Saturday, January 04, 2014

The (Almost Completely Un-) Informed Guide To the 2014 NFL Playoffs! (Nonsportsmanlike Conduct!)

Sweetie I SWEAR TO GOD this is an actual image that
comes up if you google "NFL Playoffs."*
*and if you add "Sexy" and page down a lot.
If you regularly read this blog, that means two things:

1. There is a 90% chance you are Andrew Leon, and
2. You know that this year I have not been very 'into' football.

I can't exactly explain why I haven't paid much attention to football this year, as the season started out with my being excited enough to sign up for not one, but TWO fantasy football leagues, leagues in which I lost so badly I am in danger of being demoted down to fantasy bowling by the Commissioners of those leagues, and to make it even worse I am the commissioner of those leagues!

God, I am so sick of being put down by The Man!  On the other hand, I do like being The Man.

This is all neither here nor there; it is somewhere off to the side, I believe, the point being that I haven't cared much for football this year, and yet this morning as I got dressed, I realized that it was the start of the NFL Playoffs, which technically are football, and so in honor of that I decided:

1.  I would wear my old Bruce Smith football jersey:

1A. I would realize only too late that that is a very unflattering shot,

2.  I would write about the NFL Playoffs!


3.  I would bring in the old Valentine's Day decoration I found in our garage:

That is the Love Iguana, and it was a decoration Sweetie bought for me back when we still bought holiday decorations instead of just haphazardly putting up whatever we had laying around ("Sure, I think it looks great if you decorate the tree with old Cool Ranch Doritos") and calling it a day because I want to get back to watching Firefly on Netflix, which I would totally be doing except that for the past four days the boys have been watching Pocahontas, Hercules, and The Emperor's New Groove in a continuous rotation on our living room television, and I would go down and watch Firefly on our old family room television except that Mr F insists that television be used to continuously play Pooh's Heffalump Halloween, and only that movie, over and over and over, which means I would have to watch Firefly on the television in our room only if I do that, Mr F will come in there and try to slide between the mattress and the box spring, where he likes to lay.

So I am writing about the NFL playoffs*

*in theory 

and because I am not all that into football this year, I have to try to make this fun and exciting for me, which means it'll be superfun and superexciting for you**

** that's how math works

so with that, let's dive right in by... um... finding out who is in the playoffs this year!

There are a total of 32 teams in the NFL, and only nearly 1/2 of them -- about 40% -- make the playoffs, which is how you can tell that TV money totally has more influence than things like quality of play the NFL is made up of high-caliber teams: much like Lake Wobegon, nearly every team in the NFL is above average, and many of them are good-looking.

None of them, though, are as good-looking as the good-lookingest team of all time, YOUR BUFFALO BILLS!  The Buffalo Bills, who last made the playoffs when Buffalo Bill Cody was alive, were named the best-looking team in the NFL by a study that (horrifyingly) was released just one day after the tenth anniversay of 9/11. TOO SOON.  In that study, female scientists unpinned their hair from the unflattering buns they wore, took off their nerdy Science Glasses, opened up their white lab coats just enough to show some lacy Science Bras underneath them and


Anyway: The study said that the Buffalo Bills were the best-looking NFL teams, as judged by facial symmetry, and as reported on by CBS News in a story which nailed the facts:

Which NFL team was deemed the most attractive? The Buffalo Bills ranked number one - yes, even including 92-year-old owner Ralph Wilson, and 59-year-old head coach Chain Gailey. "My wife will be shocked," Coach Gailey told the Journal.
Not least because the coach's name was Chan, not Chain.  Symmetry, 1; Journalism: 0.

Despite being the Platonic ideal of what football players should look like, the Buffalo Bills shockingly are not in the NFL Playoffs this year, which just proves that playoffs are not the best way to pick a champion for a sports league. Who wants an ugly team winning the Super Bowl?***

***Baltimore Ravens fans, that's who.

There are, though, 12 teams that somehow managed to get past their astoundingly asymmetrical faces

New England Patriots* Quarterback, Tom Brady

and make it to the post-season.  Isn't it about time that we learned who they are?

The teams are:

The Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots*, Seattle Seahawks, and Carolina Panthers.

Also, Kim Kardashian somehow managed to make the NFL playoffs.  That is what a good "Momager" can do for you!

Cue click-getting photo:

Wait, what was THAT? That was not a photo of Kim Kardashian, but a shot of Miley Cyrus! IT'S ALMOST AS IF I DID IT DELIBERATELY IN ORDER TO UP MY SEI but I totally wouldn't do that, Google, so please don't have me shot by your drones.

