Well, well, the last game of the season is finally upon us. The big Midwestern showdown between the Colts and the Bears. The latest spread I have says 6.5 for the Colts.
I have to say, I’ll be rooting for the Bears to win. Now, having grown up in Michigan and Minnesota, rooting for the Bears doesn’t exactly come naturally. It’s as bad as, say, rooting for Notre Dame or the Yankees, but it’s certainly not normal for me. But the way I figured it out was thinking about what jersey I’d want. I like Brian Urlacher’s athleticism and hustle, and he always comes off as a decent guy in interviews. I’ve had Thomas Jones on my fantasy team a couple times because he always goes later than he should. On the other side, there’s nobody on the Colts I’d be particularly interested in. I’d take a Cato June jersey just because he’s a Michigan guy, but that’s about it. So, I have a jersey interest.
The other thing, of course, is the Manning thing. I just don’t like him. He has the well-documented anti-clutch thing going back to his college days. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody roll over and play dead worse than Manning in that bowl game his senior year against Nebraska. Lots of people were screaming and yelling that he should have won the Heisman over Charles Woodson that year, but anybody who saw that game (except maybe some really partisan Tennessee fans) knew that the right choice had been made. I hate the way he’s omnipresent in ads despite never winning anything substantial until this year. I hate the way he comes off in interviews; it always seems like he’s calculated exactly what to say to maximize his PR value, every answer seems canned and he seems totally ungenuine. Robotic. Pete Sampras in cleats. I hate the way he threw his own teammates under the bus last year after they lost to Pittsburgh. I can’t stand the ridiculous expressions on his face when something doesn’t go well in football games, he just looks like a petulant six-year-old. And I get a kick out of him being Brady’s punching bag, at least until this year, and a kick out of him being his generation’s Marino. I’ll miss that if he wins (much like ESPN’s Eric Neel.)
So, while I’m no Bears fan, I’ll be rooting for Chicago, at least a little. And since the season outcome is already determined, I’m going to pick the Bears as well, just because I don’t want to be rooting against my own pick. I have to say, though, that I was much happier with the spread at seven, because Colts by one TD sounds pretty much about right. The AFC was clearly better, and most of the season I’ve said that I’d pick the AFC team in the Super Bowl. I think the Colts will win. But they just might not cover. I must say, I have a hard time picking a team that lost to the Texans (and looked horrible doing it) as Super Bowl champs.
If I’m the Bears, I hand off almost the entire first half, rotating Jones and Benson in and out to keep them fresh. Don’t worry about being down by a TD in the first half, just keep pounding away patiently. The Colts run D has looked good lately, but I think they can be ground down. Keep battering away, and when the Colts drop the eighth (or ninth) guy in the box, start running play-action on early downs. If the Bears can do that, they can win… or at least cover.
Or something. We’re having a big party, so I probably won’t even see that much of the game, but it’ll be fun nonetheless.
Mostly, I’ll miss football season when it’s over. Football’s offseason is just way too long.