This is my friend Shane.
He is 33.
Of those 33 years, I’ve known him for about 28 of them.
He’s a good person, one of the best I know.
Mind you, it’s not a big “however” for most people, but for those of us in his primary social circle it’s kind of a big deal. Shane can’t pick a professional football team to follow.
For most of his childhood, Shane rooted for the Raiders, but years of suckage, moving from Oakland to Los Angeles then back to Oakland, followed by new levels of suckage caused Shane to abandon ship.
For at least the last three years, every summer near Labor Day talk amongst my friends turns to football and the inevitable discussion of “Who will Shane pick this year?” He tried to give the Miami Dolphins a go, but fortunately that didn’t stick. He’s probably leaning toward reclaiming the Raiders, but we’re just not certain that’s a good fit.
That’s where I come in.
I’m going to determine Shane’s team, taking a closer look at the candidates before offering up the definitive pick for him.
Clearly, I’m some kind of friend.
Shane: They’re an up-and-coming young team with Leinart, Fitzgerald and Boldin leading the way. They have pretty decent colors and play in a great city.
Shan’t: They’re always an up-and-coming team because they never get to the up. With starters Kurt Warner and Edgerrin James, they’re not exactly young. If you’re having to base things on “pretty decent colors,” that can’t be good.
Shane: Um, they’re not terribly far away if he wants to go see them play a home game.
Shan’t: The Falcons hired the always-traveling Bobby Petrino and couldn’t keep him for one full season.
Shane: Their nickname is based on an Edgar Allan Poe poem.
Shan’t: This is football, and their nickname is based on an Edgar Allan Poe poem. Also, if Shane wanted to cheer for a team of thugs, he’d just cheer for the Miami Hurricanes or the Oakland Raiders.
Shane: They have really cool uniforms. Sports bars in area probably have really good wings.
Shan’t: Wide right.
Shane: I don’t really hate the Panthers, but I realize now I can think of no single reason for somebody to root for the team.
Shan’t: Rae Carruth and his dumb ass hiding in Nashville. Plus, the team has never sounded like an NFL team. It sounds like an arena league name.
Shane: Tradition. Classic uniforms. Fantastic city. Overall, liking the Bears makes a bunch of sense, not only for Shane but for all good Americans.
Shan’t: Steve Fuller, Rusty Lisch, Greg Landry, Mike Tomczak, Doug Flutie, Jim Harbaugh, Peter Tom Willis, Will Furrer, Erik Kramer, Steve Walsh, Dave Krieg, Rick Mirer, Steve Stenstrom, Moses Moreno, Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, Jim Miller, Chris Chandler, Henry Burris, Kordell Stewart, Jonathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson, Kyle Orton, Rex Grossman, Brian Griese.
Shane: They’re the local team, they’re fun to watch and they’re always on TV. Plus, no matter what the national commentators say, they have kick-ass helmets.
Shan’t: If Shane wanted to watch a middle-of-the-road football team always promising greatness but always delivering mediocrity, he’d cheer for the University of Kentucky.
Shane: There are no logical reasons to cheer for the Browns.
Shan’t: They have the ugliest colors in the history of sports (yet, oddly enough, they somehow make the uniforms look “classic.” Odd).
On another Cleveland note, these picture came up when I Googled “Cleveland Browns” then clicked on images. And these weren’t on pages 87, mind you; these were on the very first page. This sums up what I think of Cleveland.
Shane: It certainly helps when you have an owner willing to spend the money needed to win.
Shan’t: It certainly helps when you have an owner who isn’t crazy.
Shane: I sat for a good three minutes contemplating this question, and frankly, I’m not sure why anyone outside the greater Denver metro area would root for the Broncos.
Shan’t: Mike Shanahan is riding John Elway’s arm and Terrell Davis’ legs to this whole “coaching genius” label. Also, they have ugly colors.
Shane: Detroit is a city that would allow Shane to easily align his franchises (Lions, Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings). There’s an added bonus of how when Shane gets drunk and tells people how he grew up on the rough streets of Detroit. This is not a true story.
Shan’t: If the Lions couldn’t win with Barry Sanders, they probably won’t win with anyone.
Green Bay Packers
Shane: The Packers combine three of Shane’s favorite things – beer, cheese and football.
Shan’t: Even someone as suave as Tom Brady would look completely ridiculous in Green Bay’s green and yellow.
Shane: If you want to like a Texas team, why not pick one with some originality instead of hopping on the Dallas bandwagon.
Shan’t: There’s a reason the Texans don’t have a wagon of any sort.
Shane: Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy are consummate professionals. The team also has classic uniforms.
Shan’t: They are the least-sexy franchise in all of sports. They are Jim Nabors in a Jay-Z world.
Shane: There are no logical reasons to root for the Jaguars.
Shan’t: This team name actually sounds less NFLish than the Carolina Panthers.
Kansas City Chiefs
Shane: If you go to a home game, you can probably find good ribs and steaks in the city.