Here is the actual photo I SHOULD HAVE posted:

You can see how this post is going to go, right? If you're looking for actual football information, why did you go to my blog? You should have gone to ESPN or something.  Go there now.

Good! We got rid of the people I don't like.  The rest of you (Andrew Leon): time for some actual football information?*

*potentially. We'll see how this goes.

Here's a look at each team -- with their regular-season record, what I know about them, what an expert thinks about them, and because I am trying to make this fun for me, what sitcom wacky neighbor each team most resembles, plus my prediction for how far they'll go in the playoffs.

Let's go!

Kansas City Chiefs:  Record: 11-5:

What I Know About Them: I know that the Chiefs are coached by Andy Reid,

Not Wilford Brimley.
who this year some coworkers and I decided was one of only three men who could wear a moustache without looking like they also own a windowless van. (The others were Tom Selleck and some guy I can't remember.)

Andy Reid used to coach the Philadelphia Eagles, who fired him for not making the playoffs or something, and look at that! Instant Karma! The Chiefs ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS and the Eagles ARE ALSO IN THE PLAYOFFS BUT HAVE A WORSE RECORD THAN THE CHIEFS PROBABLY BECAUSE THE CHIEFS' DIVISION WASN'T AS TOUGH AS THE EAGLES' DIVISION WAS BUT LET'S NOT FOCUS ON THAT!  *whew* I am out of breath.

What The Experts Say About The Chiefs:  The blog "" has this to say:

I believe any sane Chiefs fan would concede that this season’s turnaround far exceeded everyone’s reasonable expectations. Are we done for this year? Most of the world seems to believe the answer to that question is yes. Popular opinion and expert analysis notswithstanding, I am less quick to dismiss the Chiefs and I am not just saying that because I’m a homer.

So there you have it: Everybody in the world, from experts to reg'lar folks, is dismissing the Chiefs, but a guy whose blog URL describes him as addicted to the team thinks otherwise.

What Sitcom Wacky Neighbor The Chiefs Most Resemble:  I'm going to go with Wilson, the guy who I think was in the Witness Protection Program on Home Improvement:

The reason being I don't know much about either of them, and nobody really gets to see them, do they? I never get to see the Chiefs, anyway.  Also, isn't there something just a bit weird about both of them? They seem to garner this respect -- the Chiefs were 9-0 at one point this season -- without anyone really being sure what they are doing or why we're even paying attention to them.

I guess what I'm saying is you should definitely spy on your neighbors more, because who knows what they're up to?

Prediction:  The Chiefs will lose by 15 in their first playoff game.

Carolina Panthers:  Record 12-4.

What I Know About Them: The Panthers are quarterbacked by Cam Newton, the first player to openly get paid to play college football, and one of the few Heisman winners to get the trophy after being accused of a felony.  Or at least one of the few that I know of.  Apparently, he is very good at football! So that other stuff doesn't matter.  USA! USA! USA!

What The Experts Say About Them: For fun, let's go back and look at what CBS Sports' experts said going into the 2013 season about Carolina:

They will be fun to watch. Newton will have a big year and help the Panthers put up a lot of points. But they also might be in a lot of shootouts. Even with that top pass rush they have too many questions in the back end. Unless they tighten up back there, look for the defense to give up a lot of points. In their division, where three quality passers play on the other teams, it's tough to imagine that unit being much improved. If they get to 8-8, it will be a good season.

According to, the Panthers outscored their opponents this year 366-241, an average margin of victory of 7.8 points, or more than a touchdown per game. They beat three teams by more than 20 points.  As for defense, the Panthers gave up the SECOND-FEWEST points in the league this year -- 241.

You know what's funny? I didn't know before I included that prediction that it would prove to be so colossally wrong. I just assumed that every expert's prediction about the NFL will always be colossally wrong, and it worked!

What Wacky Sitcom Neighbor This Team Is Like:  This is surprisingly hard, as I cannot for some reason think of many wacky sitcom neighbors who aren't Kramer, and this team is not Kramer.  Instead, I'm going to go with Ugly Naked Guy:

Because you never see him, you don't WANT to see him, but he plays a pivotal role for some reason and will probably haunt your nightmares.

My prediction:  They will make it to the NFC Championship, and lose.

Indianapolis Colts. Record: I don't know, my internet is acting weird and I can't get back to the page with that information.

