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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Football rivalries, is there such a thing?

This discussion was prompted by a question from a football-neophyte:

"Do all Pats fans hate the Steelers as much as you?”

So we asked, “We're inundated with the idea of a rivalry in baseball, why doesn't anyone ever talk about it in football?”

And away we go!

Beth: I think they talk about with the Pack and the Vikes. And, uh...hmm. Other than that, I'm not sure.

Personally, it's hard to pick whether I dislike the Colts or the Steelers more. I think I *fear* the Steelers more. I also have unpleasant encounters with Steelers fandom, but I haven't, to my knowledge, ever really interacted with a Colts fan.

Oh, wait. Last year on opening day, I did. But after a couple of volleys of trash-talk, he didn't say much.

So I'd have to say I dislike the Steelers more.

And I DO dislike them. Very, very much. But I don't HATE them the way I hate the Yankees. That's it's own special kind of hate.

As for why there are more baseball rivalries, there are more games. Each team has to play its division opponents 19 times in every regular season. The Patriots play each team in its division one time, and then as for the rest of the league, they rarely ever meet them in the regular season at all. The opponents change from year to year. There isn't a lot of time to get good and riled up together the way there is in baseball.

The other thing that creates a rivalry is for two places to have ire for one another before there's even a sport there. Like Boston and New York--we've had issues since the pilgrims.

Green Bay and Minnesota have that geographical thing going on--and Green Bay doesn't have a baseball team. These are also two highly cold-weather, hard-nosed, football-inclined states. They also regularly contend for the same division. One team has won several championships, while the other has made it to the mountaintop and failed. These may be general ingredients in any rivalry.

As for Boston or New York, football can't get a word in edgewise on baseball, just because baseball's been around longer, and we're two historically aware, intellectual cities.

On principle, I dislike the Jets, but in my personal recollection, what have they ever done to us?

I SHOULD dislike the NY football Giants because that's the football team most Yankees fans follow, but whatever. They're in the NFC.

Meredith: Speaking of rivalries, I think the reason rivalries never stay as strong in football are because teams don't stay good for long enough. For example, ask older Cowboys fans and they'll tell you that the Redskins are their biggest rival. However, both teams have been pretty bad for a while now, so the "rivalry" barely exists. Ask anyone in Philadelphia, and they'll tell you that "Dallas Sucks." Toddlers in Philly learn to say that immediately following "mommy" and "daddy." But Dallas has been a pretty terrible team for a while, so on their end, it isn't much of a rivalry anymore. When a team goes 5-11 for several years, rivalries die because...well...if you know you can't beat your rival, what is the point in having one?

Of course, the Eagles could go 0-16 for a decade and Philadelphians would still hate the Cowboys and their fans with a white hot hate. It goes back to the days of Tom Landry and the very cocky nickname, "America's Team." There was the player strike of 1987. Philly, a union city, had a bunch of replacement players when they played the Cowboys at the beginning of their season, and the Cowboys had Danny White, Tony Dorsett, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Randy White (three of whom I've met for work related purposes, by the way, and fought through the bile that was forcing its way up my throat as I spoke to them), all of whom broke rank immediately after the strike began. So obviously the Cowboys would win. But Tom Landry had a healthy lead at the half and put all of his star players in the game to stop a late Eagles drive that wouldn't have mattered anyway. Buddy Ryan, the Eagles coach, was pissed off and vowed revenge. A couple weeks later, when all of the real players had returned, they met in Philly. The Birds had a 10 point lead in the final minute and the great Randall Cunningham took a knee twice before faking a knee and throwing a long pass that lead to a penalty and eventually, a TD. To Cowboys fans, it was the ultimate insult. To Eagles fans, it was Christmas. Finally, someone had told "America's Team" to shove it. Then, of course, there was the arrival of Jimmy Johnson in Dallas, the Bounty Game, the infamous snowball game, the Michael Irvin injury on the Vet's turf, etc.

