NFL Playoffs: So Your Team Didn't Make It? Three Solutions to Help You Cope

robert aSenior Analyst IDecember 28, 2008

It is playoff time in the NFL once again, which means die-hard fans of 20 different teams across the country are suddenly left without anything to do next weekend.

Sure, some will still watch the playoffs because their love for football outweighs the love for their team. Some are done with the NFL as soon as the NFL is done with their team, and they already have alternative plans with their friends and family.

I have done no research on this, have conducted no polls and interviewed no “subjects,” but I would venture to guess that the vast majority of the fans of these 20 teams are somewhere in the middle of those two extremes and have absolutely no idea what they are going to do to fill the void. Well, this article is for those fans!

Here are three things that you can do next Sunday to help you get over your team’s demise:

Let’s Get Spiritual: Go to Church

No, your mother has not hijacked your computer. You are reading correctly. It is too late, you already saw this, so do not even consider clicking the little red “X” in the top right-hand corner of your screen. You are reading this for a reason.

Every Saturday since the start of the NFL season, as soon as you got home from your evening’s festivities, you would drunkenly stumble to your computer to check up on your fantasy football team, making last second trades and roster moves.

Then you perused on over to your favorite team’s message board to see what “troll” was talking smack about your team. Of course, that person was wrong, so you had to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours formulating the absolute best retort to their weak arguments before you could go to bed with a grin on your face. It is your obligation as a fan, after all!

Then you would wake up late and hungover on Sunday morning just in time to throw on your lucky jersey and run to your buddy’s house for the game. Seriously, couldn’t you at least find the time to shower?

But that is beside the point.

Before you could takeoff, you needed to check the message boards once again to see if that “troll” replied to your comment overnight...of course not, what a coward.

Then, at your buddies, you would spend your entire Sunday drinking, cursing, and yelling at the television, only to get home Sunday night with a sore throat and a headache. You would make the mistake of checking on your fantasy team and see that they lost as well. More cursing.

Well, fantasy football has been over, and now so is your team. You have no more excuses to stay up late on Saturdays checking up on your fantasy stats and scaring off “trolls.” You should wake up more refreshed than ever next Sunday.

So rather than spending your day yelling at your television set, get your butt to church next Sunday morning. And this is none of my business, but after seeing how you have acted these past 17 weekends, maybe you should consider the evening service too!

Use that Brain: Read a Book

I considered recommending yard work and chores as an alternative to your Sunday football activities until I realized that you should have been doing this all along…on Saturdays!

If your weeds are overgrown, your house is a mess, and your dog smells like an apartment dumpster on a summer afternoon, then I cannot help you. My task is to help you fill your Sunday, and Sunday is not the day for chores.

Sunday is meant for the Three R’s: Rest, Relaxation, and Recreation. Now I could be wrong, but I do not see how pruning trees falls into any of those three categories.

What does? Reading. While I personally recommend a certain Bleacher Report writer for your reading pleasure, I think a Sunday afternoon without football is better suited by a good book and a blanket.

You can read a comedic book to help you smile or a fairy tell to take you to a land far, far away from your football problems. A murder mystery might help you vent your anger, and a history book could help you to learn a little something.

Read a biography if you want to discover fascinating and wonderful people, or check out an auto-biography to discover fascinating, wonderful, and narcissistic people.

If you are having trouble sleeping at night, try a textbook. That always worked for me!

And if you just cannot for the life of you take your mind off football, surely you can find a book about your team’s glory days (sorry Saints fans, this one may not apply to you).

Whatever book you choose, this could be just what you need to take your mind off of things for at least a little while.

Sure, this is not the most exciting activity you could partake in, but in this time of recovery, stimulating your brain with a good book could be the best medicine. And let’s face it; at this time of year, it beats nature walks, bike riding, and picnics. Newsflash: It is cold outside.

Take the Easy Way Out: Buy a New Hat!

Ah, the bandwagon fan. Like Coca-Cola, dinner and a movie, and the Thanksgiving turkey, the bandwagon fan is an American tradition!

Now I myself do not believe in jumping on bandwagons just because a team is hot. I will occasionally root on an underdog or cheer on a team that I do not typically root for because they are about to do something special, but the only merchandise you will find in my closet belongs to Dallas teams and my beloved Baylor Bears.

However, I fully recognize that everybody is not me. Heck, when my younger brother was just a little tyke, he would bring a Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners hat to the ballpark when the two teams squared off, and he would change hats whenever the lead changed.

Now I hated his bandwagon jumping, but at the same time had to give the kid credit. While everyone else in the ballpark was on pins and needles the entire game, he never batted an eye, because he knew all along that his team was going to win.

For some people, when their team is sinking ship, the only thing that can comfort them is jumping on a newer, better, and most importantly still-floating ship with hot blondes in bikinis and free booze.

The only question is what ship do you hop aboard? What hat are you going to run out and buy? If you are Cowboys fan, you are not going to run out and buy an Eagles hat because…well, you hate the Eagles.

Same goes for a Patriots fan and a Colts hat. Not a chance! While bandwagon jumping is an accepted American tradition, jumping to your hated rival is still very much frowned upon.

The next obstacle you have to clear is to make sure that whatever hat you choose is a hat that you can get at least a couple weeks out of. I am sure I am not the only one that absolutely loves the Atlanta Falcons story this year.

I mean, seriously, what a great feel good team! The same could be said for the Baltimore Ravens, although for obvious reasons (the last night at Texas Stadium, maybe?), I do not love them so much.

But in these hard economic times, can you really risk 30 buckaroos on teams with rookie quarterbacks? Great feel good stories? Yes. Smart teams to bandwagon? Not if you are in it for the long haul, and especially not if the store you purchased your hat from has a strict no-return policy.

The safest bet is to pick the team that you dislike the least but still feel like can win the Super Bowl. If people ask, you can always claim that you have a relative that lives in the area and that you have always liked the team, just not quite as much as your team.

Another good tip is to find an older player on your new bandwagon team that has never won a Super Bowl and use this line: “(Old Guy of your choosing) is such a class act, and since (insert your team here) can’t win it all this year, he might as well get a ring.”

Works every time.

With the enormous decision making process that goes into picking your bandwagon team, this is an activity that can undoubtedly take up an entire weekend (or two!) and will definitely help you to take your mind off your team’s shortcomings.

No matter how you decide to cope, next Sunday will most definitely be different than in weeks past. However, between spending more time with your family and friends, watching the other NFL games, and the three solutions I have proposed, you have absolutely zero excuse to spend your Sunday lying in bed crying into your pillow and listening to Johnny Cash’s rendition of “Hurt.”

After all, it is just a game, and there is always next year! Happy NFL Playoffs everyone!


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