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Football Season . . . Hey!

Watched the end of the Raiders-Vikings game and whaddaya know . . . football season is (sort of) here, ending the horrifying Summer Sports Nightmare brought about by the end of the World Cup and the way the Basketball World Championships appear to have been scheduled so as to make them impossible to watch in North America.

I'm ashamed to admit, however, that when it comes to the NFL I'm something of a sports bigamist. In NBA terms, my relocation to Washington, DC conveniently coincided with the Knicks stumbling from "disappointing" to Godawful and the Wizards rising from Godawful to "hey, this team is pretty good!" status so I somewhat shamefully shifted allegiances. I think, though, that this is an ultimately defensible move since I more-or-less plan to keep living in DC forever and in this day-and-age I don't think it makes sense to ask people to support the team in the town they grew up in to the exclusion of the town where they actually live. Giants-Redskins dual loyalties, however, is totally untenable. If they played in different conferences, it might work. But it's the same division. Last year, they managed to both make the playoffs and then not face each other in the postseason, which was a pretty ideal outcome from a bigamist perspective.

But I can't shake it. I hope Clinton Portis recovers smoothly, but I also hope Eli Manning keeps his shit together under pressure....

August 15, 2006 | Permalink


Hey, I feel you man. I've managed to stay a G-men supporter after 8 years here, but I still get drawn into the drama of the Skins every year. I routinely know more players on the Skins than I know on the Giants. Still, I'm cheering for New York in every head to head matchup, so I guess I'm still doing ok.

Posted by: Cain | Aug 15, 2006 2:07:01 AM

Living/growing up in California in the 80s was rather difficult from a sports perspective, especially in a locale that doesn't identify easily with any one team. Clippers, Laker, Kings, or Warriors? Rams, Niners, Raiders, or Chargers? A's, Giants, Dodgers, Angels, or Padres?

Once I took a true interest in sports in the late 90s, I settled for Kings, Niners, and A's ... but I haven't been entirely faithful, I'll admit. And thank God there aren't any teams in Reno to further confuse things (Reno being closer to my hometown than any pro-league city in California).

Posted by: Kurt Montandon | Aug 15, 2006 2:42:44 AM

I've lived here for 25 years and I still loathe the Redskins. Unlike with Cain, for me, the 'Skins hoopla makes the hatred all the easier. I think if the two of you had been here during the smug, insufferable "glory years" of the 1980s and early 90s, you might feel differently. You arrived here after they had been down a while -- it was even hard for me to maintain a consistent level of ill will. It was kind of like kicking someone lying on the ground.

But I sense that the smugness is back, complete with visions of a Super Bowl. And so is my hatred: a Sunday in which the Jints win and the Skins lose is a perfect Sunday.

Posted by: Hisownfool | Aug 15, 2006 9:36:43 AM

I would be leary of putting too much allegiance with any team nicknamed the Redskins. I mean, are they kidding me with that name. I, too, usually switch to cheering for the team that is most geographically aligned with my address. When I lived in Charlottesville, that would have been the Redskins. But I could't bring myself to even buy a t-shirt until that name is addressed. Could a team ever get away with being called the Blackskins?

Posted by: smalls | Aug 15, 2006 9:47:58 AM

There's nothing wrong with rooting for two teams even if they are rivals. Seems to me that there are very few rivalries left of such intensity that would preclude a person from liking both teams to some extent or another (e.g., you couldn't be a Tarheel fan and also like Duke). I'm a Nets and Devils fan, but I also follow the Knicks and Rangers and will root for them provided they're not playing my team. I was rooting for the Devils a lot in '94 when they went to Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals, but after Matteau won the game in double OT, I still rooted for the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals. (And it all worked out in the end, since the Devils won the Cup the very next year.)

Posted by: Al | Aug 15, 2006 10:02:10 AM

There's nothing wrong with rooting for two teams even if they are rivals.

You really are fucking evil, aren't you, Al? But apparently not completely without conscience: you couldn't be a Tarheel fan and also like Duke.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Aug 15, 2006 11:11:24 AM

putting aside, for the moment, that matthew's weakest point appears to be his inability to grasp baseball, let me note, as a yankee fan who lived in boston for many years, that, like Al, i found it perfectly possible to root for the red sox any time they weren't playing the yanks. indeed, my idea of heaven was 1978, when the local 9 and the yankees met in a playoff game that i attended that the yanks won. but even in 2004, i rooted for the sox in the series on behalf of my many friends with lifelong sox allegiance.

now, as al will tell you, asking a real madrid or barcelona fan to root for the other? that's not on!

Posted by: howard | Aug 15, 2006 11:51:40 AM

I think Matt raises a good point when he says that it is unrealistic for many people today to maintain strong loyalties only to teams from where they are from. I have moved around a lot in my life, and find myself rooting for a rather odd hodge-podge of teams (I'm not English, but am invariably moved almost to tears when the English football team inevitably chokes.)

The one exception, contra Howard, is the Boston Red Sox. Though I love Boston, my hatred for that organization has only intensified since moving here.

Posted by: David | Aug 15, 2006 12:01:53 PM

to understand the craziness with the skins, you have to look back beyond their dominance in the 80s/early90s to the 70s, when they were the team that just quite never made it, often losing out to cowboys in heartbreaking ways. so when they finally started winning, people didn't realize how good they had it. (people in DC seemed to have no recognition of how odd it was that the NFC east won something like 8 out of 12 superbowls in one stretch, effectively owning the NFL but for the 49ers.)

