The other thing is that writing about the Colts is kind of confusing for me because it all gets wound up in this sort of autochthonous (bonnnnng), circular kind of anxiety about sports loyalty without any connection to place. I had a whole post this earlier this fall about all these issues and what it all means and all that, but I decided it was too much to ask anyone to read. Maybe after this season is played out I'll revisit it. Suffice to say for now that in the fall of 2000, when the Colts somehow solidified themselves as my team (mostly through a series of improbable comebacks, a last minute playoff berth, and a whole lot of playing Andrew at Madden '99), this was already worrisome. I was already getting sensible lectures about why I should be a Seahawks fan. Now, with all the fuss about Manning and greatness and choking and the Patriots and everything (not to mention the Seahawks recent success), it's turned into a complete obsession. And yet, it still feels very out of my control, as being a fan always is. If they win the Superbowl this year, or if they don't, it's going to get worse, because the situation is inherently unstable.
Lehr doesn't have to worry about this because as a fan he has no soul, a direct result of being a Yankees fan, that has either comically or tragically (I can't tell which) driven him to root for Duke as well. This obviously makes the whole enterprise of his loyalties already a caricature of itself that is unaffected by the Bronco love. I suspect this phenomenon is probably the worst single thing that happens to people born in New York (with certain exceptions) simply because they are born in New York, this total distortion of all things right and normal about sport loyalty. That Lehr of all people is rooting for a team that demands everyone get the same awful Republican haircut depresses me to no end, but that's sports for you. We can't control these things. Obviously, the Yankees distortion works just as powerfully in the opposite direction, as I constantly worry about the ways in some team I am rooting for might resemble the Yankees in some capacity. This is almost certainly a part of my Colts obsessing and probably more ridiculous than anything Lehr does as a fan. Oh well.
But I think the biggest reason that I'm uncomfortable saying much of anything about the Colts this season is that it's gotten to the point for me that one Superbowl victory will only partially erase the humilliation of the past number of years of sports for me. Winning this year, if it happens, might make up for choking last year, but I'm still burning about the year before and the year before that and the year before that. Now that the 16-0 season is out of the picture, it will
I think this springs directly from my psychology as a Seattle sports fan. That's partially about the collapse of the mid-90s Sonics without a ring, but it has a lot more to do with the Mariners. I feel humiliation that we were unable to build a championship in 1997 around arguably the best center fielder, short stop, and starting pitcher in baseball at the time, none of whom had prohibitive contracts. I feel humiliation that 2001's 116 win season was reduced to a historical footnote by losing to the Yankees. And I feel potential humiliation that it looks to be a challenge to build a World Series team around Ichiro to silence his critics. However foolishly, I have believed in the possibility of historical greatness in each of these things and, unsurprisingly, found it elusive.
So, Jeff, I obviously have no ground, even this year, to contest your assessment of the Patriots ability to beat the Colts this year. But you can bet that I will be both incredibly surprised and further humiliated if it happens. Because I believe this team, as I did last year, might be historically great. That's probably stupid, but there it is. And that, Kelvin, is why I'm not writing about football.