When Buddy Ryan became coach of the Eagles, he said at his press conference that he'd been informed that the only important thing, as coach of the Eagles, was that his team beat the Cowboys. Things really haven't much changed since then in Philly.

Have I told ya'll about the time I led a sports bar in Philly in a "Dallas Sucks" chant live on television? Did I know you all then? Ahh, good times.

Beth: I think the Colts/Pats rivalry developed in a similar way, although not with as much personal enmity--kind of a happenstance thing, the teams thrown together, clash of cultures, etc.

Sam: Let's not forget the cocky Vanderjerk gestures, and the fact that most everyone in the universe just assumed Peyton Manning and his Mad Touchdown Skillz couldn't be matched by a QB as unflashy as Tom Brady.

Beth: In fairness, Vanderjerk cocky gestures, yes, but as we've seen, Rodney Harrison et al aren't exactly looked upon more favorably in the rest of the league.

Sam: Well, yeah, but Rodney doesn't 'disrespect' his opponents. He just whines to the point of absurdity about perceived slights. Bit of a difference, that.

Kristen: I think you have a point, Beth, with the need for a clash of cities/cultures/etc. for a real rivalry to take root. And I agree with you, Mer, that the reason football rivalries don’t seem to last is because the teams rarely stay good for a span of generations. So even if my father were to pass down a hatred of, let’s say, for arguments sake, the Bills, I’d look at the records in the past few years and kind of shrug and say, “I guess because they’re in our division, but…Bills?”

But if you asked me right now who the Pats’ rival is, I think I’d have to say Pittsburgh. The Colts are in contention, sure, but they’ve never beaten us when it mattered. Peyton Manning doesn’t scare me anymore. I suppose you could argue that the Steelers haven’t beaten us when it mattered either but they did end the Pats’ streak last year, somehow, we always end up playing on their turf and, like you, Beth, I have to deal with their fans on a regular basis. I’m not sure I’ve ever met a Colts fan.

However, possibly because I let things get to me way too much or I have been listening to far too much Rodney Harrison-type talk, I really, honestly, truly hate the Steelers. Nothing would make me happier for them to lose every remaining game on their schedule. They don’t have the arrogance and cockiness of Yankees fans, but there is something that just doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe it’s a perceived sense of entitlement or something. Like they deserve it because they work SO HARD and their city just loves their team SO MUCH and aren’t they TOUGH and GRRRRR, STEELERS! And yeah, okay, great. But seriously? Shut up. They are also the last people on the planet to admit that maybe, just maybe, the Pats might actually have a freakin’ dynasty. They just don’t want anyone else in their “club.” Obviously, I’m biased, but I really can’t stand them.

Plus, their field keeps breaking our best players.




Monday, September 26, 2005

QB Controversy

Wherein we lay the smack down about which QBs get too much press, which ones don't get enough, and why offensive lineman get no love.


Meredith: Just something I need to get off my chest.

The media's love of Tom Brady is nearing Jeteresque proportions. I mean, "The guy just hates to lose" was the quote de jour yesterday. Are you fucking kidding me? Find me an NFL player, or better yet, a professional athlete, that likes to lose. (Well, aside from Edgar Renteria, of course.) I mean, jesus, say that he's good, say that he rarely makes mistakes, say that when he does make a mistake, the team is good enough to win anyway. But don't embarrass yourselves by claiming that he's good because he "hates to lose."

Whew. Ok, I'm good now.

And yes, David Akers is the man. (And, no, he doesn't resemble Wakefield at all.) Course, had he missed the field goal as he did the extra point, people in Philly would be calling for the head of Andy Reid, but instead, they're erecting David Akers statues on Broad Street. Just one question, though - WHERE THE FUCK WAS THE PRACTICE SQUAD KICKER WE SIGNED IN CASE OF AN AKERS INJURY AND WHY DIDN'T HE PLAY?? Are we waiting until his leg actually does fall off before we help the guy out? That aside, thank god Akers came through when it mattered. He must really hate to lose.

