The SPORTS PHILOSOPHER says: “Welcome to an NFL playoffs only a Mayan astronomer could love….” by Brad Eastland

January 6, 2012
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     Maybe the Mayans were right.

     Maybe December 21st, 2012—that’s this year—will be our final day upon this Earth.   Just as the philosophers of that ancient civilization predicted.

     Because something happened to me the other day which has caused me to have my suspicions.   I was shopping in a 7-11 store, just picking up a few odds and ends, and when I got to the counter and pulled out my wallet to pay for it all, the sales clerk (clearly a young lady descended from some Middle Eastern country, I’m tellin’ ya the metaphors were flyin’) asked me, politely, “Would you like a paper bag for your purchases, sir?”

     “Sure,” I replied, glancing at my 10 or 12 miscellaneous items desperately in need of a bag….

     “It’s ten cents,” she rejoined soberly.

     It wouldn’t be fair to say that I couldn’t believe it.    I’m not naïve enough to be shocked at the idea that one day we’d all be living in a world that charges you for a paper shopping bag.   But let’s just say it’s the first time in my life when I thought we might be coming to the end of it all.   It just felt wrong.

     And I guess I felt a little violated that this blight upon a crumbling civilization occurred at a 7-11.   I mean the whole point of 7-11 is that we are egregiously overcharged in exchange for the ease and convenience of not putting up with a trip to the supermarket, right?   Couldn’t they just absorb the ten cents for the bag from the criminal 30% markup they gouge you with on everything?    

     Ten cents for a paper bag….kill me now.

Rookie defensive Cameron Heyward figures to give the veteran Steelers some fresh legs with which to pursue Denver quarterback Tim Tebow.

Rookie defensive end Cameron Heyward figures to give the veteran Steelers some fresh legs with which to pursue Denver quarterback Tim Tebow.


     The upcoming NFL playoffs (which start this very Saturday) would also seem to support the Mayan doomsday theory.   These playoffs are a veritable window into the wackiness of our modern, doomed world.   Not one of the twelve teams in the tournament, not one, has the look of a Super Bowl champion.   At least the way I was raised to believe a Super Bowl champion should look.   As a football historian, I had always believed (based upon, well, history) that you needed a great defense, a balanced offense, a sharp and experienced head coach, good depth, good health, predictable consistency, a touch of class, and, above all, a top-class quarterback to win the title.




     But this year?   One playoff team has actually allowed more yards than it has gained….and that’s the defending champion!      Another has a lineman that claims the reason he literally stomps on defenseless opponents with his cleats is that he’s trying to “regain his balance”.   And another team’s quarterback usually completes less than half his passes, and makes more turnovers than the Pillsbury Doughboy.

     Here’s a rundown on the twelve teams competing for the NFL championship, complete with their respective flaws:

1    Green Bay Packers.   The champs have the high-scoring O, and they have the best quarterback (Mr. Rodgers), but their defense stinks like a waterfront whorehouse at low tide.   These guys can’t stop anybody.   And now they have massive injuries along their offensive line.   And no running game.   So why do they win all the time?   Maybe this is the month the winning stops….

2    San Francisco 49ers.   These guys have the best D, but their quarterback (Mr. Smith) is a guy nobody wanted, and just last year their team was one of the jokes of football.   Their head coach is in his first year on the job.   This formula never used to work in the old days….

3    New Orleans Saints.   America’s Team.   A feel-good team, a feel-good town, and a feel-good story, every year.   They have the best offense ever, the 2nd-best QB in the game (Mr. Brees), and a great coach, but their defense, like the Packers’, is lousy.   Those two squads are lucky their offenses are there to mask and hide their defensive woes.   The Saints also blitz too much.   It may cost them….oh, and they lost a game to the Rams this year.   In a rational world, that fact alone would be enough to eliminate them from consideration….

