Are You a Delusional Fan? (and my NFL Picks)

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Are You a Delusional Fan? (and my NFL Picks)

If you listen to sports radio at all you undoubtedly hear commentary from fans of every team on the map, who is in every situation on the map, and who have varying degrees of loyalty.  Recently, MTV did a True Life episode on sports fanatics and how it affects their relationships.  There was a couple where the guy was a Red Sox fan and the gal was a Yankees fan.  She had covered their place in Yankees memorabilia and he couldn’t have one shred of Red Sox stuff in the house.  They had the most ridiculous arguments over it (it was sad and hilarious at the same time.)  They had “The Giants Girl” who dating some old dude and wanted to move closer to the Giants so she could make a career out of being a fan of the Giants.  Really?  I mean, really?  That’s just crazy.  Let’s take it one step further to delusional…

Some fans are devoted to their team (perhaps to a fault) and they give their team as much love as they can (perhaps to a fault) but they also have completely unreasonable expectations of their team.  I mean, completely unreasonable expectations.   Look at the “Raider Nation”.  These people, many of them, actually think that the Raiders are entitled to be good.  They actually Jamarcus Russell is a good player.  They actually think the Raiders should just make the playoffs because they’re the Raiders.  They’ve even turned Richard Seymour (New England’s trade bait) into blithering idiot when he proclaimed the other day that the Raiders would make the playoffs this season.  Are you serious?  I used to like you Richard Seymour…I also used to think you have your head on straight.  This level of unreasonable expectation blinds so many fans who have no business thinking that their team can do ANYTHING.  Let’s explore some examples:

In case this is your first time in The General’s corner, I’m a 49ers fan and a Lakers fan above all else.  When the 49ers were cooking and the DiBartolos owned the team I fully expected, and rightfully so, that they could make it to, and win, the Super Bowl pretty much every year until Steve Young retired.  Even after that my expectation level was high because of the ownership (and Carmen Policy.)  When the team was sold to this Yorke idiot I knew I couldn’t be expectant and so I stopped.  I figured it would take an act of God (or Mike Singletary) to bring me back to the “Land of Expectations”.  Now, I don’t think they’re going to win the Super Bowl, but I do expect them to be better.  The more they show me the more I expect.

When the Lakers went bad after 2004 I decided to lay off because I knew that the team needed to be reworked (and if Kobe wanted to leave then he needed to kick rocks) so I didn’t get upset when they couldn’t make the playoffs.  When they raped Memphis and got Pau Gasol and they started cooking I was VERY UPSET when they lost to Boston in the Finals.  I mean…HOT! I could not have been more pissed…and that stupid Paul Pierce talking about how he’s the best player in the world made me want to scream.   And Eddie House…ooooh how I hate him!  He’s such a clutch shooter that I have to respect, but I hate him soooooo freakin’ much.

So, when the Lakers won the Finals this past summer I was ecstatic.  The funniest part of all this is that we were in Orlando during the Eastern Conference Finals and the beginning of the NBA Finals.  I listened to a fair amount of sports radio in Orlando and the fans down there are freaking out of their minds.  I heard more homers call into the local talk station and talk about how the Magic were going to sweep the Lakers, and about how the Magic were more talented than the Lakers and how Dwight Howard was a finisher and blah, blah, blah.

Let’s be honest.  None of those things are true.  I didn’t think Dwight Howard was a “force at the finish” even before he missed 500,000 free throws in Game 4.  I didn’t think the Magic had enough to contend with a hot Ariza, a closing Kobe, and an insane Gasol…oh, and then there’s that old guy Derek Fisher who only hits clutch 3’s (sound like Robert Horry?)

The fans in Orlando were delusional.   I wish they could have been honest and said “You know, we’re on a hot streak, we got Cleveland off-balance, but we probably can’t last against the Lakers.”  There’s a fine line between belief and dementia and I think the fans in Orlando have dementia.

The same could be said for Cleveland fans who think that the acquisition of Shaq makes them better.  If you think an old, fat guy who has a bid hip and is completely out of shape makes you better then you have lost your ever-loving mind.  Keep it real and say something like “Shaq could contribute some quality minutes but we know full-well that he can’t out this team over the top.”  Anything other than “We’re the favorites because we have Shaq!”  (You’re not.  He’s going to hog the ball and destroy your team.)

