Because who would you rather have do your pre-game show? A bunch of goombahs who actually played football? Boomer Esiason with his defensiveness about his poor tie choices? Howie Long with his square jaw and square hair? Shannon Sharpe with his feeble grasp of basic English pronunciation? Terry Bradshaw with his complete insanity?
Or me, a chick who can explain some — but not all — of the rules of football, knows a lot of the league’s quarterbacks, but not all the members of her own team, shrieks loudly in her living room during games even if she’s by herself, but doesn’t get defensive about her poor tie choices, doesn’t have a square jaw and square hair, has a good grasp of basic English pronunciation and isn’t completely insane, merely possessed of a generalized mania?
I mean, which would you rather have?
I thought so.
All righty. So let’s be realistic, to start:
~ The Chargers are not expected to win. We’re like 14-point underdogs.
~ Tom Brady is some kind of freaky heartless robot.
~ Randy Moss is despicable and plays mean.
~ Then there’s Belicheat.
~ The whole Patriots team seems untouchable. There’s that godlike aura around them, blahdie blah.
~ Also, it’s like 100 degrees below zero in Boston right now. There’s actually concern that the cameras won’t work. It’s 70 degrees here now — where our players practiced this week. So — what? Only a 170-degree difference in temperature? No big whup.
On the Chargers’ side, there are some worrisome — to put it mildly — injuries:
~ Our QB, Philip Rivers, is injured. At this posting, he’s questionable for tomorrow’s game. Which is freaking me out.
~ The league’s best running back — and this is not opinion; he just is — LaDainian Tomlinson is injured, too. Last I heard, he WILL be playing. And don’t forget; he’s the guy who did this a few weeks ago against the Titans — literally jumping over nearly the entire Titans’ line to score from one yard out.
~ Our giant tight end, 6 foot 4 Antonio Gates (aka Tracey’s Cocoa Bear Crush) has a dislocated big toe. The Toe Captain! Ouchy. I once broke one of the lesser toes while creekwalking on a backpacking trip and was completely useless and hobbled and my dad had to basically carry me back out the 9 miles to civilization. Sorry, Dad. I cannot fathom an injury to the Toe Captain. That is catastrophic. The horror. The horror. Feel better, Cocoa Bear!
Okay. So that’s bad. But let’s not forget this:
~ We were 8-point underdogs against the Colts. We won by 4 points. Also, we beat them earlier in the season, breaking their undefeated streak. Are we poised to do it again??
~ If the Chargers were only Rivers and LT and Gates, we certainly would have lost last week. They were all out for LARGE chunks of that game. Remember we have Cromartie and Sproles and Chambers and Jackson and Turner and more. So many other players have stepped out of the shadows this season and proven themselves time and time again. We’re a deep team, even though a few get most of the attention. This is the same team that went 14-2 last year, only better, actually. Just as a team operation, we’re better. Rivers, if he’s able to play, is a smoother, more confident QB. He plays with passion and poise. That’s key. He’s more poised this year, less squirrelly. The team overall seems to keep its head when things get intense, as is inevitable against the Patriots tomorrow. Again, if that weren’t true, we would have lost last week.
~ We want this. BAD. Where the Patriots could easily slip into expectation mode — we’re undefeated, obviously we’ll win, everyone thinks so –the Chargers harbor no such illusions. Listening to player interviews this week, I’ve heard a chorus of resolve to fight — really fight — against the monolithic Patriots. It kinda gets me choked up. Stop it. Stupid game.
~ We haven’t been to the Super Bowl since 1995. And that was the one and only time so far. We lost, badly, to San Francisco. Oh, how well I remember the heartbreak of that game! Our overwhelming defeat …. and then the thousands of loyal Chargers fans who still filled the stadium to cheer their returning beaten team. It was sad; it was heartwarming. Both. But we’re hungry for it again. Patriots win the Super Bowl like every other year. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a different team win for a change? 😉
~ Lastly, who doesn’t love an underdog? Think of all the underdogs facing impossible odds:
America in The Revolutionary War
Spartacus in Spartacus and real life
The US Olympic Hockey Team in 1980 against Russia
Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
David against Goliath in, you know, the Bible
Norma Rae in Norma Rae
William Wallace in Braveheart, also real life
Rocky Balboa in Rocky
That Indiana high school basketball team in Hoosiers and …. real life
The 2004 Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees for the ALCS
These are off the top of my head. Some of them are actually real. And just because I only know of their real-ness because of movies doesn’t make them any less real.
So really, who doesn’t love an underdog?
Please feel free to buoy my hopes for my underdog Chargers by listing any triumphant underdogs you can think of. Thankee.
GO, CHARGERS!!! SERIOUSLY. GO!!!!
(AFC Championship game 12:00 noon PST tomorrow on CBS. Tune in and watch! Sorry if you hear me shrieking.)