JFF Hate Fest With the 22th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected the most insanely talented, over-rated, over-performing, over-hyped, most likely to succeed, least sportsmanlike, most marketable, least classy, most electrifying player in the known universe: Johnny (Fucking Football) Manziel!
And the crowd went wild… or wait, they wailed in agony… or they gasped in a paroxysm of orgasm… or they aired their genteel displeasure in panting exasperation… or they rushed to the phones to buy their season tickets… or they pegged their bets for the exact day and time that they could shout their “told ya so’s” from the rooftops when he …
Because of free agency, pro sports don’t engender the same marrow-level rage that college sports do. Sure you may have a devotion to your Designated Market Area’s team because you hope that they represent your geographic region with dignity and honor (and that they sell enough $140 tickets so you’ll have something to watch on TV on Sunday afternoon and Monday night and Thursday night and Saturdays after college is done), but it’s not like you want to lay siege to the next DMA over the way you might want a nuclear holocaust to scorch Tallahassee, Fla., on a given Saturday in the fall.
It was this past weekend during the Divisional Playoffs as my beloved Saints lost… and the New England Hatriots won… and then Colin Duh-pernick and the San Francisco 49ers won… and then I climbed on an airplane not knowing if Phillip Whine-Me-A-Rivers would pull the upset of the universe against the eldest scion of the Manning Clan and John Elway’s Denver Broncos… Well, it was this weekend that I realized that I needed a Hierarchy of Hate just to navigate the Super Bowl. Who am I going to root for when three-fourths of the possible teams are paragons of hatred?
Tonight concludes another orbit around the universe of college football: The BCS National Championship, the so-called pinnacle of achievement in post-secondary educational entertainment. For me, it is the apex on the Hierarchy of Hate.
Nothing – not even Louisiana politics – engenders such excitable energy from me as college football. Sure, I love my New Orleans Saints – and I hate New England Hatriots coach Bill Belicheater and Pittsburg Stealers quarterback Ben Rapelisberger with the fire of a thousand suns – but the pros don’t spark the same life-shortening rage that comes from college. Spending hours, standing on wobbly aluminum benches, facing the blast-furnace of a setting Texas sun, screaming your lungs out for a chance to kiss your date when you score does some weird things to your gray matter. That, and investing all that time and money in a solitary place in the middle of nowhere births a sick form of loyalty that can transcend marital bonds.
Just ask Pat: I hated LSU long before I loved him. He is a Tiger. He knew that going in.