Look at Yankees fans since 2000 (their last Title.)  They went into the 2004 ALCS feeling entitled (since they had blown the World Series the year before to the Marlins) and they had a 3-0 lead on the Red Sox.  Their sense of entitlement bled into the brains of their team and the Yankees became the only team in the history of Baseball to lose a 7-Game Series after going up 3-0.  Now they’re up 3-2 on the Angels but they gave them Game 5.  How much will it take for them to give away this Series too?  How much dementia is required for Yankees to NOT realize that their team is good, but the Angels are chopped liver?  Yankees fans are so deluded that they think a team with a $250 Million payroll that can’t make the playoffs is worth anything even if they go on a tear the next year.  If Yankees fans were being honest with themselves they’d say “You know, we had the best team in Baseball for alot of the season, but that doesn’t mean our ticket s automatically punched, especially now that we’ve given away Game 5 to the Angels.”  I’m just looking for a little honesty.  That’s all.

Look at FSU fans.  They aren’t mad at Bobby Bowden because he’s not really doing anything (and doing a bad job of it.)  No, they’re mad because they’ve been spoiled for so long that they think they are entitled to winning and getting the best recruits.  They just think “Well, we’re FSU so we just win all the time, right?”  Wrong.  You still have to recruit well and the players have to play well and they have to be coached well.  If you think for one second any of that is going on in Tallahassee you’re nuts.  The sense of dishonest entitlement they have is staggering.  “We own the ACC and no one can stop us” just isn’t true anymore, yet Noles fans hold onto it like it’s the gospel.

I’ve heard Noles fans call into radio shoes and say things like “We don’t lose to Georgia Tech” or “We don’t lose to Miami” knowing full-well that both of those teams are FAR superior to this FSU squad.  {What’s even more disturbing is that the school thinks it’s entitled to string along its fans and players with the Bobby Bowden charade.  Pretending he has value when he clearly does nothing.  That form of dementia usually requires commitment to the looney bin.)

In the NFL we have a couple fans that make no sense.  First is the Redskins fan.  For years the Redskins have been just so-so.  I have a good friend who is a devoted Redskins fan.  He just hangs on them in every way, but the problem is he ALSO thinks that they should be able to make the playoffs and advance far with Dan Snyder as the owner.  I love this dude, but I want him to be honest and say “With Dan Snyder at the helm we have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever even sniffing a Super Bowl, much less winning one.”  But, every year he comes in all “gung ho” thinking this is the year.  WHY!?

The other that really gets me in the Cowboys fan.  Ever since they won those 3 Super Bowls in the 1st half of the 90’s they think they can just “be the team” every year simply by being the Cowboys.  WTF!?!?!?!  You haven’t won a playoff game since 1996 and your esteemed owner fired Jimmy Johnson because his ego is too fragile and named himself his own GM.  No wonder you haven’t done s%^& since then.  Be honest and say “With Jerry Jones as our GM we might as well wait for pigs to fly.”  Please, come to your senses!

In college football my favorite is the Notre Dame fan.  Do they really think Charlie Weis’ brain even still exists?  (I contend that is has all turned to blubbering fat.) Don’t they realize that Lou Holtz had to DEMAND that academic standards be lowered to get the right players in (they were lowered and he won a National Title and spawned a Heisman-winning Tim Brown.)  Now, the school won’t budge on academic standards (even though they have their own TV contract with NBC so they can rake in as much cash as possible and they don’t belong to a conference so they can hoard all their cash.)  But, since they’re pretending it’s about education then Charlie Weis has no power and I have to listen to ND fans talking about how they could beat USC or Jimmy Clausen could win the Heisman?  Are you kidding?  Be honest and say “We stink.  We better be glad we can schedule cupcakes all the time and keep all the TV cash for ourselves because Charlie Weis can’t coach and we’ll NEVER be able to get the caliber players we want because the school is too hard to get into.”  Honesty people.  Honesty!

