Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Super Dilemma

There's one tough thing about this SUPER SHOWDOWN: I don't hate the Bears. This poses a significant problem for my playoff outlook.

See, I don't like the Chiefs and their fans. I loathe Baltimore for several reasons. First, I didn't have such a great time as an intern in the city one summer. Second, I don't like it when alleged double-stabbing murderers get to continue to play on Sundays. Third, well, they just won't get over the Colts' departure. It's been 23 years, people! Of course, I absolutely with every passionate fiber of my being, hate, HATE the New England Patriots. Their dynastic glory came at the expense of my beloved Colts, and beating them two weeks ago was definitely one of the high points of my life as a sports fan. Burn in hell, Tom Brady. And Bill Belichick. I know you're enjoying your three Super Bowl rings...but doesn't life seem empty without a Super Bowl berth for the second year in a row?

These taunts, these deep-seeded feelings of contempt, don't exist for the Chicago Bears. They never have. I grew up in AFC country, rooting for the Colts and Bengals. They played an NFC team every once in a while, but it wasn't as important as an AFC game. The only time a game between the NFC and AFC is really important is the Super Bowl. To be honest, the scenarios in which the Bears and Colts would meet up in the grandest game of them all were unlikely at best.

Yet here we are, just days away from the game that matters. I can't hate the Bears. They're Walter Payton. Super Bowl Shuffle. Ditka. Da Bears. Heck, my favorite QB of all time, Jim Harbaugh, played for Chicago before coming to Indy. The Windy City is just right down the street. Well, kind of.

Krildog is a major Bears fan, and I don't like to root against his team on Sundays. I mean, the Bears are unbearable to watch most Sundays, thanks to their often lackluster offense. Their defense sure is fun to watch, though. I even pulled for Brett Favre as a kid, and considered the Packers my favorite NFC team. That should mean I hate the Bears, right? RIGHT?

Still, I don't. I can't work up the vitriol and hellacious anger that resonates through a Colts-Patriots game. You know, making jokes about Tom Brady and Belichick is fun. Yelling at the freaking Patriots is fun. It's the well of inexplicable emotions usually reserved for teams like the Yankees, the Detroit Red Wings, the L.A. Lakers, and Duke. I don't have those kinds of feelings toward the Bears.

This puts me in quite a terrible position for the biggest game in Indianapolis Colts history. Or at least the second biggest game in Indianapolis Colts history...that AFC Championship game holds the title of most important for now. If the Bears hadn't sucked for so many years, and been so inept, perhaps I'd spit on them, burn their flag, or urinate on a misappropriated orange Brian Urlacher jersey.

I have to hate Chicago the way I wish the Jacksonville Jaguars would spontaneously combust and pour brandy on themselves to put the fires out. Or the way I wish the Patriots and Ravens would meet in a dark alley some night and kill one another. Or the way I wished J.J. Redick would break his freaking limp wrist while chucking his 40th jump shot of the game.

This is how I must hate the Chicago Bears, at least for one week.

At least it's easy to root for Peyton Manning. I've been just as frustrated as anybody with his play sometimes, his motions and gesticulations at the line of scrimmage. His seemingly endless quest for perfection. He exorcised a major demon by slaying New England. My only fear is that by defeating that beast, he's satisfied.

I surely hope not.

There's a Super Bowl to win, a big game on the national stage for him to prove to everyone once and for all that he's not a choke artist. Heck, he could even have a terrible game, still win, and be regarded up there with the football legends. You know how everyone's always sucking off Roethlisberger for getting Pittsburgh the championship last year? Take a look at his numbers, and they were horrible. He was horrible in that game. It doesn't matter though...he won. I'd like to see Peyton throw for 300 yards and four touchdowns to give everyone that emphatic "screw yourself" middle finger. I'd like to see him cut loose in the postgame interview, setting aside "I'm going to Disney World" in favor of "I'm going to hunt down and kill every sonuvabitch who every made fun of my laser, rocket arm."

That's not Peyton's style. And I don't think he'll put up huge numbers against the Bears. Probably decent numbers, but nothing mind-boggling. I expect it to be a great game.

Oh, but what happens if Peyton wins this one?'d be kind of like the end of Return of the Jedi. Like Anakin Skywalker, he will have redeemed himself. And no one could take it away from him. He'd be up there in the Pantheon of Football Heroes. We'd get to see more endorsements, more MasterCard commercials. I know we're all looking forward to that. Manning can't help it if he's the most marketable figure in the NFL. I just hope the Sprint people are able to come up with another great commercial in the vein of his "porn-stache" one. Just using the term "laser, rocket arm" gives me a chuckle. Yes, that's why I used it again.

The Colts are easy to root for, and so is the city of Indianapolis. Unless you live in Boston, and are still in denial about the outcome of the AFC Title Game, you kinda hafta admire the Colts, at least a little. They win with class, consistently, and don't talk or taunt. They're as polite as the city they represent. Heck, even Marvin Harrison came off as a nice guy during his deer-in-the-headlights Media Day session.

Under this shroud of niceties, lies a football team desperate to prove it's one of the NFL's classiest franchises. Successful in the regular season, no doubt. But playoff harmony has eluded the Colts, who've watched the Steelers and Patriots beat them, only to win the Big Game. But they've played some smashmouth football in these playoffs, and the defense, once clueless, seems to be getting it. Gee, it only took a whole season! I'm as passionate about the Colts as pretty much anything in my life. That's why I make these silly pictures, and write long diatribes about them.

Rooting for the Colts is easy.

Rooting against the Bears is hard...

There...that's much easier.

I just have to imagine the person I hate the most in a Bears uniform.

Yeah, it would look something like that.

I know that's a nightmare and a cheap shot, Krildog.

In fact, it gives me the chills and I'll probably get the night terrors for just thinking of it.

I mean, if you were to stick, I don't know, Ray Lewis in a Colts uniform, well...that would be very upsetting.

I needed this, I know you understand as a passionate fan. To prove I'm still your's a much more flattering shot.

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