What I Know About Them: A surprising amount: (A) They appear on Parks & Recreation and awful lot, (B) They have "Andrew Luck" as a quarterback, a guy who was much-heralded coming out of college but who I was skeptical about (C) Turns out Andrew Luck was superawesome and took the NFL by storm, playing way way way better than I thought he would, fulfilling the expectations of every expert ever and (D) or not so much: Luck was 20th in passer rating this year, 13th in yards passing, 15th in touchdowns, all not terrible stats but consider who beat him: Ryan Tannehill had more touchdowns, Josh McCown had a better passer rating (and Jake Locker almost as good), while Scott Tolzien, who was benched by the Packers, threw for more yards per game.  

Luck's average, so far, even for a second-year player. But no experts are going back and saying that! Why, I wonder?

What The Experts Say About The Colts: Something called SB Nation helpfully rounded up LOTS of experts:

Indianapolis will have to beat Kansas City again if it wants its first playoff win in the post-Peyton Manning era.  Over at CBS Sports, Pete Prisco believes they will indeed get that victory thanks to Andrew Luck and some home cooking. Of the other seven CBS analysts, only one chose the Chiefs to advance, favoring what they saw two weeks ago to repeat itself. Our experts here at SB Nation are split right down the middle, with three picking on either side of the fence. The former NFL player of the group, Stephen White, went with the Chiefs.
That's four experts saying the Chiefs win the Chiefs/Colts game today, and 10 saying the Colts, so if you put them all on a huge scale that would be really funny!  Also, it would be as accurate as any other prediction.

What Wacky Neighbor From A Sitcom Are They? You know what? I'm tired of this.  Let's switch it up:

What STAR WARS CHARACTER is this team?  

WAY more fun, isn't it?  So the Colts, if they were a Star Wars character, would be... The Jedi Played By Samuel L. Jackson:

because like him (Mace Windu? I'm not sure), the Colts are better known for other things: The Colts for Johnny Unitas and Peyton Manning and Samuel L. Jackson for his 1991 turn as "Louis Taggert" on Law & Order.

Also, like Mace Windu (78% sure that's his name), the Colts are going to play a decidedly minor role.

Prediction: They play the Chiefs, so they'll win by 15 but lose in Round 2.

Seattle Seahawks:  Record: 13-3.

What I Know About Them:  This year, teams complained that the Seahawks had an unfair advantage because their home crowd loved them so much that the noise bothered the other teams.  Also, those same Seattle fans booed their own team when the Cardinals beat them there this year, ending a 2-year home winning streak.  That is some HELPFUL FOOTBALL KNOWLEDGE.

Also in the Annals of Poor Sportsmanship (But Probably Accurate Analysis), a Washington politician said on Twitter that Arizona is a 'racist wasteland' after that loss.  You know what's so great about Twitter? That it's like an open bowl of M&Ms.  By which I mean, Sweetie likes to buy M&Ms, and puts them in a bowl.  I on the other hand am attempting to not die, and so I am trying to lose weight, which is made harder if you can just scoop up M&Ms as you walk through the kitchen.  So I put them in a covered dish and put them in a cupboard, and thereby reduce my M&M intake because it takes so many steps to eat them.

Twitter is like that open bowl: politicians can just dip their hands into it and scoop up gobs of fun, and so we know who thinks what and whose junk looks like what.  I love living in the future.

Also, he's pretty much right.  From AZ politicians accusing the Attorney General of racism for wanting to reduce sentences that disproportionately affect blacks to laws which target people expressly by race, even Arizonans think they are racist, according to this poll.  

What The Experts Say About Them: Peter King, who's life is destined to not make any impact on the world whatsoever -- seriously, if your job is to write about football for Sports Illustrated, when you die the world will be exactly the same as if you had never existed -- says the Seahawks will win their first game, next week, then the next game, and then lose the Super Bowl.  He apparently has reasons to back that up, but it's in video form and I never listen to videos from 'experts' because my brain can only take so much vapidity. 

What Star Wars Character The Seahawks Would Be:  This one's pretty obvious: Luke Skywalker.

Last year, the Seahawks were underdogs with a short, rookie QB who somehow improbably made it pretty far in the playoffs.  This year, they're the favorite, more experienced, more mature, dominating the league... and they're boring.

EXACTLY like Luke Skywalker, who got less interesting with each movie: as a whiny kid, Luke brags about nailing womp rats and challenges Han Solo and blows up the Death Star but as his training goes on, he becomes more competent and less interesting. By the time he rescued Han from Jabba, I'd lost interest in Luke, and that is how it goes with favorites and overdogs: Who cares? America is the land of the underdog: we were the underdog when we started, and we continued that until WWII, when we came into the war late but managed to win it all -- a rookie getting called off the bench in the 3rd quarter-- but since then, we've been a superpower, lording it over people and our entire population has become uninterested in our country, which is why Obama can implant chips into your brains using NSA targeting computers, chips that will let drones home in on you from anywhere in the world.  Signing up for Obamacare activates them. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Prediction:  They'll probably win it all.  Let's not even say probably. Seattle's gonna win.  Luke won, right? He did. It was boring, but he did.

