons because of the Braves. I liked Barry Sanders and the Lions even as I disliked the Pistons, and I cheered for the Titans the same year I rooted against the Volunteers.

This issue reached its logical conclusion on Sunday, when for the first time in the World Series, I found myself actively pulling for one of the two hated sides. For the first time since 1996, I rooted for the Yankees, and I did so entirely because of what happened in a football game earlier that day. You see, Philadelphia was probably the one city whose fans I had always connected across sports. If you weren’t aware of this, the stadiums’ right-across-the-street proximity is a good reminder.* You should know by now that I dislike Philly fans immensely; they are one of the main reasons I didn’t even consider attending college there. And on Sunday, even though I despise the Yankees, I couldn’t stand to see those Philadelphians enjoy two landmark victories over my city in the same day.

*And for those of you about to point out that the Vikings and Twins play in the SAME STADIUM, well, touché.

The point of all this? I guess it’s that fandom can be a complicated issue, and that I’m doing my best to suppress what happened Sunday afternoon.

  • Jets Bash of the Week: Somebody wanna get Rex Ryan a two-point conversion chart? And are we officially allowed to criticize Mike Westhoff, even though he’s a nice guy?
  • Chiefs Plug of the Week: With Chris Chambers now in the picture, they can totally run off eight of nine to match my preseason prediction! Totally!
  • Congratulations Denver: You’re no longer the worst undefeated team ever.
  • C.C. Brown might be the worst safety in modern American history. CC Sabathia would have a better shot in the Giants’ secondary. I’d rather eat exclusively at CiCi’s pizza than watch this guy in the defensive backfield. I can’t come up with a third.
  • And if C.C. Brown is this bad, how bad is backup Aaron Rouse, who still hasn’t replaced him?
  • While the Giants play a Cover 2, C.C. Brown plays a Cover 0.
  • Kudos to Steve Spagnuolo and the Rams on their first and only win. I can only assume they were motivated by last week’s calling out. Now, please lose your next eight games, fire Spags, and let him come back and coach the Giants’ D.
  • This week’s calling out? Seriously, Arizona defense? I pick you up in fantasy for one week because you’re going against Jake Delhomme and you do that? Not only was this bad for my fantasy team, but it shows just how poorly Eli Manning is playing. He threw three INTs v. Arizona and Delhomme only tossed one?
  • Best under-.500 teams are still, in my mind, Miami and San Francisco.
  • You have to love the Cowboys’ hype machine. After a close loss to the Giants at home, Tony Romo was one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. After shredding the secondaries of the Falcons and Seahawks, Romo and Dallas are a team to be reckoned with. Please.
  • The Browns’ highest point output this season is 20, and they’ve been held to three twice, six twice, and nine once. Now, here’s the problem: The Browns are having an awful, awful season. They will win no more than three games. And they will enter 2010 without answering any of the questions they needed to answer before 2009. They have to decide between Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn, but, having traded away both Kellen Winslow, Jr. and Braylon Edwards, there’s nobody for those guys to throw to. Tom Brady couldn’t succeed in that offense. The Mangini hire was a bad idea at the time, and it’s been worse in execution.
  • Ridiculous prediction to make right now: En route to an appearance in the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens will upset Peyton Manning’s Colts in Indianapolis in the playoffs. You heard it here first.
  • SBCS Top Eight: New Orleans, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Denver, Philadelphia, New England, Dallas

Prior to the Week 9 Snap:

Last Week: 7-6

This Season: 43-57

Kansas City (+6.5) over JACKSONVILLE

KC can neutralize MJD enough to keep this within a TD.

Baltimore (-3) over CINCINNATI

Did you see that Ravens prediction? I like this team.

INDIANAPOLIS (-9) over Houston

It will take a few weeks for the Texans to acclimate themselves to life sans Owen Daniels.

ATLANTA (-10) over Washington

What’s the rule on picking the Redskins? Oh, never, never, never, never, never, never, never.

Green Bay (-10) over TAMPA BAY

Thought about the Bucs covering against a dejected Pack, but then I remembered Josh Freeman is starting. I wouldn’t pick Josh Freeman to cover this spread five years from now. What a reach that guy was.

CHICAGO (-3) over Arizona

I’m thinking this ends up a push. Still can’t read either of these teams.

Miami (+10.5) over NEW ENGLAND

Say what you will about the Dolphins: They’re tough to blow out.

NEW ORLEANS (-13.5) over Carolina

Prop bet: New Orleans DBs score more TDs than the Panthers wideouts.

Detroit (+10) over SEATTLE

Sure, why not?

Tennessee (+4) over SAN FRANCISCO

I expect the Niners to win, 13-10.

San Diego (+5) over NY GIANTS

Oh yeah, it’s full-out panic time. I think the G-Men win, but I don’t think it’s comfortable.

PHILADELPHIA (-3) over Dallas

Time for the Eagles to hit the NFC spotlight.

DENVER (+3) over Pittsburgh (outright)

In case you had forgotten that the Broncos were for real, and the Steelers are still a question mark. (I also needed to pick an underdog to win, right?)

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by John S on November 4, 2009 at 1:45 AM

    Kirby Puckett: The most likable guy ever to drag a woman into a bathroom and forcibly grope her!

    Also, nice Brian Regan shout-out on the Redskins pick.

    Reply

  2. I’d rather be trapped in an elevator with a C&C Music Factory album playing on repeat than witness C.C. Brown’s particular brand of defense again.

    I haven’t got a clue what Aaron Rouse’s jersey looks like, but am I the only one hoping it reads “A. Rouse”?

    Also, I took a cue from you and picked up the Card’s D and benched Dallas. Needless to say, I deserved the ass whooping I got.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Baishi on November 6, 2009 at 12:33 AM

    Who gets more yards in this game?

    Vincent Jackson with C.C. Brown at safety or Jacobs/Bradshaw going against the god awful SD run defense?

    Reply

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