I am going to get it out of the way. I don’t have a favorite NFL team.
I know that in today’s culture that’s some kind of sacrilege, but outside of fantasy, I have a hard time following the NFL during the regular season. Something about it never really clicked with me.
Part of the problem is that I grew up in L.A. When I was a kid the Rams and the Raiders were still playing in the city, but they were both awful. The Raiders will still trying to make Todd Marinovich something, and the Rams, well I have no idea who was on the Rams.
The point being that by the time I wanted to start liking pro football both of those teams were gone. The Raiders back to Oakland, and the Rams to St. Louis. This gave me the freedom to pick whatever team I wanted.
A lot of kids in Los Angeles usually went one of two ways. They all became 49ers fans or Green Bay fans. I found this to be disingenuous. They were just picking the best teams. Even at nine, I couldn’t tolerate a fair-weather fan. (My brother was the king of these. His favorite teams in the mid 90s were the 49ers, Chicago Bulls and Bret the Hitman Heart. If my family had been into baseball, he probably would have ended up an obnoxious Yankee fan.)
So when I finally picked a team, it only made sense that I would make my decision for the dumbest reason ever.
My favorite movie at the time was “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” (I was nine, give me a break), and that movie stared the one, the only, the incomparable Dan Marino.
Overnight I was a Dolphins fan.
This led to a rough couple of years. I just couldn’t understand why the Dolphins couldn’t patch together a running game. First there was the Karim Abdul-Jabbar experiment, and then for some reason they signed Lawrence Phillips. (Besides being arrested numerous times for all kinds of horrible things. Phillips will be best remembered for driving his car into three teenagers on an L.A. beach after a heated flag-football game.) Then there was the disastrous 62-7 play
off loss to the Jaguars that led to Marino’s retirement and Jimmy Johnson’s firing.
I kept up with the Dolphins for another year or two. I was sort of attached to Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor at that point, but without Marino the magic was gone. They had a couple of good runs with Jay Fiedler, but he wasn’t Marino. (In fact he wasn’t even Jim Miller, I would’ve rooted for Jim Miller.)
I was officially an NFL orphan. I tried latching on to teams, but nothing stuck. I found myself gravitating more to players than teams. I was a huge Peyton Manning fan for awhile, but then he won a Super Bowl. I loved Priest Holmes, but then his neck exploded. The only time I was really rooting for a team was during the Patriots 2006 run. I wanted to see a 19-0 team for two reasons. It would be cool, and I hate Mercury Morris and his stupid champagne.
The point of all this is that I feel like I am missing something. People look forward to Sundays in the fall, and Monday night football is a big deal. To me, they are just days. I like football, I really do, but because I don’t have a team it’s a passing interest. I feel like a kid at recess with a broken arm. Everybody’s having fun, and I have to watch.
I think there’s a certain age where it becomes impossible to start liking a new team. Your brain is occupied with just so many other things that it doesn’t have room for the 53 man Houston Texans roster.
So, I guess I’ll just keep trying. People will say, “how ’bout them Eagles?” And I will smile and nod and hope they don’t ask anything else. Maybe someday I’ll find a team. Maybe someday I’ll have laundry to root for, but until then, go Adrian Peterson. We’ve got a tough matchup in fantasy this week, and I desperately need a win.