Kristen: I feel ya on the Brady love, Mer. And it's a difficult tightrope because, obviously, being a New England fan, you mostly agree with all the praise and hype, etc. But I find myself saying lately, "How about we talk about someone else?" I actually said last night, whilst mocking the commentators, "Can we talk about someone other than Ben Roethlisberger? Or the Mannings?" My roommate said, "Would you rather they talk about Tom Brady?" And I said, "No, because the rest of the NFL is getting sick of that." Seriously, talk about Drew Brees or something. Talk about Kurt Warner. Talk about Chad "Boy, do I suck" Pennington. It's like I can feel everyone else turning on him and part of me is tempted to just resort to "Neener, neener, you're just jealous" arguments but then the sane part of me knows that's how Yankees fans view Jeter criticism and that realization makes me want to cry tears of woe.

But yeah, I'm pretty sure the only professional athlete who likes to lose is BH Kim.

Beth: Mer, as a Sox fan it should be clear that how the media portrays someone isn't always fair.

Although to be honest, if I hear one more Jeter/Brady comparison, blood is going to shoot out my nose. So, admittedly, I'm not exactly typing this with a clear head.

Meredith: I think you are misunderstanding. Tom Brady isn't like Derek Jeter. The media's portrayal/love of Tom Brady is almost exactly like their portrayal/love of Derek Jeter.

Kristen: Oh yeah, we get that. Hence the blood/nose thing. You want to yell, "STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT!"

Beth: Oh. Yeah. That I'll agree with. They do slob his knob quite a bit. But like Kristen said, it's a tough tightrope to walk, because of course, we think every bit as highly of him.

Then again, as you said, "he hates to lose" is a craptastical way of putting it, even from a language standpoint alone. There are, of course, other things you could talk about that would at least be more substantive. Something about his completion percentage that game, or (my favorite stat) yards after contact (he's one of the best). But, yeah "he hates to lose" is right up there with "calm eyes".

Kristen: I will quote my Steelers fan friend here because it was funny: "Exactly how long before the media as a whole just dives open-mouthed at Brady's crotch?"

Heh.

Sam: QBs we should be talking about who are not named Brady or Manning or Burgererrererrerer:

-Byron Leftwich. For all the bull excrement about 'heart', if such a thing exists, he's got it. I hope we all recall his game in college where he hurt his leg so badly that he couldn't walk. Instead of coming out of the game (I don't think they had a good backup, and it was an important game), he had his offensive linemen CARRY HIM FORWARD AFTER EACH DOWN, and then he'd stand there and throw. He'll still play hurt if he can convince his coaches at all to leave him in.

-Drew Brees. Manning Mark II didn't want his job, he took it, and made the Chargers a contender. I just like that he's showing up a Manning. The signs at the stadium last night were great ("Hey Eli, did your daddy say it was OK to play in San Diego?")

-Gus Frerotte. Don't look now, but the Dolphins are winning again. Of course he's got the Brady deal going, where he has a great, clutch kicker backing him up (Olindo Mare). And the two games they've won so far were both home games so, we'll see.

-Brian Griese. Just you wait.

-Carson Palmer. It's scary that he has weapons out there now. NO BIG CATS ARE ALLOWED TO BE GOOD IF THEY ARE NOT LIONS.

-Michael Vick. ‘Cause, if he can stay healthy, he'll be as good as billed.

QBs we need to shut up about: Brady, anyone named Manning, Brett Favre, Daunte Culpepper and Kyle Orton. What is the love affair with Kyle Orton? God, give it up, Berman.

Beth: Re: the QB thing...how about we just shut up about quarterbacks in general? How about we talk linemen? How about we talk defensive backs? How about we talk special teams? Quarterbacks in general get too much glitz and hype.

We could also always talk about the deep-seated sociological reasons for why that is…

Sam: Don't make me start talking about linemen, please. I'll start flipping out about Matt Light being injured and James Hall (my adopted Lion forthe season! Nooooo!) being maybe injured, and I'll just flip out. A lot.


link | posted by Chicks Talk Football at 7:35 PM | |


*weeps uncontrollably*

Fuck.

