Regular season football is done for another season. Glad as I am to see the Minnesota Vikings in the postseason, knowing the regular season is done for yet another year makes me a little sad because there’s a very long football dry-spell ahead. I may have to soothe my football withdrawal by sleeping in my Helga horns come February.
But the end of the regular season has its consolations as well. Other than the obvious, that with the playoffs under way this weekend we’re building toward the biggest game of the year, I have the satisfaction of no longer having to sell out for the sake of my team.
During the end of the regular season I was watching the NFC standings with the same attention normally given to severe weather bulletins during a tornado watch because the Vikings’ late-season hiccup meant they weren’t the only factor in where they ranked. Until their loss to Arizona in week 13 the Vikings looked like a lock for the number 2 seed, and their subsequent losses to Carolina and Chicago didn’t do much to help shore up their standing. This left the Vikings in need of a little help from around the league, and me feeling smarmy, cheering for teams I didn’t like.
For several completely arbitrary reasons and one valid one, I don’t like the Dallas Cowboys. My valid reason for not liking them goes back to the Herschel Walker trade in 1989 (I liked Jesse Solomon and didn’t like the Vikings trading him for a one-hit wonder) and they haven’t done much to win me over since then. So you can imagine just how much I loved cheering for them to beat the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday so the Vikings could reclaim the number 2 seed spot, guaranteeing a first week bye and home field advantage for their first playoff game.
I don’t like cheering for teams I don’t like, it makes me feel disingenuous and a little dirty. And I really don’t like it when my team is in a situation where their standing is based as much on whether another team wins or loses as much as on their own effort. But, with close losses to the Pittsburg Steelers and the Chicago Bears, the Vikings had lost the ability to be the master of their own destiny and I was willing to part with my fan integrity for the greater good.
Taken singly, there are plenty of good players on the Dallas Cowboys’ team worth cheering for so I tried to focus on that while I watched them thrash the Eagles, twice. Felix Jones, Marion Barber, Miles Austin, Tony Romo, and Jason Witten are all fun to watch. Granted, I think they’d be more fun to watch if they weren’t Cowboys, but some things can’t be helped.
Not that the Dallas Cowboys noticed the miniscule disturbance in the force that was me cheering for them, but that train has sailed. No more opportunistic cheering for sake of ranking and home field advantage…at least not for another year. Come next Sunday I can go back to just cheering for the Vikings, and life will be back to the way it is supposed to be.
*This piece is also posted at http://www.vikingsmix.com under my alter-ego Skol Girl. Vikingsmix.com has Vikings news and blogs, true purple and gold fans will want to check it out.