It’s pretty rare that I post twice in one week, but I feel like my Ralphian Doom post from Monday needs a follow-up.
As the week wears on, I feel a glimmer of hope. I fight it vigilantly but it’s still there, no matter how hard I will it away, eating at the back of my mind. Maybe everything could go right Sunday. The Saints just don’t lose at home, not this year. And the other things we’re asking for aren’t THAT farfetched, are they?
This mindset bothers me. It fills my soul with a powerful fear. Not at the potential heartbreak Sunday, but at the consequences should we get our wish.
What are we asking for here? I ask of you your perfect scenario, and your answer is likely something like:
1. Panthers loss
2. Saints win
3. Seattle loss
4. 49ers win
5. Cowboys win
See, the first four give us a 2 seed, relegate the Seahawks to a wildcard, and create a worst-case NFC Championship Game scenario of at San Francisco, something we could like, totally handle probably. Number 5 there is the backup plan, in case the first 4 don’t happen, giving us the most beatable road opponent in the NFC for the wildcard round.
I’ll start with number 1.
Nothing good can come of rooting for the Falcons. Today I see Saints fans on Twitter using #RiseUp, and an instinctual dread comes over me. This is how our unintelligent mammalian ancestors felt when they heard the rustle of leaves that indicated the approach of a large predator. Sentience is hardly necessary to feel fear at the presence of something unholy and vicious. The realization of our dreams of a division championship, I warn you, is no less dangerous than a velociraptor.
I do not intend to change your mind when it comes to rooting interests as I root along with you: I want nothing more than a division title and a first-round bye, and most importantly, home playoff game(s).
But we ask these things of the football dieties with knowledge of what came before. It is easy, for a superstitious fan, to believe that bountygate and the 49ers game and EARTHMODE BEASTQUAKE and this year’s road woes and even, perhaps, the circumstances that led to the multiple blasphemies taking place this weekend, all are punishment for whatever terrible deal we made in 2009.
If a championship season results in this kind of punishment, then, consider the full spectrum of gifts we ask of the NFL this Sunday.
We hope, in that perfect scenario, that we are elevated to a 2-seed, and arguably, the favorite to win the NFC, as a result of wins by the Falcons, Rams, and 49ers. 1990s me weeps. Should this occur, and should it lead to an improbable Super Bowl run, the payment will be biblical. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. I do not pretend to understand what the football equivalent of swarms of locusts and rivers of blood may be, but I fear it. I fear it with all my heart.
So beware Sunday if you find yourself celebrating an unlikely Falcons win without reservation. Enjoy it, because it truly would be a gift. Enjoy it greatly while you can. Pray that it results in a championship while we’re temporarily blessed. Because it will not last forever. Retribution will be harsh, if not swift.
Rise Up, and may God help us all.