BREAKING SPORTS NEWS: Patriots defensive back Rodney Harrison will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee, a source told the Globe’s Jerome Solomon. --Developing

Fuckity, fuck, fuck.

Aaaaannndddd...fuck.

I wish I could be more eloquent.




Better Late than Never: Week Three

Kristen: I got a phone call from my brother immediately after Rodney went down:

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Then my mom called, "I hate Pittsburgh. I really fucking hate that place."

This is what football does to people. It makes my confident, strong brother scream like a little girl and it makes my polite, feminine mother swear like a construction foreman.

We also decided that Heinz Field is an evil, evil place and it would do well to be demolished. Heinz Field is the site of Brady's twisted ankle in the AFC Championship game in 2001 and Ty Law's broken foot on Halloween of last year. And now whatever is wrong with Rodney and Matt Light also happened at Heinz. I hate that place. I really, really hate that place.

That said, I love Adam Vinatieri.

Hooray for last second field goals and identical scores, eh, Mer?

And because I am a good person and I know that I would reach through the phone and rip their throats out if they did it to me, I refrained from calling my Steelers fan friends and taunting them. I am, however, glad that I elected not to watch the game with them since I'm sure their mothers are lovely people and I wouldn't have wanted to say uncharitable things about them during a bad drive. That said, I let out a giant sigh of relief after that game. I was worried, I really was. Phew. Now bring on the Chargers.

Mer, please back me up on this one. David Akers does not, in any way, resemble Tim Wakefield.

Sam: Dude, I saw what David Akers did today. That was some crazy business. If it had been a bigger, late-season game, they'd be comparing that to the Bloody Sock.

The Giants are currently losing. GOOD. Any Manning loss is a good loss so far as I'm concerned.

I'm pissed that Kurt Warner went down for the Cards and John Navarre still didn't get any playing time. Pooey upon you, McClown.

I still don't want to think about college football for, like, at leastanother week, but I did notice at the time (before the EXTREME WOE setin) that Wisconsin's center, Donovan Raiola, is the little brother ofthe Detroit Lions' center, Dominic Raiola. Cute. Would have been cuter if that information had been noticed in the midst of a Wolverines victory.

Beth: Matt Light AND Rodney Harrison?

Dudes, it's not the league that doesn't want the Pats to threepeat. It's God Himself.

Kristen: I repeat: FUCK Pittsburgh.

Also, that will be a regular season loss for Ben Roaerneanrgtiaenrgaergeargburger. It will also be an end to the Steelers streak. Pittsburgh loses at life.

SportsDesk has me all hyped up again.


As Brady ran into the Patriot locker room, he could be heard shouting,
''They hate us. They hate us here. But we love it."


This amuses me to no end because I can so picture him screaming that in his high-pitched, white boy-as-badass voice.

And then somewhere, Rodney comes out of the locker room on crutches, but wearing a lime green pimp suit and says, "You dammmmn right."

Beth: Where'd you get that quote, Kristen?

Kristen: Globe. CHB article. But I thought it was funny.

Beth: It is funny. And now I am relieved of my curiosity to read the rest of the piece.

Kristen: That was pretty much the only good part. It was a standard "Tom Brady is God" piece.

Beth: Well, those I have no problem with.

Kristen: Does it make me a bad person that I enjoy this photo immensely?


Image hosted by Photobucket.com


Beth: That's a negative.




The (Now) Infamous Rodney Harrison Discussion

Beth: I read something in Sports Illustrated about the first five-game stretch for the Patriots:

Inside the NFL: Sched-ache
The Patriots gear up for arguably the toughest five-game regular-season stretch in the history of the NFL
By Peter King

If you know Bill Belichick, you can bet the Patriots' coach is going to stand up in front of his players this week, hold up the team's game schedule and say something like, "Can you believe what this league is doing to us? The NFL doesn't want us to win, and here's the proof."

