The Armchair Quarterback's Guide To The NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round

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Jan 4, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) celebrates on the field after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44 to win the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Armchair Quarterback’s Take Of The Week

The Agony Of Defeat Is 100% Worth It

Last Sunday the team I fanatically follow, write about, and obsess over was not only bounced from the playoffs, but done so in agonizing fashion. See, as weekly readers of the Armchair Quarterback are well aware, I am a Kansas City Chiefs fan. As my team choked away a 28 point third quarter lead, I was utterly devastated. I fumed, I sulked, I said words I don’t normally say. It was as infuriating and depressing of a loss as I’ve ever experienced and this is coming from someone who hasn’t seen a playoff win in 20 years!

For a few brief moments I actually wondered to myself which was worse, the 2-14 laughing stock season of a year ago or this team that got my hopes up and then ripped my heart right out of my chest? Of course, as the immediate rage and despair began to subside I realized that this season had been 100 times more enjoyable than last year’s debacle. What’s more, I realized that the heartbreak was worth it.

Like many of you reading this, I’ve never seen my favorite team win a championship. If you have, count yourself fortunate, because it’s something many of us can’t take for granted. However, the fact that I’ve suffered through the heartache will just make winning that much sweeter when (and I must believe that it is “when” and not “if”) my team finally wins it all.

Think of it this way. Who enjoyed their team winning more, a Red Sox fan who had suffered through years of falling short when they finally won their first World Series or a Yankee fan who has probably seen five titles in the past 15 years? I’m not saying that Yankee fans haven’t been elated when their team won, but I imagine that there is just something incredibly gratifying about sticking with a team through the hard times (and by times I mean decades of losing) and finally getting to see them reach the top.

I would imagine fans of teams like the Lions and Bengals can relate. If you’ve been a lifelong season ticket holder for the Lions and sat through the 0-16 season for every brutal snap, can you imagine how much you would enjoy seeing them win a Super Bowl?

I’ll take the heartache and the mocking (I’ve already come to terms with the fact that some Chargers fan will probably mock me mercilessly in the comments for writing this) year after year over being “trendy team guy”. You know the guy I’m talking about. I was just a kid when I met my first one of these guys. This kid is giving me crap about liking the Chiefs and the Royals and when I ask him who his favorite teams were he replied “The Yankees, Lakers, Cowboys, Duke basketball, and Miami football”.

I am the least violent person you will ever meet and literally haven’t been in any sort of physical altercation since I was like 10 years old, but to this day I get an overwhelming urge to punch these types of fans.

I want to stop a second and talk directly to anyone reading this that might be “that guy”.

You are officially the worst type of sports fan in the history of the universe and every other true sports fan judges you, loathes you, and makes fun of you when you aren’t around. If you grew up in some place like Minnesota and have lived there your entire life, but your favorite sports teams are currently the Miami Heat, the St. Louis Cardinals, the New England Patriots, Kentucky Basketball, and Alabama Football………everyone hates you, at least when it comes to sports.

I’m not saying that you can only cheer for the team closest to you, but pick a team and stick with them, for good. It’s okay if they have down years (or 20….sigh), that’s what being a real fan is about. You stick with your team through the good and the bad. Sticking with them through the bad is what makes the good feel like the best thing in the world. After the agony of 2-14 last season do you know how amazing it felt when KC was 9-0? I was literally on top of the world.

The Indianapolis Colts brought a crushing end to my team’s dream season, but that’s okay. I’ll take the pain. I’ll take the insults. I’m sticking with my team, I can’t help it. Someday that loyalty will pay off. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. I know a lot of you can relate. That passion is what makes sports so great. I know that those of you “bandwagoners” out there think you are getting all the best parts of being a sports fan by cheering for all the winning teams, but I would argue that you’re actually missing the best part and don’t even know it.

Now onto the divisional round predictions for this weekend………

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    Lyle , one of the best articles you’ve ever written , pretty much sums up the way I feel about every ” fan” of the flavor of the year teams . That’s why I respect the Charger fans and honestly hope they do well. The Chiefs game Saturday ripped my heart out for a couple days , but 2-14 ruined a WHOLE SEASON for me . Can’t wait to see what’s in store for next season . GO CHIEFS

    • Lyle Graversen

      Thanks man, keep the faith!

  • Tomi

    Amen Lyle!!! I’ve been a die hard Bengal fan since 1982 & definitely feel your pain! I’ve listened to them on the radio many times due to black outs. I will always stand up for my team and root for them. I agree whole heartily but would like to add one thing. I DESPISE the people who bad mouth our team, then when they start winning they’re all Who Dey! Only to be the first ones to bad mouth them they lose. They boo, don’t watch unless they’re winning & I’m thinking you jerk, you don’t even have a clue about what being a true fan is! Thanks for writing this article! I bet you got a lot of frustration off your chest. I did! 7 months until playoffs and we’ll get to see our beloved teams again!!!

    • Lyle Graversen

      The venting can be very therapeutic! There’s always next year, right?