GOD I AM GETTING BORED. Are you?  Let's wrap this up with some quick thoughts:

Cincinnati Bengals: What, exactly, is "Cincinnati Chili?" I tried to make it once; I think it involved spaghetti. I'd look it up but I'm trying to wrap this up.  The Bengals are the team I'm going to root for, as they're the underdogs.  They'd be whoever is going to be the young jedi in Episode VII, because you know there's going to be a young Jedi: every sci-fi or fantasy story needs a newbie, idiot, or outsider to whom characters can explain stuff: that person is a stand-in for the reader/viewer.  

New England Patriots*: God, how I hate them.  Cheaters.  They'd be Grand Moff Tarkin: someone who thinks they're in charge but they're not and everyone hates them and they lose, but then marry supermodels who, entertainingly enough, make fun of their husband's teammates.  Next time you say "It'd be great to marry a supermodel," think about that. Also, don't say it out loud, or Sweetie will hear you and get mad.

Tom Brady got to marry this. So sometimes cheaters DO win.
New Orleans Saints: You know what? I have almost no opinion about this team. Perhaps all my previous strong opinions (They cheated to win their Super Bowl, Drew Brees needs to not hold out for money, they sure are loveable after Hurricane Katrina, etc.) have worn down my batteries? The Saints are R2-D2: competent beyond all reason, but can you root for them? You cannot.  He is a droid.  Droids are smartphones with legs.  He doesn't even have a personality.  You might as well root for a toaster.  Speaking of which, I hate my toaster. I cannot adjust it. AT ALL. My toast is undercooked or overcooked but never close to edible.

Also, I stand by my prediction that R2 is going to be revealed as the first droid Jedi.  I want the makers of Episode VII to do that just to shut up the people who complain about Jar Jar and ewoks. Things can always get worse, guys. 

The Green Bay Packers:  Let me just reiterate that Packer fans are idiots, and let me add to that that they are probably homophobic.  Here is why:

This week, rumors began spreading that Aaron Rodgers is gay.  Which: so what? Also, why is that anyone's business?  Outing people is ONLY okay if those people are anti-gay themselves, which I've never heard Aaron Rodgers is.  There's lots of reasons to dislike Aaron Rodgers, as he seems to be a smug, self-centered, chip-on-his-shoulder jerk, but none of those have any bearing on whether he is gay or whether anyone should know if he is or not.

But after that news came out, Green Bay nearly failed to sell out a home playoff game and the game was almost blacked out in Green Bay.  That's right: Green Bay Packer fans, who have a TWENTY YEAR waiting list for season tickets and who have sat through "ice bowls" to watch playoff games and who are known for their loyalty to their team failed to sell out a home playoff game.  

And although the game did sell out, it wasn't that 20-year list of fans who bought them: corporations pitched in to buy the tickets to make sure the game was televised

There is simply no reason I can think of that Green Bay didn't sell out the game to fans.  The NFL has not blacked out a game, period, in 11 years.  ELEVEN YEARS.  It's not the cold -- Wisconsinites are used to that -- it's not the odds being against them (ditto), it's not anything that I can think of, other than that in the same week, the Packers made the playoffs and there were rumors that their QB was gay.

Green Bay has already gotten a reputation for being racist, making it difficult to get African-American players to go or stay there.  Now it's anti-gay, too, which may be perfectly fine with the NFL but is another reason to root against Green Bay, which has the worst fans in the entire universe.  

I'm not going to let the Packers be a part of the Star Wars universe.  They can be the guy who loudly proclaims that Star Wars was based on some Japanese movie and who everybody wishes would shut up.

But I hope Aaron Rodgers throws for 4,000 yards a game, wins a Super Bowl, and marries his boyfriend on the field after the game, and I hope Packer fans choke on their own vomit watching it.

The Philadelphia Eagles: continue to employ dog-killer Michael Vick and so I don't want to talk about them.

The San Francisco 49ers: apparently still exist. I have heard zero about them for like, 10 weeks. If not longer. They made news in Wisconsin this week, though: their quarterback, Colin Kaepernick (all spellings approximate) grew up here, and so a bunch of his relatives plan on rooting for the 49ers at the game. 

They'll be the only ones in the stands, I bet. 