Belichick will be talking about the five-game stretch that begins on Sunday at Carolina (7-9 last year) and continues through Oct. 16 with games at Pittsburgh (15-1), at home against San Diego (12-4), at Atlanta (11-5) and at Denver (10-6). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other NFL team has ever had a five-game run in which four games were on the road and the five opponents averaged 11 wins or better in the previous season.

That brutal slate of games has some New England players thinking there's a conspiracy against them. "The league doesn't want us to threepeat," says safety Rodney Harrison. "What type of schedule has anyone ever had like that?"

"[The league] wants parity," adds linebacker Mike Vrabel, with a snicker. "We got the memo on that one. I think Paul Tagliabue delivered it himself."

The late NFL scheduling czar, Val Pinchbeck, liked to pit good teams against good teams and mediocre against mediocre early in the season, to keep as many clubs as possible in the playoff hunt. But that's not what happened this season, according to Howard Katz, the league's senior vice president of media operations, who oversees the team of NFL officials and computer consultants in charge of configuring the schedule. Katz describes a perfect storm of circumstances that led to the Pats' tough first two months.

"There was absolutely no conspiracy against the Patriots," he says. "Was there ever the sentiment, 'Let's make it tough for them'? I can promise you there was not."

For instance, the way divisions are rotated in the schedule formula, AFC West teams had the AFC East and NFC East as two scheduling partners this year, meaning those West Coast clubs have to make multiple cross-country trips. Teams want those trips spaced out over the season, and the best schedule Katz & Co. could devise sent AFC West champ San Diego to Foxborough on Oct. 2.

"I wish I could tell you it's an exact science," says Katz. "But the schedule is a huge jigsaw puzzle, with many solutions. How do we solve the puzzle by making a TV schedule that maximizes ratings and has competitive balance fair to the teams? That's what we try to do."

A difficult start to the 2002 season helped doom New England's first attempt to repeat as NFL champion. In the first six weeks the Patriots played teams with a combined '01 record of 57-39. New England struggled to a 3-3 start, finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs. This year, at least, the Pats had a Week 1 breather, a 30-20 win over the Raiders at home last Thursday night. Still, if they want home field advantage in January, they likely will have to win at least three of the next five games.

After that, New England has only three games against teams that won 10 or more in 2004, one with the Colts and a pair against the Jets.


But, really, I don't understand why we're going to complain about the Pats schedule. If they're as good a team as they're supposed to be, it won't be a problem - just another challenge to overcome. But it's one thing for us to moan and groan about it and quite another for the players (RODNEY HARRISON) to do it. Just shut up and win the damn football game, man. I don't want to hear that whining. How un-Patriots-like. "The league doesn't want us to win". Buddy, the Pats I know don't give a fuck what anyone else wants.

Mer: I don't so much get around to reading most blogs anymore, but please tell me rodney harrison didn't say that the league doesn't want them to win.

Please.

Kristen: I'm kind of in that frame of mind right now where I want to be illogical and whiny and bitchy and I hate everyone and I don't want anyone to tell me I'm wrong because I want to take my ball and go home. Only part of it is sports-related. But that's just where it's manifesting itself.

Rodney Harrison says shit like that all the time. He uses it to motivate. I have no problem with him continuing to do that. Although, obviously, they're going to need to win the fucking games. He said that before last year's Super Bowl and EVERYONE thought they were going to win. It's his mind game. I have no problem with it. He's one of the only players on the team who I wouldn't have kicked squarely in the crotch after last Sunday's performance.

*Kristen and Beth proceed to fight with knives. It's all very loose and random and weird and owing much to bad moods in general, but things get testy.

What's funny about this is that, later, Beth will be discussing this with another acquaintance, and she will explain to him that she and her friend Kristen got irritable with each other due to a disagreement about the Patriots' schedule in the early part of the football season and comments about it made in the media by Rodney Harrison, and she is sure to also point out that "These are all chicks, the ones fighting about football. Nary a penis in the lot."

Later...

Kristen: ESPN is onto Rodney. Admittedly, this made me laugh:

How the Patriots Were Disrespected This Week ...

