Christmas and New Year’s have come and gone, which can only mean one thing: those holidays intended for amateurs have given way to a festive season of incomparable magnitude — the NFL Playoffs. Each year, football’s second season eclipses the overrated winter holidays in raucous celebration of watching freakishly large speedy men in tight pants battle for the right to play on our nation’s most hallowed holiday, Super Bowl Sunday.
The Playoffs? Yes, Jim -- we want to talk about the Playoffs.
To the neophyte, it may seem odd that millions of crazed pigskin fanatics shun the traditions of days past, such as caroling, egg nog, and donning gay apparel in favor of masking beer bellies under oversized jerseys of their favorite player(s) (who are often years, if not decades, their junior), washing down fatty hydrogenated snacks with several gallons of watered-down light beer, and yelling obscenities at a flat inanimate object in their living rooms at the top of their lungs. In addition to sharing indifference and even disdain toward yuletide cheer, this growing legion of initiates has something else in common — an unbridled desire to cheer, eat, drink, and dream their team on to the Promised Land on the first Sunday of February.
For many, the NFL post-season has replaced the idea of embracing the American Dream which, having decades worth of soggy dust blown away in a swirling din over the past ten years, has been revealed as nothing but an eroded myth with no happy ending. For some, it is the sole beacon of enlightenment in an otherwise bleak, empty sea of foreclosure, divorce, and a vanload of a half-dozen crying children who are crushed by the banishment of McDonalds Happy Meals. But make no mistake — there is no better escape from the drudgery of the bitter cold winter than vicariously living through our agile muscular heroes of the gridiron. NFL Playoff football is indeed the drug of choice for nearly all American sports junkies.
But why is this so? Allow me to explain…