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The Armchair Quarterback's Guide To The NFL: Week 3

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Sep 15, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) scores the game-winning touchdown past Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook (20) during the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. The Bears won 31-30. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Armchair Quarterback Take Of The Week

NFL Fans Should Enjoy Every Win Their Team Gets

The Scene: Soldier Field, Chicago

The Bears are down 24-30 to the visiting Minnesota Vikings. With time winding down and facing a 3rd -and-10 from the 16 yard line, Jay Cutler drops back and floats a perfectly placed ball to tight end Martellus Bennett who brings it in just inside the pile on for a game-winning touchdown. The crowd goes absolutely crazy.

I know, I was there.

If you’ve read the first two Armchair Quarterback columns then you know that I’m actually a die-hard Kansas City Chiefs fan, so I didn’t have a routing interest in either team in this game. I found myself pulling for the Bears, because the energy and passion of the fan base there was infectious and reminded me a lot of my own beloved Arrowhead Stadium. It was actually my first ever NFL game that didn’t involve the Chiefs, so it was the first time I ever left a stadium neither riding the high of a victory or feeling the agony of defeat. I was able to really step back and observe the fan reaction, and what a reaction it was.

Bears fans were hooting and hollering through the halls of Soldier Field, slapping each other on the back with big smiles on their faces. Some were even singing the Chicago Bears fight song (if that is what they call it?) “BEAR DOWN….CHICAGO BEARS” (It’s actually pretty catchy). As long as you weren’t a Vikings fan, it was a joy to watch.

“I love that feeling!” I thought to myself, remembering a Monday Night Football victory against San Diego from 2010 when Chiefs fans filled the concourses with the Tomahawk Chop chant all the way out to the parking lot.

As a sports fan, there is no better feeling in the world.

However, too often, the feeling is fleeting.

In addition to having my spirits boosted by the throngs of Bears fans basking in their latest victory, I was also enjoying the fact that my own team had just moved to 2-0 on the season with a one point victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Confession time: I actually watched the game-winning Martellus Bennett TD catch through a concourse window because I left my seat to go find a TV with the Chiefs game on since it was so close. I’m not sure if I deserve credit for being such a dedicated fan or grief for abandoning my seat for such a great game. Judge me as you will.

Back to my original point…

When I returned to my hotel in Chicago and began making the rounds on the Internet to see the reaction to the Chiefs win, I was stunned to find there were actual Kansas City fans out there that were still not happy. Now, this is a vocal minority, but I was still shocked.

“We got lucky, once teams realize that Alex Smith can’t throw the ball more than 15 yards they’ll pack it in to clog the run game and short pass game and we’ll be done for.”

“Our best cornerback (Brandon Flowers) got owned by Dez Bryant all day long and if Dez doesn’t drop that last deep ball we would have lost.”

I’m sure every fan base has these fans. I’m sure among the happy mob of Bears fans there were those grumbling about the turnovers and kick return for a touchdown that they allowed. I’m sure there were Ravens fans upset about their close call against the Browns. I’m sure there were Texans fans that were upset that they had to pose a dramatic late win for the second week in a row.

I’m not saying that NFL fans should be ignorant to their team’s flaws. I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place to discuss and vent about the perceived shortcomings. What I’m saying is that even for a good, playoff caliber team, there are only 10-12 times in a calendar year where you get to celebrate a win.

Think about that…

We spend countless hours watching, reading, listening and blogging about these teams that we love seven days a week and 12 months a year. With all those countless hours invested in these teams, we only get a handful of times where we get to really celebrate them. Only one team will win the Super Bowl. That means only one fan base gets that ultimate satisfaction that we are all craving. So unless we want this football addiction that we’re all inflicted with to bring us nothing but misery, we have to be able to enjoy what victories that we get.

After all, what good is a pastime if it brings us ten times the misery it does happiness?

I get that sometimes it’s warranted. Trust me, I understand. My team went 2-14 last season, had a coach that tried to fix things by hanging a sign in the locker room that said “Eliminate Bad Football” and when that didn’t work he changed the sign to “Play Good Football.” — seriously, that really happened. There was a fan revolt where they wore all black to games and flew banners over the stadium, one of the players committed a murder/suicide and they got the first overall pick in a draft that didn’t have anyone worthy of the first overall pick.

I know all too well just how bad things can be.

That’s why I’m enjoying my team’s 2-0 start even though I recognize that they have flaws. I understand that the Chiefs won’t likely make a Super Bowl run, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the wins that they do get.

So whether your team is 0-2, 1-1 or 2-0, if they win this coming week, enjoy it. There are only a few times per year where you get to high five your buddies after a game. Only a few times to sing “BEAR DOWN….CHICAGO BEARS” or do the Tomahawk Chop out to the parking lot. Enjoy it, it’s the best feeling there is in following a team.

At the very least, if you can’t enjoy it, stop bringing the rest of us down. There will be time to discuss the problems the team has as we start to look ahead to next week.

Speaking of which, now on to this week’s game predictions…

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