(Tracking the constant disrespect of the New England Patriots, who -- if my calculations are correct -- have been acknowledged as one of the greatest teams ever in any sport by only a mere 94.887% of the sports media and just 92.1148256% of the general population ... a slap in the face that will not stand!)

Uh ... hello! Isn't this week's disrespect obvious? The Panthers daring to finish a game with more points on the scoreboard than the greatest team ever was very, very, very disrespectful.

Look, the Patriots are trying to do something no team has ever done before -- win three straight Super Bowls. With so much on the line, it is unbelievably rude of other teams to expose their early-season weaknesses. Show a little respect for the champions and give them some time to work out their problems on defense and special teams.

Obviously, Carolina has no sense of decency or respect for its superiors. The least the Panthers can do is acknowledge they did not outplay New England, but that the Patriots simply beat themselves through penalties and mis-execution. But will the Panthers acknowledge this fact? Probably not.

Disrespect!

Oh, and let the Steelers know they are on notice -- if they dare beat the greatest team ever on Sunday, the Patriots will file it away and exact revenge in the playoffs the likes of which the world has never seen.

(Either that, or Rodney Harrison will rip the helmets off their heads when he tackles them. And then he'll angrily protest that he is being unfairly called for a penalty. Like he always does.)


Mer: hahahahahahahaha.

Oh, that's funny. I wish I'd written that first, dammit.




Screw You, TV Guide!

The article on women and football in the Sept. 4 TV Guide is exactly the kind of thing that gets us mad. Here are some key quotes:

"The NFL has set its sights on women like a defensive back in man to man coverage. From its Manhattan tower on Park Avenue, the league continues to take pro football right to mama. Why? Because it pays to do so and we love the attention.

NFL marketers love our buying power and our growing attachment to a sport that was once a man's domain. These days women can no longer resist the allure of football. It's the pillar of fire around which millions dance every Sunday afternoon (and Sunday and Monday nights and sometimes Thursdays and oh, yes, Saturdays late in the season when college football ends).

More than 45 million women like me watch NFL games each weekend, according to the league. And according to TV Guide's own survey, Super Poll III, they are more likely than the guys in the room to be too superstitious to visit the bathroom when their team is ahead..."


***

"Speaking of fantasies, look around this season and you'll see female Packer backers in Green Bay flaunting strapless cheese bras and stalwart Steeler sisters with Pittsburgh war paint on their faces..."

***

"To me, it's no surprise that women, who increasingly embrace opportunities previously open just to men, would rally to the nation's favorite game. Sunday afternoons take on the quality of social ritual in this country.

Whether in the stadium parking lot or in front of the TV, football means friends, family and food, and that's a winning trifecta for women...."

***

"...women are no longer stuck buying a Tennessee team jersey in men's small or cramming a nasty 'Niners knit cap over their curls in order to make a fan's fashion statement.

NFL Properties has expanded its line of products for women to include jewelry and clothing that ranges from a French boatneck to a strappy tank to T-shirts in pretty pastels that declare your love for your team.

And speaking of love, put a Patriots camisole together with a pair of Patriots bikini panties, and the NFL guarantees you will dream of Tom Brady, even if he won't be dreaming of you."

***

"But women haven't fallen for football because of the shopping or because they want to get closer to their guy or find common ground with their son.
It is simply that women are not immune to the mysterious sway the game has over the male population.

Figure skating just doesn't get it done."
Mmkay. Excuse us while we barf.

Sam: I don't know about YOU guys, but I just can't wait to saunter into Ford Field on Thanksgiving in my strapless honolulu-blue-and-silver Lions bra. That would be practical, walking 5 blocks in downtown Detroit in the middle of November.

Kristen: This is enough to send me on a three state killing spree.

The word "pretty" has no place in a discussion of football, unless it's describing the interception Ty Law just yanked out of thin air.

And the word "pastel" only belongs in a description of the color Chad Pennington's bruises are turning, eight days after being sacked into next century by Ray Lewis.