Posted by: dj superflat | Aug 15, 2006 12:22:01 PM

I've lived in MSP, Denver, KC, and Detroit. I'm primarily a fan of the Vikings and Broncos when it comes to the NFL. I have however managed to cheer for the Chiefs and Lions, in the case of the Chiefs out of begruding respect, the Lions more out of pity. This is possible because they are neither the Raiders nor the Packers.

It gets weirder in baseball, where Det, Min, and KC are all in the same division. Since none of them are the Yanks or the Sawks I can handle rooting for the central winner over anyone else.


Posted by: crack | Aug 15, 2006 12:47:46 PM

You people are weird. Everyone knows that you're supposed to choose your lifetime sports-team allegiances when you're 12, just like you choose your musical tastes when you're 16.

Posted by: Steve | Aug 15, 2006 1:47:36 PM

david, i'll tell you: i admire anyone who can work up "hatred" for a sports team. maybe the reason that i could enjoy the sox winning if the yanks don't is that i don't think there is a single sports team that i hate, although there are owners (hell there, my very own george steinbrenner), coaches/managers, and even players that i do hate.

Steve, the way i approach the matter, as i implied, is that my allegiances were set by age 7 (yanks, knicks, giants, since i'm a native new yorker), but i like the teams in any city where i'm living to do well: life is better when your community's sports team is doing well!

Posted by: howard | Aug 15, 2006 2:05:59 PM

Howard is crazy. Most Red Sox fans are defined as much by their hatred of the Yankees as their love of the Sox. Yankee fans never seem to really understand this. If you're a Yankee fan we don't want your support, we don't want you to enjoy our triumphs, remember the point of a Red Sox victory is to stick it to you.

I can't agree with David. I've always felt you should stick with a team that represents your roots, not where you live at the moment. I was born in DC and grew up in DC but since my family was from New England I could never hop on the 'Skins bandwagon. I began rooting for the Patriots instead and that was in 1976. Thanks to the internet and Direct TV it's even easier to stick with your real team now, no need to jump on the Skins wagon. Plus there's a lot to be said for the joy of being an "expat." Watching the Pats at Murphy's in Alexandria is a lot more fun than watching the 'Skins at a regular DC bar. I'm sure you can find Giants fans somewhere in DC.

Posted by: Vanya | Aug 15, 2006 2:08:31 PM

vanya, don't get me wrong: i get that there are plenty of yank fans who hate the sawx, just as there are plenty of sox fans who hate the yanks. i'm only pointing out that it isn't that way for everyone, which seemed to be matthew's original implication.

because if i, as a yankee fan who lived in boston didn't carry a hatred with me, then the notion that dual giants-redskins loyalties are untenable loses some of its grounding. it's not like there's an 85 year history of disdain between the franchises....

Posted by: howard | Aug 15, 2006 2:45:40 PM

I grew up a Cowboys fan, so it was no trouble to keep on hating the Indigenous Persons while I lived in DC for several years. Some things are built to last.

Posted by: Doug | Aug 15, 2006 4:20:14 PM

in this day-and-age I don't think it makes sense to ask people to support the team in the town they grew up in to the exclusion of the town where they actually live.

This is backwards, in this day and age it makes even more sense to stick with your team because it's easier! You can get their games through cable packages, read about them on the internet. It was in the old days of local broadcast and newspaper that it made sense to switch allegiances. Now it's just laziness.

I'm with smalls on the 'Skins. I'm one of the least PC folks around and I am _horrified_ that we still have a team named after a racial caracature. How is this possible? I honestly think the NFL should force them to change it, tradition be damned.

Last year, they managed to both make the playoffs and then not face each other in the postseason, which was a pretty ideal outcome from a bigamist perspective.

Well, I guess, except it's because neither could make it to the conference championship. Not so ideal there. As a true NFL trigamist (Niners, Dolphins, Bucs), nothing would make me happier than a Niners/Dolphins or Dolphins/Bucs super bowl.

Posted by: right | Aug 15, 2006 8:15:17 PM

For some time now, my football watching has suffered from lack of a team to hate. I root for the NY teams (including the Bills) but I'm realistic enough to know that my team(s) can't be in it every year. I've never been able to hate the Giants' traditional rival, the Redskins, and have no objection to their winning when my teams are out of it, but I used to hate the old Gil Brandt-Tom Landry-Roger Staubach goody-two-shoes Cowboys, having grown to fanhood at a time when everyone hated either the Cowboys or the Raiders. The Cowboys, at least since the Jerry Jones-Jimmy Johnson era, however, are not those old hated Cowboys, and I can't work up a good hate. Pathetic teams aren't worth hating. Any suggestions?

Posted by: C.J.Colucci | Aug 16, 2006 2:28:43 PM

I am pro-sports bigamy too. I root for the ravens, 49ers and oakland .

Posted by: joe o | Aug 17, 2006 5:53:05 PM

I grew up in San Antonio, live in Dallas, and remain a Spurs fan. There is absolutely no scenario whereby I would support, take interest in, enjoy, or exhibit anything less than absolute disdain for the Dallas Mavericks and their fans. No fucking way.

Posted by: MP | Aug 18, 2006 12:02:19 PM

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