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Quick Inside Slant: Divisional Round

Impressions of the 2016 NFL Season as perceived by a Creative Writing graduate student, part-time amateur stand-up comedian and collegiate intramural flag football legend.

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By: Dustin Fisher

It looks like Romo has indeed taught Dak everything he knows.
Why We Watch

Before I had kids, I used to watch five football games every week. Three on Sunday at 1, 4, and 8, the Monday Night game, and the Thursday night game, even though it seemed like Jacksonville was almost always playing. Once I had kids, I’d record the games and I probably had cut down to maybe three or four, usually on tape delay in the middle of the night. I tried to continue that this season, but other things started to become more important. And not necessarily the more noble endeavors you’d think they might be – binge watching the Gilmore Girls on Netflix, playing Magic Duels online, and reading Trump’s twitter feed and throwing up are among the most time-consuming. For some reason, watching football (and subsequently writing about it) just wasn’t as important to me as it used to be. I wondered why.

Seriously Jared Cook, what field presence you have!

Had the quality of games been diluted by all the new rules and penalties? Were the games not as competitive as in the past? Had the sport just finally run its course with me and I was done with it, much like my childhood obsession with mazes and dinosaurs? I wondered aloud as I constructed my Artifact deck to the sounds of Rory going off to Yale (SPOILER ALERT). And then came the playoffs.
I was thankfully busy most of wild card weekend. I skimmed through some of the Raiders/Texans game just to see if anybody would win. Somebody did. But the average margin of victory of the four games was the biggest of any wild card weekend ever (19), and that sucks for ratings, which were down double-digit points from last season, whatever that means. The fire was not coming back.

Divisional Saturday had a little more intrigue. I was curious to see if the Falcons could avenge the Richard Sherman no call from Week 8 and I also wanted to see which team would show up to play the Patriots because I had forgotten who won. But both of those games sucked too.

Then came Sunday. The Packers/Cowboys game. I wasn’t sure who I was really rooting for in the beginning. On one hand, it would be nice to see the Packers win another Superbowl so Rodgers can officially knock Favre off his ivory tower. But on the other hand, it would be fun to see the Cowboys win the Superbowl, so Tony Romo could be the next Drew Bledsoe, coincidentally the guy he replaced ten years ago. What would he even do with that ring?

Anyway, the Cowboys fell into a huge hole early and dug out only to have Green Bay go ahead with 1:30 left. Then Dak did it. He got them into field goal range and they tied it up with 30 seconds left. But then, Rodgers got the ball back. And first, there was the screen. But then there was the sack, which would have made about 31 other quarterbacks fumble. And on the next play, Rodgers turned his back to the field and you just had to assume the game was going to overtime. But HOLY CRAP, DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN?!?! Replay after replay and Cook’s feet kept landing in bounds. And Rodgers can be seen in the background on his tiptoes trying to help him out like I do in bowling with varied results. This is why we watch the games.

I’m not sure why I didn’t feel as connected to the sport as I had in past years. Maybe it was just that the games weren’t as competitive this season. Or maybe it’s the magic pull of Stars Hollow. But when you sift through 35-50 games a season, it’s totally worth it when you get one with as much drama as last week’s game. It’s like a great movie ending, but it’s impossible to script, making it many times more dramatic. And lately, Aaron Rodgers has been the David Fincher of the NFL. It’s must-see TV whenever he’s on. Granted, not every game is Fight Club, but he’s always good for Seven. And that is why I’ll be watching The Game tomorrow (the football game, not the also excellent Fincher movie).

Oh yeah, that Steelers/Chiefs game wasn’t so bad either.

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Dustin Fisher is a writer, comedian, storyteller, and stay-at-home dad. Follow along with his dad blog at http://daddyneedsanap.com/ or buy his first book, Daddy Issues.

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Dustin Fisher is an amateur standup comedian, storyteller, freelance writer, and stay-at-home dad, all of which are just better ways of saying “unemployed.” He worked in the area of collegiate recreation for the previous 14 years at UMBC, Miami University and the University of Baltimore. There, he became somewhat of a folk legend on the flag football field and actually got paid to play fantasy football. Dustin is currently in the MFA program at the University of Baltimore seeking a Masters degree in Creative Writing. He has made contributions to various publications including The Good Men Project and the Baltimore Fishbowl. For more about Dustin, check out his stay-at-home dad website, Daddy Needs a Nap. Dustin lives with his wife and daughter in New Carrollton, MD in a house surrounded by too many trees to get the Dish Network.

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