Mer: Is it even possible to have a favorite team when you describe a sports shirt as being in "pretty pastels?"

Girls are teh evil.

Kristen: Reading stuff like that makes me kind of want to disown my gender.

Sam: Now now ladies, let us not be hasty. After all, the Chargers could go back to the powder blues at any time.

That said, if a woman wants to root for a football team and is concerned about COLORS, she should just be a fucking Viqueens fan. Then she can wear all the purple she likes and pretend to wonder what's wrong with Daunte along with the rest of those creatures.

Kristen: If the teams wore pink, then the fans could wear pink. It would be stupid because I cannot think of something less likely to say "smashmouth football" than carnation pink, but that would be the way of it.

Beth: So...do you think we're the only girls who like smashmouth football? i mean, surely there *has* to be an audience for this crap.

Kristen: Well, I learned this kind of behavior from my mom, so...

Nah, I think there's an audience. Probably bigger than people think.

Beth: What gets me is the blabber about "clothes that fit women." Yes. Because all women, as we know, wear a size 2 and want a sports jersey that'll show off their perfect little cupcake boobies.

I've got nothing against "women's sizes" jerseys--they do have a more flattering cut, if you're between a size 4 and a size 8--but for God's sake, team gear should be in the team colors.

The other part of the article that irks the crap out of me is the "won't have to put a nasty 'Niners knit cap over her curls". So they're offering what? Straw bonnets with maroon neckerchiefs?

Frankly, folks, I've been at the top of Gillette Stadium during a playoff game when it was -25 F. a "nasty knit cap" was my best friend. My hair ranked somewhere below clipping my toenails at the time; I doubt you could even have been able to discern what gender I was below all the cold-weather gear I'd wrapped myself in. That, to me, is football.

I read this crap and I think, who are these people? Who are these girls being all, "Yay! I'm a football fan! Look at my pink hat!" What is their motivation? "Fitting in"? I'm sure most *real* fans, male and female, would prefer they stayed home.

Mer: There is nothing wrong with wearing pink, or liking manicures, or being frilly. But sports are not about looking good. They are about blood, sweat, tears, victory, defeat, stomach ulcers, sleepless nights, screaming until your voice is gone, and waking up and doing it again the next day. Real sports fans, male or female, don't have time, when the game is tied and the clock ticks away, to think about what their hair looks like or if the blue of the shirt matches their eyes.

Kristen: I would argue that said fans are fans of warm weather teams, and "Yay! Arizona, um...Cardinals! 'Cause Kurt, um, Warner is so cuuuute!"

Beth: "Whether in the stadium parking lot or in front of the TV, football means friends, family and food, and that's a winning trifecta for women...."

Could it GET any more patronizing? This is 2005. How is it still impossible for people to think, "Hmm. maybe men are forced to be less closed-minded about things, and women are able to get into sports stadiums without fear of violence (most of the time). And women would have been into football all along if there weren't serious social sanctions about it."

Some of them are perpetuated. The current meme seems to be, "it's okay to like football if you're cute about it." It's okay to be in the "men's territory" as long as you don't threaten them with superior knowledge or by not being petite and worried about your hair.

Personally, I think of myself as a person BEFORE I think of myself as a woman. And this person loves football--the passion, the violence, the intricate strategies, the dramatic, over-the-top, gratuitous, visceral nature of it. I've bonded with my father about it, yeah, and camaraderie with others has been a big bonus to sports fandom. but all of that would've gotten old a long time ago if it weren't for the beauty of a game.

Mer: hehe.

I like when you assume that all girls know what smashmouth football even means.

But for what it's worth, I know of other females that like sports the way we do. We aren't alone - just a vast minority.

Something we all need to come to terms with is that...this article is on par for about 80% of the women out there. We are the minority. Sucks, but it's true. Also, a woman wrote this article, not a man. It's not meant to be insulting...sadly, millions of women think like she does.

Kristen: You're right. But that very much makes me want to weep.




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