“Huh. Guess that God thing only goes so far.”
~Timothy Richard Tebow
The beauty of American sports lies in the glory of victory, but mainly the agony of defeat. Not De-Feet, Rex Ryan, but you are right, making foot fetish jokes about the Jets is another perk of being a sports fan. But the fact of the matter is that, no matter what, by the end of a season there is a greater chance that your team will not end up being the champions, and if you’re a Cubs fan there’s an implied certainty that not only will your team not go all the way, but you’ll probably lose your house in a fire while a re-invented Carlos Zambrano pitches a perfect game for the Miami Marlins.
And while some teams fizzle midway through the year, and most teams never have a shot, some may argue that the most devastating heartbreak can come when a team gets so close to the ultimate prize just to see it ultimately fall through their trembling, bacon-grease-covered fingers. And as America finds itself deep into the NFL Playoffs, more and more fan bases have to see that one ultimate defeat that’ll make their entire transcendent season utterly meaningless, unless you were able to ride Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees to help you win your fantasy league. Because at least that way those two QBs were able to win something this year.
So for the fans that spent all season bragging about the historic year of their franchise who are left standing with a gaping jaw wondering how they could have possibly given up 37 points to Eli Fucking Manning, we here at AFFotD are here to give you this handy guide.
The Seven Stages of Grief (For an NFL Playoff Loss)
He might not be playing in the Super Bowl, but he’s a shoe-in for that part in the Green Bay Community Theater production of “Newsies”
So your team has lost in the playoffs. Maybe it was the end of a Cinderella run that honestly shouldn’t have happened in the first place (Hi there, Tim!) or you were expecting at least to make it to the NFC Championship game after breaking a 27 year old record for most passing yards by a quarterback (Drew! Sup!?) but either way the team you have bled for since September is no longer playing football. And as the you blink away those totally-not-tears-shut-up-it’s-just-dusty-in-here-okay-GAWD and try not to think about what could have happened if you weren’t stuck with starting TJ Yates, you no doubt will find yourself going through the following emotional stages.
STAGE ONE: NUMBNESS
“Wait,” you say to yourself. “There’s no way that Tim Tebow just threw an 80 yard touchdown on the first play of overtime. He’s Tim Tebow. He runs options and prays a lot. Wait, wait, maybe this is just another clip from that . Like, when they have Hines Ward running and the field is blowing up behind him. That’s got to be it, right? That Christopher Nolan is quite a director, I got to say.”
Yes, that numbness you are feeling is a natural response to the death of your team’s season. You’ve spent all week, and for some fans, all season talking shit (or maybe you even wrote an article called “Back-to-back Pack”) and suddenly your team is gone. And it’s unreal. Sure you secretly knew your team didn’t have a shot, but at the same time the diehard Falcons fan had to spend a few minutes watching the post-game show in disbelief, thinking, “Wait, no that’s not right. Only two points? Who only scores two points?”
But soon the numbness will fade, and as you are forced to watch the opposing team celebrate their victory while all your asshole friends send you sarcastic text messages referencing “Discount Double Choke” or that weird birth mark on Drew Brees’s face, it all suddenly hits you. That’s when you enter…
STAGE TWO: DRINKING
“What the fuck, Suh?” you just slurred into your beer. When the pain has subsided, and you’ve come to realize you’re still in Detroit, the healthiest thing you can do is drink, and drink as much as you can. You’re going to start lashing out, so the best way to handle that is to get yourself good and drunk first. That glass of scotch wouldn’t have given up 466 yards. The subsequent glass of bourbon would have held the Saints to less than 21 in the fourth quarter. That especially deep glass of whiskey knows why your father left, but it won’t tell you. It won’t tell you unless you keep drinking. Keep drinking and maybe daddy will come back to you oh my God he’s finally going to give you those starbursts he promised to get from the convenience store!