      • Tomi

        Hey Lyle, I’d like get your thoughts on something that’s really been a thorn in my side. Last night watching the Colts at the Patriots there were 2 blatant penalties not called on the Pats! I know they’re going to miss things, but come on! Then at some point the commentators referred to the Pats as the darlings of the AFC! Ugh I thought I’d get sick! I was very annoyed as I’ve never gotten over the scandal years ago & thought Bellenck should have been kicked out of the NFL! Anyway, I’ve noticed this year the refs have been horrible at their job! I think bad calls most definitely change the outcome of games. Not only can teams lose field position and potential points, I also think it changes momentum in a lot of cases. My question is, does the powers that be acknowledge this? Do you know if there’s any talks of fixing this glaring problem? Watching the Orange Bowl last weekend I noticed those refs where spot on! Something needs to be done about these refs! It’s taking so much away from football for me! Could it be they’re a bit too old to do this job? Need glasses? How about replays or allowing coaches to challenge calls OR non calls? Just wondering if you have any inside info on this growing problem as I know you’re WELL aware of it as well. The late game, sorry I’m rooting for the Chargers. I’m sick of Peyton Manning & would like to see new blood win for once. Hence I hope Tom Brady & the cheating Patriots lose next week. Enjoy the games today!

  • J K

    Great article and this comes from a Raider Fan who by the way has been to KC to see a Raider- Chiefs game, good fans and BBQ too.
    Yes I know your pain as it’s been over Ten Years since the Raiders were relavent and yet I am a Fan and will remain one hoping wishing for better days!
    As far as the playoffs, I can respect the teams that make it BUT I can’t wish my AFC West rivals to accomplish something I want for my Raiders! This leaves me rooting for Indy in the AFC and and the Saints on the other side!
    Go Raiders, see you next year!

    • Lyle Graversen

      Thanks JK, I appreciate the feedback. I know the Raiders have suffered too. You seem like a good guy so I hate to wish your team continued struggles. Let’s just say I’m hoping my team makes it to the promised land before yours!

      • J K

        Fair enough Lyle! I was treated pretty nice overall by KC Fans when I was there.
        The AFC West produced Three Playoff Teams this year!
        Let the best competitor rise to the top! Just Win Baby!

        • Lyle Graversen

          Well said!

  • Bill Stowers

    Welcome to the life of a dolphins fan who is young enough (18) to only really see them make the playoffs once. Haha. And they always seem to lose in the most agonizing way possible. Anyway im from indianapolis and for years i got to watch peyton and the colts carve up every team they faced. And now luck who seems to win no matter the odds. I guess some franchises “get it” and others dont lol. Anyway great article. And still being in highschool i know how you feel about the trend fans. I want to punch every miami heat fan i see. Haha

  • anon76returns

    As a Broncos fan who lived through 4 Super Bowl disappointments (not to mention 12 years of AFC futility), there was no sweeter moment than seeing the Broncos beat the HEAVILY favored Packers in the Super Bowl. Totally made the previous 13 years of Elway’s career worth it, even the agonizing loss to Jacksonville in the Playoffs the year prior.

    • ahrcshaw

      Not a Bronco’s nor Elway’s fan, but I remember it well. Go Panthers.

  • ahrcshaw

    Well now that you are through with your ranting and your dismay of the Kansas loss you ended up brain dead as well. Picking the 49ers over my Panthers just does not get it with your simple 7 wins lately and experience. That statement is as bad as saying the Panthers have an experience in loosing games and that is why they will loose?

    There is no question this is going to be a hard game for both teams to win, but the Panthers are at home, they are well past being hungry for attention, they are the underdog, the players are playing for pride, the coaching staff needs more recognition to win Coach of the year, they have won 10 out of their last 11 games, and I said they will win. “If” always and “If”, if Cam plays as well as he played against the Vikes the Panthers may well blow the 49ers off the field. Cam has been playing well, Cam has come through in the end of some recent games and pulled a trick out of his hat, but “If” his passing accuracy goes up to 70 or 75% in this game the 49er’s do not stand a chance of winning. My thinking is Cam is going to put together the best 3 games of his young carrier starting with this game against the 49ers. “If” that happens the 49er’s 7 wins and experience is for naught.

    Go Panthers and pound those 49ers.

    • Lyle Graversen

      Sorry it took me a while to get back to you, but you’re right that I didn’t give a lot of detail on why I think the 49ers will win, so let me try to better explain. When they played the first time it was a one point game and in that game the niners were without Crabtree and Davis went down in the 2nd quarter. Plus, I feel like Kaepernick went through a little bit of a midseason funk that he snapped out of after Crabtree came back. So without Crabtree and Davis (for over half the game) and with their QB not playing his best, they lost by one point. I think they’ll be better this weekend. Plus, the fact that they are playoff tested I think they are less likely to make a costly mental error in the game compared to Cam and Rivera who don’t have the playoff experience. I think it will be a great game and I certainly won’t be surprised if Carolina wins, but I stand by my pick of the 49ers.

      Thanks for reading and I appreciate the response.

      • ahrcshaw

        Reasonable, buuuuuuuut, I can remember an article where in a WR was catching flak from reporters because he had a bad stats and his response was “If the ball never came to me how would you expect me to catch it”. I wonder what Crabtee etal will say after the game. Sounds a little like Yoga Bera, “you win the game when you won it” and “it is never over until it is over”. By the way Cam did not play well either, and experience is a mind game, I have been there, done that so now what, it is meaningless. Some Panthers have the experience as well. Performing well is a different matter which requires being constant, of which neither Kaep or Cam have done. I’ll go with Cam. I enjoyed the conversation Go Panthers and pound those 49ers

        • Lyle Graversen

          Fair enough, we’ll see how it plays out on the field, regardless I expect a great game. I appreciate the comments!

          • ahrcshaw

            I enjoy the conversation as well and will be pulling for my Panthers. I will be looking forward to your next commentary and a upppps picked the wrong team. Have a safe and good day, Go Panthers and pound those 49ers

  • ahrcshaw

    By the way I look forward to your comments. Have a good one.