I, like many Browns fans, have this dreaded nightmare every season (the Browns season is usually just a nightmare in itself) – that both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens would not only both make the playoffs, but be the last two AFC teams standing. Which makes the AFC Championship game virtually unwatchable, as it is a guarantee now that one of the two teams that I detest with the most vigor will be going to the Super Bowl. Under normal circumstances, I am bothered by Pittsburgh’s or Baltimore’s lone occasional trips to the this game and the Super Bowl, because I suddenly become the fan of whom they are playing in the playoffs.
But now…what can I do? It is a game that leaves me no out, and certainly will not afford me the opportunity to be a happier person when it’s over. I get to be legitimately nervous that one of these groups of bozos (will it be the Steelers and Worthlessburger – so affectionately coined by many – or murderin’ Ray Lewis and the Ravens?) will once again walk away with a Lombardi Trophy before these new Browns are even able to sniff the big game, or the one before that for that matter…or the one before that. I cannot explain why I do not like these teams for many reasons other than I’ve essentially been programmed to. There are days when I can be nearly neutral about their existences, normally in the offseason, and then the season starts. Or better yet, the postseason. Then I remember why I reserve only my most treasured sports loathing for these two teams.
On one side of the coin, as disappointed as I am in the AFC game, I am doubly pumped for the NFC Championship Game. The Arizona Cardinals have been my unoffcial NFC team for a few years now, and when I dabbled in fantasy football for only a few seasons (it was an experimental trial period and I failed miserably – I’ll get back on that horse), Larry Fitzgerald was my guy. Probably why I lost a lot. While I have no qualms against the Philadelphia Eagles, I will most certainly be rooting for the Cards to make it to the Super Bowl. Think about that one for a second. And no matter what, the winner of the NFC crown will have to be my team by default when the Super Bowl rolls around. Sometimes I like to just watch a game without worrying who comes out victorious – like last year’s game. It obviously makes it more stressful, hoping one’s team pulls it out, and why I put myself – or anyone for that matter – through that is anyone’s guess. Keeps the adrenaline pumping and the thought that the 18 zillion hours you spent watching pregame coverage wasn’t just a waste of time, I suppose.
No matter what happens, I’ll be there Super Sunday, rooting for either the Cardinals or Eagles. Despite the inexplicable stress I’ll feel, I think it would be my duty as a sports fan to be watching, as if I would be doing myself, my future children, and others one day seeking my wise sports advice, a disservice. The AFC Championship Game is a nightmare, but I am sure I can one day – many days from now, most likely – look back upon this situation and laugh, saying:
“Yes son, there was a day when I had to witness a game against the Steelers and Ravens that would send the winner to the Super Bowl. It was a tough game to watch, but I powered through it and watched it anyway. But isn’t it great that the Browns have gone undefeated for two straight seasons and won four consecutive Super Bowls? Now run along on your hoverbike, you little scamp!”