Pledge of Arbitrary Allegiance

It’s stupid, really.
20+ some odd years ago, I became interested in NFL football. Because Dan Marino was a young phenom at the time, his rookie season, I decided to root for the Miami Dolphins.  Really, for no other reason than Dan Marino looked like a great qb and the Dolphins looked like they were ready to create a dynasty.
The choice stuck, and I’ve been a devout DolFan ever since.  Sometimes I rue that decision.
Sometimes I wish I could cheer for the New England Patriots.  It would make so much more sense for me.  All their games are televised on Boston tv stations, which I receive, so that’d be great.  I’d never have the dilemna of deciding whether or not to pay for NFL Sunday Ticket.  But I can’t.  I can’t cheer for the Pats.  For one, they’re hated division rivals of the Dolphins.  For two, they’re hated division rivals.
They’d be a great team to root for, though.  They’ve had their terrible seasons. Dreadful seasons.  And now, for the past 4 years, they’ve been on top of the world.  Oh how great it’d have been to be a Pats fan for the past 20 years.  Even to be on the opposite side of that sickening snowplow incident.  Oh how I’d love to be able to laugh at DolFans about that.  But I can’t. I wasn’t a Pats fan, and I won’t be.  I’m a Dolphins fan.
But it’s stupid, really.  What’s happened to my brain, my phsyiology, that makes it impossible for me to root, really root, for any other team than the Dolphins?   It was such an arbitrary decision all those years ago, how can it have imbedded itself so deeply into me?
Now, I’m stuck with the NFL Sunday Ticket decision.  Pay money (much needed money) to watch the Dolphins lose probably 12 of 16 games this year?  That’s a tough call.  I’ll likely have to go upstairs to the booth (where my wife makes the final decision) on that one.  But what if they’re the surprise team of the season?  How sweet would it be if Gus Frerotte gets injured in game one and Sage Rosenfels becomes the next Tom Brady?  Shouldn’t I be there, watching and waiting for that highly improbable scenario.  Isn’t 20+ years as a disillusioned and disappointed DolFan worth it?  I don’t know.

Last night, the Pats played the Raiders.  The Raiders are a team I’ve hated (sorry Dylan) since in my mother’s womb, I think.  I still hate them.  Last night, watching the parts of the game I watched, I really found it hard to pick a team to root for.  I think that’s why I ultimately stopped watching it.  Friggin’ Pats win it, of course.  I really thought Randy Moss, with that touchdown pass he caught, was gonna lead the Raiders to victory.  I suppose that’s the outcome I was really wishing for, only because that outcome has a positive affect on my Sage Rosenfels wins the Super Bowl fantasy scenario.

Please forgive me.  I’m a Dolphins Fan. 
I don’t know why.


  1. graham says:

    Perhaps (using this amazing communication forum we can organize it so we all go to one place on sunday that has all the games, and watch it together. We could even all chip in, or go to the sports bar that doesn’t exist.
    But if anyone has the NFL package and some spare room for us, then tell us.


  2. Rob MacD says:

    But who decides which game to focus on each Sunday?


  3. dylan says:

    I know what you mean Rob. I’m a Montreal Expos and Montreal Canadiens fan because my best friend as a kid was one. I’m an Orlando Magic fan because when I decided to start watching the NBA Shaq was a rookie and he fascinated me. I’m an Edmonton Eskimo fan because my father is.

    I watched a lot of NFL before I decided on a favourite team maybe it was because I focused on players in the NFL at first. Even now although I cheer for the Raiders first and foremost I cheer for any number of individuals. Barry Sanders, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Jerry Rice, LaDanian Tomlinson etc. But the reason I chose the Raiders in the end has everything to do with their mystique and image. “Just Win Baby” and “Commitment to Excellence” combined with the maverick owner and their bad reputation. Silver and Black Forever.


  4. dylan says:

    Usually my father and I split on NFL Sunday Ticket but this year he decided to go HDTV instead. So I’ll see less games but in much better detail.

    It’s too bad because I’m a master of the Sunday Ticket remote control.

    DirecTV in the US has a channel on Sunday Ticket that is called Red Zone Channel as soon as a team enters the Red Zone it switches to that game.


  5. Nils says:

    Why we pick teams to root for is often the most arbitrary and silly decision we make – fittingly, since the whole exercise is rooted in the Toy Department of Life. Since I consider NFL football to be an inferior game played by superior athletes, and because there are so many teams to choose from, I have loyalties of varying stengths to perhaps five teams, and my reasons for choosing those teams go from relatively logical to downright silly.

    I can happily cheer for the Minnesota Vikings, because Bud Grant moved from coaching my beloved hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers to be their head coach and immediately moved to bring former BC Lion QB Joe Kapp in to lead the team. And lead it he did, through a magnificent season that culminated in a loss in the Super Bowl to Hank Stram’s Kansas City Chiefs. (And since then, I would root against KC no matter whom they played. Swear to God, if KC were matched up against the Islamic Terrorist Hordes, I would cheer for the Hordes to win, albeit not cover the spread.)

    I began rooting for the Dolphins back when they were the biggest losers EVER … I was captivated by Mercury Morris (my first team jersey was a teal #22), thought Bob Griese was wonderful, and loved that kid Nick Buonoconti at MLB. I was rewarded for my suffering when they became one of the great teams of all time.

    The rewards came later for my support of the Boston Patriots (for that is who they were). Mack Herron, who was another Blue Bomber hero, became an exciting addition to the Pats and although they never won much of anything for decades, I still held a place in my heart for them.

    I don’t always actively cheer for the Raiders, but I seldom root against them, because when I played football (and later coached), we were the St. James Raiders, and wore the black and silver replete with the Raider insignia on our helmets.

    My reasons for hating teams are even sillier: I despise any team from New York, including the Buffalo Bills, just because they’re from New York. Oddly, I have nothing against New York itself. Just its teams.

    I hated the LA Rams because Dieter Brock, who had buggered off, then badmouthed Winnipeg, signed on to be their quarterback. That hatred extends to any team in Southern California; I have no idea why.

    This is why I suck at football pools. I cannot make logical, intelligent choices when it comes to deciding who to root for – or which team will win a given game. I know more about football than most people … but I am swayed by passion.


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