This week, at work, I started the process of choosing an NFL team to follow. I've been here before. Not too many times in recent years, thankfully, but I have more motivation this time around.
It's 12 years since I was last serious about the sport of American Football. Lives intervened.
Besides, such is the active lifespan of a profession sportsman - especially an American Football player - I'm guessing that everyone I knew of at that time will have retired.
Messy thought processes follow immediately:
Rather than begin the search this time by grappling with rivalries between the teams of people I know, I decided to apply a bit of lateral thinking; I asked Google for advice!
"nfl team chooser" is the search criterion I employed. A sensible starting point. I'd hoped to be guided by question and answer sessions and I was not disappointed.
Now, the first 3 pages of results provided me with 15 usable sites, or at least choices.
The company's IT infrastructure firewalled the tenth hit as 'tasteless', and the 2 random selection processes picked the Giants (discounted immediately, because reasons.)
I answered a good number of questions on the sites; some general 'what's your favourite colour' through questions assuming trivial general Football knowledge, to team balance and squad selection. Some I'll freely admit I had to guess at - especially those needing current squad knowledge; I get only 1/2 hour for lunch, and the season's approaching fast!
I got a list. A list of 12 teams.
Rather than list 'em here I'll simply mention I applied a simple statistical analysis: tallying by Conference and Division. Simple. None in NFC South; one each in AFC East and North, NFC North; two each in AFC South, West, NFC East; three in the NFC West.
Interesting, that last one. I'd been mulling over choosing the all-new LA Rams - the only team in that division not picked by my scientific* approach. I was a fan of the 49ers not long after I started watching the sport. I looked forward to seeing their Super Bowl 'Threepeat'. When they failed me I needed another team.
The Cowboys' preceding 1-15 season made my choice easy. I watched the Jerrys' team go all the way. Satisfying, that.
I did other things too, about which I've previously blogged.
Ok, this is where things get complicated!
We had visitors at work all this week. From Topeka. Kansas. USA.
Yeah. They were united in their recommendation:
The. Kansas. City. Chiefs!
I'll be honest, I'd never really considered supporting AFC teams. The pre-champion Bills and Broncos both came closest.
Underdogs both, see.
So, a toss-up between 2 teams: The Los Angeles (recently ex-St Louis Missouri) Rams, or the Kansas City (Missouri again!) Chiefs?
The Rams are currently rubbish though their move might, in time, fix that. The Chiefs are currently quite good, thus might automatically disqualify themselves.
I need a set of playoff rules. Would a whole season be appropriate? A period of observation, hoping I can choose at the end.
September to January. 32 games, though my choice will likely be made much earlier - a performance-related bonus. Playoffs would be pleasing but hey, I'll be happy enough if I last the course.
One big thing; the Topeka guys mentioned sending me a Chiefs Jersey. A great gesture, one I definitely appreciate even if it doesn't happen. Why? They started a train of thought, and that's better than any outsize sporting garment!
As, potentially, the newest fan they know I'm already aware that chaos theory will inevitably make an unwelcome appearance. Whilst I wouldn't necessarily object being the group scapegoat (I am, after all, thousands of miles away) a 'No pressure' existence suits me better.
At least for season 1. I'll need time to acclimatise.
But indecision is easy. A tiebreaker might be needed.
So now, finally, to bitter rivalries. Which team's fans harbour the strongest, burningest, most long-standingest hatred for the Chiefs‽
A rhetorical question? Nope.