The term “football widow,” refers to a woman whose husband, or boyfriend (or both?) neglects her during football season, preferring to laying on the couch in front of the big screen TV clutching the remote while eating chips and drinking beer. (Ironically, Nielsen Ratings reveal that the demographic of women watching football is increasing faster than men so one day there may be a “football widower” phenomenon.)
Either way the next 72 hours could be football heaven. (Or the opposite.) In the NFL, there are eight teams left in the race to the Super Bowl, meaning there will be two crucial contests on Saturday and again on Sunday.
For the topper, on Monday night, there will be the first NCAA Football Playoff Championship when Oregon meets Ohio State. The game will be played at the lavish $1.3 billion ATT Stadium in Arlington, Texas, otherwise known as “Jerry’s World” after the Dallas Cowboys’ controversial owner Jerry Jones. With “standing room” ATT can hold 105,000, which may just happen on Monday night.
Locally, there have been recent developments suggesting the St. Louis Rams, who were here from 1946 to 1994, might return to play in Inglewood. For those too young to remember, long before the Dodgers, Lakers, Angels and Kings, there were the Rams who also won an NFL title in 1951. Movie stars flocked to the games and Bob Hope owned part of the team. The Rams were the toast of the town until it all went sour.
In 1980, when the Rams left to go to Anaheim, I was very discouraged. And then in ’94 when they moved to St. Louis, it broke my NFL heart. But, grossing $11 billion a year, the league seems to have survived fairly well without me. (And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and his $40 million annual salary, is surviving extremely well!)
Regular readers will recall that I’ve been lobbying that when our airport lease runs out in 2015 that instead of a park we turn it into a state-of-the-art stadium so that we can host a Santa Monica Super Bowl. (By “lobbying,” I’ve written two tongue-in-cheek columns on the subject, but I actually wished it could have happened.)
But the Inglewood stadium proposal does in fact have a Santa Monica twist. James Butts, the Mayor of Inglewood who’s promoting the new stadium, was our former Chief of Police, while our current Chief, Jacqueline A. Seabrooks, used to be the Chief of Police of Inglewood.
My heart surgeon friend, Dr. Andy, a Rams fan from his youth insists that if the Rams return they should wear the old distinctive uniforms with the Rams horns on the helmets. I just hope they aren’t called the L.A. Rams of Inglewood.
But back to the games, and let’s start with the NFL Divisional Playoffs. On Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on NBC, Joe Flacco and the Ravens travel to New England to play Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Pats have home-field advantage, but in the past Baltimore has had surprising success.
Also on Saturday, at 5:15 p.m. on Fox, the Carolina Panthers, with Cam Newton at QB take on the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks and QB Russell Wilson. I’d love to see the Ravens pull off an upset, but the Panthers seem to have no chance against the ‘Hawks in Seattle, especially with their legendary rabid and noisy fans.
On Sunday there’s even potentially more glamorous and compelling story lines. At 10 a.m. on Fox the Cowboys, with Tony Romo, invade Green Bay to take on the Packers and Aaron Rodgers, who’s nursing an injured calf muscle but will definitely play.
Then at 1:30 p.m. on CBS the Colts, with Andrew Luck, go into Denver against the Broncos and Peyton Manning, who was the Colts’ legendary QB for 14 seasons! As I don’t care for Jerry Jones, I’ll be rooting for the Packers and think the Broncos will be too much for the Colts.
Finally, on Monday, from Jerry’s World the favored Oregon Ducks, who’ve never won a national championship, take on the Ohio State Buckeyes, who’ve won seven. The game will be on ESPN at 5:30 p.m.
The Championship Game ratings will likely be through the roof as the two semifinal games broke all expectations. (Expect the current “final four” system to expand to the “final eight” very soon, or, as they said in Watergate, “follow the money.”) As a Pac-12 guy, and because I love their hurry-up offense, I’m rooting for the Ducks.
So if you’re one of those football widows (or widowers), this weekend and Monday could be long and lonely. But just remember, this too shall pass. In about 72 hours.
Jack also writes “Laughing Matters,” which appears every Friday. He can be reached at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth or email@example.com.