After the dumbest week in the dumbest season in the dumb history of the dumbest sport, the NFL playoffs are set. There are a few noteworthy elements of this year’s bracket: Ron Rivera has once again led a shitty team to the playoffs by virtue of being in a terrible division, the Cleveland Browns are in the playoffs for the first time since 1840, and Tom Brady is still not eating strawberries.
While these narratives should add some flavor to the first week of the playoffs, there’s another one that’s much more important: there is a chance that we could have a Super Bowl that pits Philip Rivers against Alex Smith in what would surely be the most glorious rockfight between two twilit quarterbacks since Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson faced off in Super Bowl XXXV. And if you’re not rooting for that outcome, you’re either clinically insane or you prefer to watch football that is good.
Let’s just go through some facts here. For starters, Rivers and Smith (to be sung aloud in a Head And The Heart voice) have been alive for a combined 75 years, and I think that’s beautiful.
Alex Smith, who has done so much game-managing that he has rightly earned the title of Dungeon Master, instigated America’s racial awakening when he was benched in favor of Colin Kaepernick in 2012. He had SEVENTEEN surgeries after his leg injury two years ago. (I know what you’re thinking: that has to be at least two surgeries per Philip Rivers offspring! Well, it is not.) Somehow, he still decided he wanted to come back and play football for a team whose three-letter appellation reads as the sound of quiet fart.
Philip Rivers, on the other hand, spent sixteen fairly prolific years stuck in San Diego because Eli Manning is a mouth-breathing peen, finally leaving last year to take a shot at a ring with a new team. He has the facial expressions of a Blue Mountain State character and the political views of Rick Santorum. That’s not an exaggeration, he literally stumped for Santorum. The politician, not the anal ooze.
For all the immense quarterback talent in this year’s playoffs — Aaron Rodgers, Pat Mahomes, and some other marquee names who, and I cannot stress this enough, can still get the Rodgers Rate and/or the Patrick Price at State Farm — I think it would be fun as hell to see two grizzled, socially conservative veterans duke it out for their last chance to hoist the Lombardi trophy.
Hell, I’ll even take it further than that: these two guys represent the New American Dream. They started their careers in California, realized it sucked ass, and moved back East to settle down with their families and fade away into obscurity. They pulled off the Reverse Steinbeck and stuck the landing.
Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Russell Wilson — sure, they’re fun and all, but this year, I want something different. So, with that in mind, I encourage you to join me in a refrain that has echoed through Corporate America for centuries: give me the mediocre middle-aged white men.