Shan’t: If anyone is going to root for the Chiefs, it’s going to be Brinton. Aaron and I declare this to be.
Shane: They’re one of the best teams in football history …
Shan’t: … if you ignore the past 20 years. There are so many reasons to hate the Dolphins – the 1972 team drinking champagne after the last undefeated team loses each season; those horrible colors (aqua and orange); that stupid-ass logo of a Dolphin wearing a football helmet. This is a physical impossibility as Dolphins have neither the ability to fasten the helmet nor the ability to actually wear a helmet in the first place. Also, look at the dolphin’s face; he’s angry. What the hell does a dolphin have to be mad about? Are there tuna boats in the area?
Shane: Who can’t get behind a team whose mascot is a Viking? That’s beyond manly. It’s the exact opposite of a Miami Dolphin.
Shan’t: If you’re going to wear purple and gold, you’d better be a Los Angeles Laker.
New England Patriots
Shane: Unite your cheering into one centralized city (Pats, Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins), win championships, annoy your friends (ask Cory; this works).
Shan’t: Shane has an aversion to rooting for teams that win.
New Orleans Saints
Shane: Feast on gumbo and other Cajun delights when visiting the city.
Shan’t: Most people have moved past Katrina, so it’s no longer cool to like the Saints. Also, they have a stupid fleur de li as a logo. That’s lame, but at least it’s not wearing a helmet.
New York Giants
Shane: They have tradition, cool uniforms and merchandise and Super Bowl rings.
Shan’t: We live in a world in which Eli Manning is a Super Bowl winner.
New York Jets
Shane: Maybe the best uniforms and merchandise in the league. Tradition (although most of it is founded upon losing seasons and piss-poor draft picks). Rabid fans. Once Jay-Z moves the NBA’s Nets to Brooklyn, Shane can unify a city and rhyme: Mets, Nets and Jets.
Shan’t: It is doubtful you’ll ever see your team win a Super Bowl.
Shane: Bad-ass uniforms, color scheme and merchandise. It was Shane’s team for his childhood and teenage years. Al Davis can’t live forever.
Shan’t: Do not rule out the chance Al Davis will have himself cryogenically frozen with the intent to be defrosted in a few years.
Shane: Solid colors and merchandise, devoted fans.
Shan’t: The 1994 Eagles were not the best team of all time.
Shane: A man’s team. Rugged football. Gritty city.
Shane’t: Shane liked the Dolphins, thereby losing any claims to manliness, ruggedness or grittiness. His next team must either be the Rainbows or the Unicorns.
San Diego Chargers
Shane: When they wear the powder blue throwback uniforms, all is right in the world.
Shan’t: The uniforms for the remaining 15 games. Plus, it must suck to always lose to the Colts or Patriots in the playoffs.
San Francisco 49ers
Shane: There are no logical reasons to root for the 49ers.
Shan’t: Terrible colors. Has-beens. Rooting for the 49ers is just wrong.
Shane and Shan’t: This is the most nondescript team in the NFL, maybe in all of sports. It’s impossible to either love or hate the Seahawks.
St. Louis Rams
Shane: I’ve thought long and hard, and I think the Rams challenge Seattle as the most nondescript team in the league.
Shan’t: Ah, but there is one drawback: St. Louis isn’t as cool of a city as Seattle.
Shane: They’re pretty close to the region, so they’re kind of local. They have interesting colors and fairly cool merchandise. They have a great coach with an even better moustache.
Shan’t: I’m pretty sure they picked “Titans” as a nickname solely based on alliteration.
Shane: Pretty cool uniforms and merchandise despite having a dreadful combination of red and puke yellow. History and tradition. An owner willing to spend money.
Shan’t: Is it more racist to cheer for the Redskins or against the Redskins?
So, where does this leave us?
It looks like these are Shane’s best options: Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Green Bay, Indianapolis, New England, New York Jets, Philadelphia, Tennessee and Washington.
Looking at the other major sport franchises in each area, we can eliminate Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Tennessee (no NBA teams). Of the remaining teams, I can’t let him root for Dallas because that’s just too wrong since they’re so popular, and I can’t let him root for Indianapolis because something just seems wrong about that.
Arizona and Detroit will probably never be good, New England is out since he cheered for the Giants in the Super Bowl and Cory has dibs on Philadelphia (despite his newfound love for the Patriots). And as much as I like Shane, he’d just look goofy in Packers gear, leaving us with Chicago and the Jets.
He can’t go wrong either way, but since I’ve liked the Bears for 22 years and still have to share them with Sparky and this Dotson character (who I fully believe is a work of fiction), that leaves Shane with one choice: the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets.
But I know Shane. There’s not a chance in the world he’ll make this logical move. Let’s face it — his loyalties are silver in black. There’s only one team I’ll recognize as “Shane’s Team,” and that’s the Raiders, no matter where they play.
Now that we have that settled, we can only hope to solve his unexplainable infatuation with Ann Coulter.