HOUSE OF PAIN
(I just turned on my notifications for subscribers (I think-I checked a box at least). You all need to know my rambling is now done, and my three posts this year are all non-numbered focused articles-welcome back).
In the 2018 of FOCUS for The Fillerbuster, I need obviously something to trigger my focus article. Well, the sports world DID luckily. So, here we go.
Saturday was an interesting day in sports. A year removed from having a couple road NFL wildcards advance, we thought it couldn’t happen again, right? And when the Chiefs opened up a 21-3 halftime lead against the Titans, we thought we were right. We weren’t. Pain was delivered to the Chiefs fan base, in an awkward and personal way no one thought was possible.
The Titans came back and won that game. The Chiefs offense became a shell of itself, mainly because of the Travis Kelce injury, eliminating any middle of the field openings. Kareem Hunt couldn’t help solve this problem. The Titans came back, and even threw in a Mariota pass and catch TD score (on the same play) to boot. ALL before the eyes of home fans in one of the toughest home NFL venues we have ever seen.
On the same day, the Browns had a parade for being 0-16. Who would you rather be? A Chiefs fan SO close to playing the Pats next week and blowing a huge lead, or a Browns fan knowing that they will lose a lot…again…next year.
It made me think about different TYPES of team sports pain fans experience. I then thought about it today at breakfast, classifying different types of pain within the sports world. Not saying this is the end all be all list, as I made it up as I went, but identifying mentally specific game examples of each occurrence helped me brainstorm. I came up with the following. The types overlap and the names of the pain aren’t the catchiest, but you can write your own blog if you disagree.
Jealous is the feeling you get from OTHER fan bases from that situation. With that, I mean that other fan bases might be JEALOUS you were even IN that situation. They WISH their team was put in the same situation late season in a game that counted. Basically, they won’t feel bad for you. This occurs most frequently when your team is IN the playoffs and at least has a shot at doing something special. This occurs when at least YOU had that week of buildup of HOPE. This occurs when you aren’t a bottom feeder after the season. This occurs with every team in every playoffs EXCEPT the winner. This occurred this weekend with the Chiefs. To be up that much at HOME, and blow it yet again (at home), is baffling to say the least.
Not the best name for this I am sure, but this is for OU fans (not like me who married INTO the fan base, but real, true fans). Situational pain occurs when there is another step where YOUR team could have made the game better. Not only does less of the population outside of Athens, GA care about tomorrow’s college football championship game because A) it is all SEC and B) because UGA offense is one dimensional and falls into Bama’s defensive plan, but OU would be the BETTER matchup. What does Bama have trouble stopping? Spread formations and mobile QB’s. What is OU? That. What is UGA? Runs and a freshman pocket passer filling in the blanks. My wife might not even WATCH the game tomorrow, and I don’t blame her and probably wouldn’t be able to either. It will pain OU fans during tomorrow’s game. What could have been summarizes this type of pain.
This is for teams who TRY and don’t classify their efforts as “rebuilding.” This, is for teams like the Browns. They draft, trade, and try to win every single year. They just CAN’T. Other fan bases sometimes can look at these fans and feel better about THEIR situation. You feel sadness, because they have never or rarely been there, and there is no uplifting ceiling in immediate sight. These are the lovable losers.
This depends on your age sometimes, but these are teams where they USED to win all the time, but now somehow can’t hit the side of a barn with their shots. Typically, their “losing” is to a lesser degree, but the fan base is spoiled to some degree. And now they are mediocre or subpar. This could be UCLA basketball in a way. This could be the 49ers to a degree. This would be the Bears right now. This could be the Bulls, the Lakers, the Suns, and the Mavericks in NBA basketball. How about the Reds and Giants in MLB? How about the Oilers or Canucks in the NHL? The list goes on.
UNRECOVERABLE or SHATTERED PAIN:
This is when your team WAS on the doorstep and blew it. This is differentiated with my first category because there was no OTHER step. Examples of this could be the 90’s Bills or the 2016-2017 Falcons. The Bills made the final game four straight years. They were the best of their conference by a long shot. Then, they got blitzed in three of those championships, and had the other painful loss in the other one. The Falcons were up 28-3 over a dynasty in the first half of the Super Bowl last year. They blew it also. Will they ever recover? We will see, but even in meaningless games NOW when they get up big, you can feel the nervousness in the stands after last year.