Wait, where were you? Oh right, those overpaid assholes just blew that game, and you don’t know what to do. You’re freshly liquored up now, which of course is the most American way to make big decisions, so maybe it’s time you go out? While you’re around equally pissed off fans and, if you’re lucky, kindly women and children, you’ll be able to fully delve into…
STAGE THREE: IT’S THE IRE OF THE TIGER, HAH, GET IT, IT’S LIKE ROCKY BUT ABOUT BEING ANGRY UGHHHH THIS SUUUUCKS
You’re so pissed off right now. God fucking dammit, really? Sure, you didn’t expect your 8-8 team to beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s rag-tag group of sinners and perverts, but honestly? After all this, they couldn’t even muster up a close game for you? Five touchdowns in the first half, are you serious? Goddamn it, you hope that Tom Brady and Giselle die in a sex-swing-fire-related-accident, and you don’t care who knows it! No, scratch that, you’re going to shout that to everyone in the fucking bar.
“HEY YOU TOM BRADY GONNA HE SUCK YEAH FIRE AND SEX! UGHHHHHHHH…” oh you just vomited…oh yeah, that’s really nasty, that’s just awful…we’re going to take a pause here and clean up because…
STAGE FOUR: OH GOD IT’S EVERYWHERE
Uh oh, people are looking at you now. You’ll want to get out of that bar, they’re absolutely going to kick you out right now. Quick, make a distraction by setting the bar patrons into frothy vitriol!
“THREE Interceptions by Dalton, are you KIDDING me?”
Yes, that’ll do it. People are pissed about that, and that one dude in a Houston jersey is about to get his ass kicked. Quickly go to the bathroom and clean the vomit off! You’ll want to go to another bar, and weirdly enough most places don’t let you in if you’re coated in your own vomit. Eh fuck it, might as well ask the bartender for another drink on the way out…
Yeah, they just kicked you the fuck out. Time to go to the bar next door and…
STAGE FIVE: YOU FUCKING HEARD ME BARTENDER, HAND ME A BOTTLE OF THAT AMERICAN HONEY AND A PHONE, I WANT TO GIVE MY FUCKING EX A PIECE OF MY MIND
God, remember how Karen was a 49ers fan? Who roots for the fucking 49ers? GOLD PROSPECTORS? Huh? Pssh, the bitch. It wasn’t even a problem ‘cause the 49ers are garbage. Or they were garbage. Oh wait, the phone’s ringing.
“Hey looks like your team won, probably gonna bang some dude at the bar to celebrate it HUH!? Yeah I’m drunk, what’s that matter? No, no, the restraining order says I’m not supposed to call you on my phone, this is the phone at the bar, you just got legalized BITCH! Hahhhh… so how’s it like to go down on Alex Smith you probably liked it, didn’t you? Didn’t you!? What, no hey bartender back the fuck off, I’m trying to have a polite conversation here and wait no don’t snatch the phone I MISS YOU KAREN COME BA…uh oh…”
STAGE SIX: OH GOD IT WON’T STOP IT’S LIKE THAT SCENE IN FUCKING TEAM AMERICA
“THE FUCKING GIANTS!?” You scream to the suddenly empty section of the bar in between heaves. “THIS WAS OUR YEAR GODDAMN IT! 15-1! AARON RODGERS! MATT FUCKING FLYNN! MATT FLYNN CAN DROP 6 TDS ON THE LIONS BUT WE CAN’T GET MORE THAN 20 AGAINST THE GODDAMN GIANTS? WHAT DO YOU MEAN OVERSERVED, GET ME SOME BOOZE AND…wait when did I get in this cab? What do you mean I have to pay for the interior cleaning?”
STAGE SEVEN: FULLY CLOTHED, DRUNKENLY SOBBING, HUGGING YOUR KNEES IN THE BATHTUB WHILE THE SHOWERHEAD IS RUNNING
Shh, calm down now, calm down. The Texans weren’t ever going to really win the Super Bowl anyway. At least you guys finally made the playoffs. Shh, okay it’s okay sleep now, just go to sleep and this will all be a distant memory.
And with that, you have made it through your team’s most difficult loss to date. And you shouldn’t be bothered by it any more.*
*DISCLAIMER: You probably will be bothered by it for years to come. If the loss was particularly heart-wrenching, stages one through seven will repeat themselves frequently, for weeks and possibly months at a time. There is a reason why all bars in Minnesota are now coated in a stain resistant lacquer. Wait till next year and all of that.