Sportsball: The Weather Report

Before I get into a mighty sports rant, I want to say one thing: I love sports. Despite what I may spew forth like a cloud of poisonous gas, I enjoy the spectacle and the promise of the enduring human spirit that is on display in the great Colosseum of our time. However, I cannot wrap my head around the enormous contracts and elevation-to-deity-status that so often plague professional athletes. I had my little soapbox moment last week, and I have no intention of revisiting those ideas, but I would like to point out that we are quick to forgive some humans and not others. We see heroes and villains where it’s most convenient for us.

“Where the hell is he going with this?” scream the three readers who took the time to check out this column. As I was watching football this weekend, I was struck by the blissfully ignorant position taken by fans of any particular team. There are holds and penalties on every single play of any given game by both teams; it is all about whether or not they are being called. When I watch a fan scream himself hoarse at a bad call, I cannot help but want to point to a bad call that benefited their beloved bastions of virtue, and wonder why they aren’t complaining about the officiating there. The answer, of course, is simple: We selectively care about bad calls. Bad calls that benefit our teams are dreamt of as a balancing boon for previous egregious errors. Bad calls that work in the favor of the opponent are an attack against the purity and fairness of the game.

Now, on to the games of this past weekend: Cleveland winning two games straight after dumping Trent Richardson like a prom date has NFL fans wondering if the Browns management had a plan all along. The 49ers won a divisional game, and already frothing-at-the-mouth NFL pundits are wondering whether they are back on track. Take a breath; it is Week 4 of the season. The Bears took a beating and the Steelers looked more like a wet blanket than a steel curtain. Denver continued its dominance, stepping over teams like they weren’t even there. The Falcons faced a reality check against a fresh-faced receiving core and Tom Brady. Are the Patriots a legit undefeated team? At this point in the season, I think it is too early to tell. All I know is that I will never bet against Tom Brady. The team that stands head-and-shoulders above everyone else (other than the Broncos) is the Seahawks. Their late-game rally to knock off the Texans was masterful. I may not be a Pete Carroll fan, but he is doing something right up in Seattle.

Dan O’Brien wrote more than a dozen novels (all before the age of 30), including the bestselling Bitten, which was featured on Conversations Book Club’s Top 100 novels of 2012. Before starting Amalgam, he was the senior editor and marketing director for an international magazine. In addition, he has spent over a decade in the publishing industry as a freelance editor. He currently teaches psychology at CSU, Chico. You can learn more about Amalgam by visiting his website at: www.amalgamconsulting.com.