Denver Broncos:  They have Peyton Manning, who this year set records for touchdowns, yards thrown, and most panes of glass run through in the fastest time:

Peyton Manning, though, is overrated, which is hard to say about a guy who's had the success he's had, but Manning in his entire career has won exactly one championship, and that was against a Bears team quarterbacked by Rex Grossman, and Grossman was a guy who once admitted on TV that he hadn't really tried in a game because he wanted to go out partying that night.

So don't bet on Peyton.  If the Broncos were a Star Wars character, they'd be Qui Gon Jinn, someone you think is going to be superawesome but then he gets cut in half early on and you're like What? Unless you knew he was going to die because even though you didn't read reviews of the movie you read an article about the score to the movie and in the article it says one section is called The Death Of Qui Gon.  Thanks for that, Entertainment Weekly.

So where did I end up on predictions? God, I don't know. It's lunch and I'm hungry.  Let's say the Super Bowl is the Seahawks beating the Bengals.

If you press the button he will sing a song in which he urges the ladies to "Do The Pee Wee Herman."
I don't know what that is but it sounds gross.

Andrew Leon doesn't just read my blog, he writes awesome books.  Check out his latest, "Shadow Spinner," about a boy and his mom and dad.  Not creepy enough for you? What if I mentioned that it's a supernatural story and the villain is The Man With No Eyes? Yeah, I thought so.  Buy it on Amazon by clicking here!


Rusty Carl said...

I may not read this blog. But I do still post to it on occasion. Thanks for the predictions. I'll note them for my time travel epic that requires me noting football predictions.

Briane P said...

I said there's only a 90% chance you are Andrew Leon; but, have you checked to make sure you are not?

Time travel epic, eh? I love time travel stories.

Andrew Leon said...

But you're also saying is that there's a 10% chance that I'm -not- Andrew Leon... I don't know how I feel about that. I've thought all this time that I was Andrew Leon but, now, there's a chance that I'm not. How do I find out? Is there, like, a testing center somewhere?

I think there's a story in there somewhere, but I'm not going to look for it, right now.

I was completely uninterested in the football stuff (the actual football stuff) until you got to the Star Wars part. If everyone made football into Star Wars, I might want to watch it.
But I don't agree about the Saints and R2. I mean, R2 is likable, even lovable, but the Saints... I didn't even like them when I lived in LA.

Briane P said...

I'm not sure R2 is likeable.

The more I think about it, the more I DON'T like him. Which is a lot like the Saints.

I think there might be an even greater than 10% chance you are not Andrew Leon. If you stuck out a whole football post? I'd get tested, right away.

Your right. There is a story there. Like a Philip K. Dick story: Find Out Who You Are.

Andrew Leon said...

Oh, I like R2. In fact, R2 is almost universally loved.
Just saying.

I don't think there is anywhere that has my DNA on file, but I have been fingerprinted on numerous occasions (because of teaching), so that's probably as close as I'll be able to get to finding out the truth.

Pat Dilloway said...

Well you were right that the Chiefs lost, though apparently they squandered a huge lead.

Of course Rodgers is gay; I mean have you seen those commercials where he's snuggling with those fat Bears fans. The prosecution rests!

I have no idea who's going to win, nor do I care since there's no more fantasy football. All I know is if I'd played Carolina's defense in Week 16 and this one receiver on Minnesota I'd have totally beaten Rusty's team to win 5th place.

Pat Dilloway said...

Oh yeah I was going to say people like R2D2 because if we could actually understand what he's saying he'd be a smartass who also despite his size and limitations is brave and capable.

Pat Dilloway said...

One more thing: besides having dogkiller Vick the Eagles also employ noted racist Riley Cooper. Stay classy Philly!

Margo Dill said...

I'm not Andrew Leon either & I have to admit that once I saw you were going to tell me about every team in the playoffs, I looked at the time on my computer and thought--I need to get to bed, so I scrolled down here to the comments. But I wanted to say that your post reminded me of the commercials during the Super Bowl-except that I think Kim Kardashian should have been holding a bag of Doritos, Miley Cyrus a can of Pepsi, and the scientist chick should have a GO DADDY logo on her labcoat. :)

Briane P said...

Margo: You have a bright future in advertising, and as soon as my corporate masters... I mean sponsors... get around to paying me for that stuff, those things will be photoshopped in.

PT, and Andrew:

Spot on with the Philly stuff, PT. As for R2, I don't see it. I mean, he's fine and all but people love him way out of proportion to how much they should, and for some reason Star Wars fans have never gotten upset with R2 the way they got upset with everything else.

I mean, at one point, R2 FLIES. Seriously?