4    New York Giants.   I don’t know where to start.   These guys couldn’t guard their own bags in a railway station.  Their running back (Mr. Jacobs) has a big mouth, a weak heart, and a tiny brain.   Their head coach’s face always appears as if his bottom end is experiencing an ongoing enema administered by a garden hose.   And their admittedly fine quarterback (Mr. Manning) isn’t even the best quarterback in his own family….

5     Atlanta Falcons.   Lousy defense.   Lousy road team.   No chance….

6     Detroit Lions.   Can anybody play defense in this league?   Last week these guys let a back-up quarterback (Mr. Flynn) throw for 480 yards and six touchdowns!   If not for football, several of their bi-polar linemen would be serving time in the Big House.   These guys have turned the “unsportsmanlike conduct” penalty into an art form.   Their head coach is a moron with bug eyes and thin skin.   They have no running game.   This team hasn’t won a playoff game since the good Bush was president….

7     New England Patriots.   Great coach, great QB (it’s the story….of a man named Brady), great O, but the lowest ranked D in the league.   The whole league!   They give up over 400 yards a game.   In a word, they suck (ok, two words).   Their best wide receiver (Mr. Welker) is about five feet tall.   I call him “The Bug”.   His back-up is even shorter than he is.   Their running back’s name is more complicated than a law firm’s.   They fall way behind in practically every game.   Yet they won more games this year than any team east of Wisconsin.   I’m confused….

8     Baltimore Ravens.   Inconsistent, old on defense, battling injuries, and their quarterback (Mr. Flacco) is just plain lousy.   And getting worse….

9     Houston Texans.   Healthy, they’d be the best team in football.   But they are not.   Their starting QB (Mr. Schaub) and his back-up are both out for the year.   Their best defensive player (Mr. Williams) is also out for the year.  Their best wide receiver (Mr. Johnson) is always hurt.   So is their best running back.   Their 3rd-string QB (Mr. Yates) is battling the 4th-string QB this week in practice for the right to keep his temporary job.   And now he’s injured too.   Can’t see it….

10   Denver Broncos.   This is a fun team, but not a very good one.   Awful receivers.   Overrated on D.   Lost as many games as they won.   And their QB (the delightfully divine Mr. Tebow), while heartwarming and fiery, still isn’t very productive.   The Broncos have had three games this year where they were held scoreless into the 4th quarter….and they won two of them!   If they win it all, it really is the Apocalypse, and Tebow is the Messiah, albeit a Messiah with a bad crew cut….

11   Pittsburgh Steelers.   Their brilliant yet morally questionable QB (Mr. Roethlisberger) has more injuries than a mob button-man who turns cheese-eater and then gets caught squealing by a better button-man who then works him over with a crowbar.   Their starting running back is out for the year.   Their defense is still good, but is also old and banged up.   I hate Pittsburgh.   Makes me happy….

12   Cincinnati Bengals.   Rookie QB, lousy head coach, rookie receivers, no playoff experience, a miscreant running back, what more do you want?


     Not one of these teams appears qualified to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in early February.   But one of them will.   Perhaps New Orleans comes the closest to being worthy.   They are my lukewarm pick to go all the way.

     But if teams 4,5,6, 9 10, 11, or 12 win it all, it proves the world has lost its grip on Natural Law, that gravity is invalid, that aliens are under foot, and that the Mayans were right.   We’re doomed.   Get your house in order, people.   Judgment Day is next….personally, I myself am not ready.

meet….The Sports Philosopher!

eastland-new-mug1Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, undiscovered literary giant, and occasional whimsical doom-monger.   Brad’s other recent columns for La Verne Online can be found in the Sports Section under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.    Brad has also written 4 novels* and over 20 short-stories.   

*To pick up a copy of his recently published novel of life at the racetrack, of triumph, and of utter despair, WHERE GODS GAMBLE, a tale of American mythology, simply search for it on,, or   And then order it.   And then READ it.   He thanks you.





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