by Paul Semendinger
January 15, 2022
I have shared that I’m not a huge football fan. I enjoy watching some NFL games each year, but I don’t design my Sundays around football.
That being said, there are a few teams and/or players I root for, and now that the playoffs have arrived, I am a bit more interested in the games.
There are two games I am interested in this weekend.
But first, a look back.
I became a big football fan in 1982. I fell in love with the sport and loved it with a passion. My favorite football memories still mostly come from that season.
The Jets became my favorite team. The New York Sack Exchange was awesome. I loved Mark Gastineau’s sack dance. Richard Todd, to me, was a great quarterback. And Freeman McNeil was the greatest runner ever.
Those Jets were fun to root for.
I also loved the Redskins, or grew to love them as I watched them march through the playoffs. Well, as I watched John Riggins march them through the playoffs.
Riggins up the middle.
Man, I LOVED that.
John Riggins became my favorite player, and still is. He was THE BEST.
When he ran for that touchdown in the Super Bowl against the Dolphins, it was pure magic.
John Riggins will always be my favorite football player.
I used to rank my favorite football teams.
It was the Jets (1), Redskins (2), 49’ers (3), and Steelers (4). I also liked the Packers. I thought they were cool.
At the time, I thought if you liked the Jets you had to root against the Giants.
(It seemed logical at the time.)
I liked the 49ers because I rooted for them in the previous Super Bowl and Joe Montana was great. I liked the Steelers because I had rooted for them as a real little kid in previous Super Bowls and because they also has so many cool players like Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Mean Joe Green, and Lynn Swann.
I had a sense the Packers had a great history, but maybe it was the uniforms, or Lynn Dickey. I thought he was also a great quarterback.
I liked the Chargers too. Dan Fouts was awesome!
I never loved football like I love baseball, but I was into it big time.
I will say, in those 1980’s years, watching the Yankees come close and fail at the end of each season and then watching the Jets do the same grew frustrating.
When the NFL strike hit, I was in college, often traveling a bit on Sundays and I lost interest in the sport at that time.
I’d come back to football occasionally over the years, watching big games, big players, and rooting for my favorite teams from the past.
I did grow to also be a Giants fan.
Or rather, I became a fan of good football and the Giants played some very good football.
I also never stopped rooting against the Cowboys.
As my youngest son took an interest in football, he was drawn to the Patriots. It made sense. That also drew my interest.
I started to root for them because he did.
And slowly, I became a fan. Or somewhat of a fan.
I like to root for greatness.
The Patriots were the Yankees of the NFL. Yeah, I wanted them to keep winning.
Tom Brady, to me at least, was the Derek Jeter of the NFL. I wanted him to win too.
The Jets, well, they’ve been a disaster. Although this season gives me some hope for next year. I think they have a great coach. I’m not sure about their quarterback.
The Redskins (Washington Football Team) didn’t give me anything to root for after John Riggins, except for a fun Super Bowl with Doug Williams, and one year when RG !!! was exciting. I have no interest there any longer.
I still like the Steelers tradition, although I was never a big fan of Big Ben.
The 49er’s don’t interest me at all.
But the Packers do…
I liked Brett Favre and I love the excitement that Aaron Rodgers brings to ever game.
I like watching greatness.
This weekend, I’ll be rooting for the following:
Raiders at Bengals: I probably won’t watch this game, but I’ll root for the Bengals here. This is more that I liked Boomer Esiason more than Jim Plunkett or Ken Stabler (even though that makes no sense today…or ever).
Patriots at Bills: GO PATRIOTS! I root for greatness and I like to see great coaches win. Go Pats. Go Mac Jones! Go Bill Belichick!
Eagles at Buccaneers: This is the game I care the most about. Go Tom Brady! I hope he sets every NFL quarterback record again and then again. I hope he does win Super Bowls into his 50’s. Go Gronk too!
49ers at Cowboys: I always root against the Cowboys. That comes from when I first watched the Steelers and continued with the epic battles with Riggins and the Cowboys. Go 49ers.
Steelers at Chiefs: This one is harder for me. My heart wants the Steelers, but I also root for greatness and I want the Chiefs to keep winning. The Steelers aren’t every good so it’s pretty much a given that the Chiefs will win anyway.