So, the bottom line here is:  Are you a delusional fan?  Do you have perspective on your team or are you just thinking anything is possible?  Can I give you the best example of “non-delusional” or realistic fans?

Lions fans.  Lions fans were calling for Matt Millen’s job years ago.  They staged walk-outs and rallies.  They wore bags over their heads and were generally ashamed of their team because they knew that the Lions stunk.  Not only that, they wanted change and they wanted it immediately.

I never heard a Lions fan try to justify any sort of stupid optimism by saying retarded things like “Well, we have Calvin Johnson” or “We’re picking first this year so it’ll all be better.”  Nope, they call into radio shows and admit that their team sucks.  They give realistic timelines for the franchise to recover from the “Matt Millen Era” (3-6 years) and they STILL want to hold Matt Millen accountable for his b^%$s*^&.  Yes, they are not delusional at all.  They know they have no chance at winning hardly anything.  They figured it was safe to believe for one win this season (because it would be almost impossible to go winless for 2 straight season) and that’s all they expect…SOME improvement.  They don’t want the moon and the stars because they know the moon and the stars aren’t coming.

Now those are some smart fans…

Catch my picks after the jump…

Here we go with the picks.  Short, sweet, and to the point this week…  (For the record I’m 60-27…woohoo!)

Indianapolis @ St. Louis   1 P.M. Do I even need to say it?  Indy – 69   STL – 0

New England @ Tampa Bay   1 P.M. Again, do I even need to say it?  NE – 47  TB – 0

Minnesota @ Pittsburgh   1 P.M. This will be a good one.  Big Ben v. Brett Favre.  Adrian Peterson v. The Pittsburgh D.  I can’t wait to see who breaks first.  My guess is that it’s time for Minnesota to lose…even with AP at full strength.   PIT – 34   MIN – 31

San Diego @ Kansas City   1 P.M. I know I have been crapping on the Chargers consistently since the beginning of the season, but I think it’s also safe to say that the Chefs suck hardcore and the Chargers aren’t THAT bad.   SD – 20   KC – 10

Green Bay @ Cleveland   1 P.M. With Green Bay getting a nice win last week against a team they’re supposed to beat (Detroit) I think they might have closed my hourglass and left the middle for the Good Division.  With that said I think they can do the same again this week.   GB – 27   CLE – 3

San Francisco @ Houston   1 P.M. I wonder how many 49ers players were killed in the off-week and during practice this week.  What’s the over/under on that one?  2.5?  They’re too scared to lose again anytime soon…   SF – 30   HOU – 17

Buffalo @ Carolina   4:05 P.M. What’s in it for me if I pick this one?  Maybe a T.O. temper tantrum?  Yeah, that would be good.   CAR – 10   BUF – 0

Jets @ Oakland   4:05 P.M. Jets fans believe, they’re opinionated, but they’re not stupid.  Oakland is the “fantasyland” of the NFL.  Richard Seymour has lost his mind.  Oh, and Al Davis still talks to people who aren’t there.   NYJ –  21   OAK – 7

Atlanta @ Dallas   4:15 P.M. No UFO scoreboard is going to stop the Falcons from putting their foot up Dallas’ rear.  ATL – 40   DAL – 13

New Orleans @ Miami   4:15 P.M. If you’re the Saints you have to be happy.  A trip to South Beach and an easy game.  Chad Henne should be taking notes…   NO – 34   MIA – 13

Chicago @ Cincinnati   4:15 P.M. The BEngals (I use the BE because of Boomer Esiason.  The last time they were really going good he was the man there.  If Carson Palmer keeps his up I’ll fit a P into the name somewhere) get a craptastic Chicago team at home.  Not a problem.   CIN – 27   CHI – 10

Arizona @ Giants   8:20 P.M. I guess the Cardinals will have to pay the price for the Giants losing to the Saints last week.   NYG – 33   ARI – 17

Philadelphia @ Washington   8:30 P.M. Monday Night An NFC East slugfest on Monday Night is a great way to end the football weekend.  Philly somehow lost to Oakland last week.  Washington will pay and the change in play-callers will show that the whole offense sucks…not just Jim Zorn.   PHI – 28   WAS – 3

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