The Hater's Guide to the NFL Conference Championship Weekend
These NFL playoffs are a hater's dream!
The first week was easy. The best thing to hate were the games themselves, as teams were blown out and Roger Goodell's plans to expand the playoffs looked more and more laughable.
In the divisional round, the games weren't just watchable; they were phenomenal and gave plenty of hate ammo for the losers. (Fire Dom Capers! Fire Gary Kubiak! Fire everybody!!!!!!!!)
This week might be the best weekend of football that we have seen in a while, and it might be the best weekend of hate. Every team has a reason to legitimately wish for their season's demise. Whether it's the crotchety old men who dismiss San Francisco's offense as gimmicky or the idiots who can't talk about the Baltimore Ravens without bringing up a night in Ray Lewis' life from years ago, every team has just as many people rooting against them as they do rooting for them.
You know me though; I hate all of them—at least, that's what y'all tell me the minute I'm critical of any team—so I want them all to lose.
How is that possible? It's not, but a boy can dream, right?
Why the San Francisco 49ers Will Lose...
Before anything else, what could possibly be the conversation that led to this picture? "Wait, Coach, you're saying I'm supposed to throw this thing further than three yards down the field? Is that even possible?"
Colin Kaepernick goes down in the first series, throwing the 49ers' game plan right out the window. Alex Smith enters the game to the dismay of worms everywhere and actually plays well off the bench. His 90 percent completion rating keeps the 49ers in the game until Michael Crabtree just gets fed up, walks over and takes the snap right out of Smith's hand, spiking it right into his quarterback's face.
"That's the only way I was ever going to get the freaking ball!"
Crabtree storms off of the field while Falcons defenders pick up the fumble and take it for a game-winning fumble recovery touchdown.
Why the Atlanta Falcons Will Lose...
Matt Ryan is having a fantastic game until Julio Jones goes down and 49ers defenders are then able to rotate their coverage over the top to stop Roddy White. Ryan is still playing well, but then Tony Gonzalez goes down—taking away his security blanket. Once White goes down, Ryan's numbers drop to Rob Johnson-like numbers. His fourth checkdown interception seals the deal for the Niners.
The game ends with Ryan standing in the middle of an empty field just screaming, "I'M ELITE, EVERYBODY! BELIEVE ME! I EVEN GOT THE PLAYOFF MONKEY OFF MY BACK AND EVERYTHING! COME BACK! I PROMISE JUST TO HAND IT OFF! PLEASE COME BACK!"
Why the Baltimore Ravens Will Lose...
The Ravens are up by two touchdowns at halftime when, all of a sudden, no one can find Ray Rice. They look in all the usual places (under tables, standing behind toddlers, in his comically undersized race car bed), but they just can't seem to find him anywhere.
The second half goes as expected with Bill Belichick's patented halftime adjustments taking advantage of the Ravens' aging defense and the Ravens' now-stagnant offense unable to keep pace.
Days later, Rice will be found safe (but emotionally scarred) in the trunk of a rented Toyota Yaris belonging to one Malcolm "Cam" Cameron and charged to a credit card of one "William Belichick." Massachusetts police will later claim insufficient evidence to name any suspects.
The Patriots go on to the Super Bowl, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed head to retirement, Ozzie Newsome starts scouting the next crop of terrible wide receivers, and Rice quits football to live a quiet life making cookies in the trunk of a tree.
Why the New England Patriots Will Lose...
Here's another caption contest for you guys. I don't care what Belichick is saying here, but I'm confident it's in the voice of Cosmo Kramer: "Aliens, Jerry! Aliens!"
Tom Brady and company come out with guns blazing, dropping 21 straight points to start the game. They expertly mix Stevan Ridley runs in with long passes down the field and checkdowns to Aaron Hernandez, who's clearly on his way to setting some YAC record. (Although impressive, it pales in comparison to my many Yak records. I'm pretty much a big deal in the Himalayan Yak Tossing circuit.)
Everything is going great until Brady steps out from under center and points to his helmet. "Is this Celine Dion?" Brady asks before tossing off his helmet in disgust (well worth the 15-yard penalty).
All of the Patriots assistants throw their headsets off as well, including those up in the press box. Everyone, it seems, but Bill Belichick, who just stands there on the sideline in full sleeveless-hoodie regalia, bawling his eyes out.
"My heart will go on," Belichick will be quoted as saying after the game, after forfeiting the game so he could have more time to find Celine tickets on Ticketmaster and apologize to all the people he's been mean to over the years.
Asked after the game if he is disappointed in his coaches' actions, Brady replies, "I'm married to a supermodel, you idiot," before dropping the mic and walking off the stage in Ugg boots and a swan dress.
Michael Schottey is the NFL national lead writer for Bleacher Report and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff at The Go Route.