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How to Survive When Your Team’s Not in the NFL Championship 2023

By Diane M. Obusek – Guest Blogger, Teacher, and Writing Consultant

Original Date: 2/2/23


Hello sports fans, and welcome back to the IE Sports Radio Blog. If you’re not a Chiefs, Bengals, Eagles, or 49ers fan, then this blog is for you! Don’t feel bad, as I’m a three-time member of this Club. The oldest of five children, I grew up in a family with a mom who loved football. She was the ninth of ten children, born to Czechoslovakian immigrants in Tarentum, Pennsylvania. If my Mom was born in the late 20th or 21st Century, she’d probably be a power forward in the WNBA. She was extremely competitive and losing was never an option.

My Dad was not an NFL fan, but he did enjoy supporting the local minor league baseball team. He loved spending a summer evening in the stands of Sal Maglie Stadium, named for the MLB pitcher born in Niagara Falls, New York. I’ll never forget him asking us to change the channel during Super Bowl XXVI, when the Buffalo Bills were losing to the Washington then Redskins now Commanders. Even though his daughter, Patti, Bills’ Superfan, was sitting in the stands after a harrowing bus trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota, he wanted to watch Beavis and Butthead instead!

What does my family’s sports viewing choices have to do with your NFL Team not going to the Super Bowl? If you recall, I mentioned that I have three teams not in this race. How can I follow three teams? This doesn’t seem fair. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved horses, so my three NFL Teams were the Dallas Cowboys, the Denver Broncos, and the Indianapolis (formerly Baltimore) Colts. My Mom loved the Pittsburgh Steelers, and when we moved to Niagara Falls, she adopted the Buffalo Bills. My Brother Greg’s team is the Kansas City Chiefs. Mary, my beloved Sister who died from ovarian cancer in 2021, loved the Chicago Bears and the Bills. She was befriended by retired Bill’s linebacker, Lorenzo Alexander. Their friendship provided much needed inspiration and comfort during her illness. Finally, my youngest Brother, John, is a Buffalo Bills fan, tough to do when you live in New York Giants country, Binghamton. New York.

Obviously, none of my horse teams are in the championship games. Will I still watch the play-offs? Of course, and I recommend you do the same! Watching a game when your team isn’t participating can be an extremely beneficial experience. I’ve learned so much watching the Manningcast, and not just because Peyton Manning is my favorite quarterback. Compare your team’s players to those on other teams. Which player would improve your team’s roster? Watch the coach’s calls on fourth and one. Do they go for first down yardage? Kick a field goal? Punt? Do you agree with the referee’s calls? Are you more objective when you don’t have a horse (or a horse team) in the race? If your team is in the AFC, maybe you’ll enjoy following an NFC Team. Obviously, you don’t need to pick them to beat your heart team if they play each other next season.

If you’re a Bill’s fan, my advice may not apply. The story did not have the ending you deserved. Take the off season to heal. I do want the Bills to win, except when they’re playing my teams. In my objective estimation, the Bills need a stronger offensive line. Josh Allen should not be expected to carry the weight of the team or the city on his back. His play reminds me of the group projects I dreaded in college. “Oh, don’t worry. Josh will do the work. He’ll get us another win.” He’s still so young, but his talent and strength won’t last forever. Provide him with the protection he deserves. The Bills could also use another WR as an open target for Josh. Any possible UFAs that would fit under the salary cap? A gentle reminder, April 27th is not that far away.

If watching other teams in the Super Bowl is too painful, have your own ”Souper Bowl”! Gather some like-minded friends with everyone bringing their favorite slow cooker soups, chilis, sides or desserts. Watch a comedy or a sports movie. Play some board games. Life is too short to sit on the sidelines.

The reason most of us love sports is for the hope and promise of the next season. My favorite sport is Thoroughbred Racing. The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes are for three-year old horses who only have one chance to run in the Triple Crown races. Thoroughbred Racing has endured many challenges over the past few years. We still have a long way to go. I’ll always love the horse more than the sport and am dedicated to improving welfare and retirement options for Thoroughbreds. Sorry, when I’m talking horses, I get easily distracted.

So, if you’re still feeling low, always remember that for your team, unlike my Thoroughbreds, there’s always next season. Just ask Detroit Lions fans like my Aunt Joanne. I won’t be shocked if they’re in the playoffs next year. My mantra for next season is, “Out of the worst, the best can come.” Wishing you a relaxing and inspiring off season. For my horse teams, I think we can use a few players and definitely three new coaches. And you thought your team had problems! May all your red zone plays result in a score. Thank you all for reading, and we will see you next time on IE Sports Radio; your direct feed for ALL that is sports.



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