This is when you run into a buzzsaw. This occurs when you couldn’t have done ANYTHING different and won. All of your practiced methodologies went out the window. Take the Brooklyn Dodgers against Don Larsen pitching a perfect game. Take the Braves against Jack Morris. Take the 76ers against Magic Johnson playing center in 1980. Take the Devils and Canucks against Mark Messier in the 1994 Stanley Cup. Take the Dolphins against Kellen Winslow. How about Memphis against Bill Walton or everyone and their mother against Danny Manning in ’88? Or how about Christian’s shot in ’92 against Kentucky?
This pain is rebuilds for an organization. They know they have to do it. Heck, maybe the FAN even knows they have to do it. But, when you don’t have enough chips to play with the chip leaders, you need to reboot. It is nice to know when these rebuilds “end,” but sometimes they don’t. The Astros did it successfully and are now the model. The Sixers ARE doing it. But, all of this rebuild time still doesn’t take away from the necessary pain it inflicts on the fans. You know it is happening, it is out of your control, you hope it ends well, and you know you have a few years of cursing at the television.
BAD BOUNCE PAIN:
Miracle plays. Bad bounces. Controversial calls. Whatever you want to call them. Sometimes things aren’t totally in your control. Whether you cite the Music City Miracle, Steve Bartman, the Hand of God, the judging on Roy Jones in the Olympics, the 1972 Olympics basketball final, the tuck rule, or the five downs given to the Buffs in 1990, sometimes the pain is out of your control.
This one I just thought of when the Bills just lost in front of me. Pain that is created by a proactive decision on staff. What if the Bills hadn’t sat Taylor and started Nathan Peterman that one harmless regular season week? They might have had home field advantage for Wild Card weekend. The time I also think this applies is when a manager takes out a pitcher in the playoffs because of pitch count or hunches. We will never know the answer to these questions, but one thing we DO know. The pain is on THEM.
You are in the wrong place at the wrong time. You are Ken Anderson and the Bengals. You are the Karl Malone and the Jazz. You are a playoff hockey team in the 80’s. You are a college basketball team during the UCLA reign. You are any women’s college hoops team in the last 15 years. You were playing soccer against my Cavaliers in the early 90’s. Sometimes you just play at the same time where another team is making an unprecedented run. This pain is unusual because you have a GREAT team. But, that other person or team just is having THEIR time.
So, all of you pained people out there. Know that you are not alone. Hey, Chiefs fans, at least you aren’t an Eagles fan years ago when they lost THREE straight NFC Championship games, finally DID win, and then blew it in the Super Bowl (TWO types of pain there). We all have our own version of the House of Pain.
CFP QUICK HITTER PREVIEW:
I will keep this short.
- Yes, they will be playing the game 90 miles from home.
- Yes, they are very familiar with the Bama staff.
- Yes, they have the recruiting classes that match up.
- Nick Saban already HAD his oddly distributed “losing year” last year.
- UGA has the strength of running the ball, and Bama excels at stopping the run.
- Fromm is a freshman phenom, but Jalen Hurts already HAD his freshman title game losing experience-he wants to share that feeling.
- The familiarity goes both way unfortunately.
- OU and a spread formation would have given Bama more pain.
- Bama is now relatively healthy
- Ridley is a game changer in this one
Bama wins 27-13. The game will be close, but a late TD by Bama will give them breathing room and the game.
FOCUS ARTICLES NOT MAKING THE CUT:
- UCF claiming a national championship and even having a parade
- Colin Kaepernick
- Broncos QB situation
- Trae Young
- Two consecutive crazy Saturday college hoops days
- Michigan State hoops on the rise
- UVA hoops defense
LINKS I THINK YOU WOULD ENJOY:
That’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed or are at least more informed. Starting Sunday night (to be filled out while watching Sunday football after posting this), all personal and quick hitting sports hooks are under the This And That tab on my site). I am keeping the main blog to ONLY sports. Talk to you next week or whenever I get “triggered” again. Will I blog again? That is a CLOWN question, bro. Peace.