Every morning when I open up my laptop, the first thing I do is come eye to eye with a story about Donald Trump. Okay, technically that’s not true, so let me start over. Every morning when I open up my laptop, the first thing I do is make sure I deleted my search history from the night before in case my wife borrows my computer.
From there, I bring in a priest to douse me in holy water and perform an exorcism on my hard drive. But once all that’s done, I hit the Web, and nine times out of ten the headline on every page belongs to Donald Trump.
Nothing has been able to keep the Trump man off the front page since he launched his candidacy back in June. We’ve had mass shootings, terror attacks, Star Wars reboots, and more college protests than you could shake a stick at (provided you didn’t appropriate anyone’s culture when you shook it). Through it all, Trump has treated headlines like Immelda Marcos treated shoes—hoarding one after the other until nobody can keep track anymore.
But all of that is about to change now, because here come the NFL playoffs, a.k.a the ratings behemoth that not even the Trump man can stand toe to toe with.
Donald Trump, Meet Your Ratings Nemesis
Remember those blaring headlines about the 23 million people Trump attracted to the first Republican debate? That’s 12 million less than last year’s divisional round, and it’s not even half of what the conference championship games got. And 23 million viewers is not even a quarter of what the Super Bowl got. According to the Nielsen ratings, everyone in the country was paying close attention to last year’s Super Bowl (with the exception of Pete Carroll).
Nothing dominates our cultural narrative like the NFL playoffs, so this weekend brings great news if you’re sick of Trump but horrible news if you’re trying to spring Steven Avery. If the Change.Orgers don’t bust him loose by kickoff, come next week he’ll have the Twitter relevance of Chumbawamba’s last album (assuming there was one.) By some accounts, 300,000 people have signed a Change.org petition to free him. More people than that will be watching the Patriots’ ball boy when the refs hand him the pigskins.
The point I’m trying to make here is that the NFL playoffs are freaking huge. Even if you’re not a fan you can still follow them, because every one of these teams has a story line that runs parallel with the presidential candidate you’re rooting for.
I’ve gone ahead and broken them down, because I wanted you to have a dog in the fight. For those of you who are undecided on a candidate, you can have more than one dog in the fight, like Michael Vick.
Without further adieu, or any adieu for that matter, here’s a breakdown of each NFL playoff team and the candidates they align with.
This may very well be the last football Peyton Manning ever plays. So you take the feel-good narrative of an old man trying to win it all and couple it with the fact that everyone in his state is stoned, and what do you have? A Bernie Sanders rally.
If you’re feeling the Bern, root for the Broncos. (Some of you might argue that Ben Carson should be the Broncos candidate because he’s from Colorado. Good point, but experts are still giving the Broncos a chance of winning the whole thing, unlike Carson.)
Green Bay Packers
Got off to a big start, then the sledding got rough in November and December. Here’s your Ben Carson pick.
New England Patriots
This one’s a no-brainer. They’re the co-favorites and they’re constantly under investigation. If you’re pro-Hillary, send your personal Huma down to Sports Authority to buy you a Tom Brady Jersey. Or if you’re looking to save your campaign a few bucks, tell her to grab an “Aaron Hernandez” off the clearance rack. You can’t miss it—it’s number 8734512.
Without question, this is the team of John Kasich, and not because they’re from Ohio but because they’ve got runner-up written all over them. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since 1991. To put that in perspective, if you were born on the night of their last playoff victory 25 years ago, you’d be nine months older than their likely starting QB, A.J. McCarron. And you’d be ten years older than R. Kelly’s girlfriend, but that’s for another time.
They’ve never won a thing in their lives, but they’ve performed great this year and they’re begging us to take them seriously. Carly Fiorina.
They were a huge preseason favorite, but they underachieved all year long. Now they’re pulling out all the stops for the stretch run. Jeb Bush.
This is my Rick Santorum pick, because they’re both from Pennsylvania and they’ll both be lucky to make it through this weekend. The Steelers barely escaped the Cleveland Browns to sneak into the playoffs. And they only won because Johnny Manziel was in Las Vegas, wearing the same disguise Browns fans wear into the stadium. And did you see that story about how Jeb hands out turtles at his campaign events? Santorum is giving out driving directions, because everyone who shows up is lost.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are hot right now, and there’s big money behind them. They’re huge in the Midwest, but the people on the coasts think you’re nuts if you support them. They also had a Canadian on their opening-day roster for good measure. Ted Cruz.
Adrian Peterson has a bit of hot temper, but his ground game gives them a better chance of winning in February than anyone thinks. This is Chris Christie country. Some say the Chris Christie Vikings can go all the way. I say, let’s focus on the Seahawks this weekend and we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Is this thing on?
Absolutely no one is giving these guys a shot, so let’s go ahead and call this one for Martin O’Malley. But make some room on the team bus for Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee.
A young southern team with a history of not showing up at key times. Sounds an awful lost like Marco Rubio in the Senate, no? Both could end up on the big ticket, but most likely as vice presidents to someone else’s president.
The mere mention of their name offends half the country. While nobody took them seriously when they launched their campaign, they’ve managed to win ugly for the past six months and here they are, against every single prediction, as legit contenders for the big prize. Remind you of anyone?
The Redskins might as well have a comb-over on their logo, which makes them the perfect team for Trump lovers and haters—especially the liberal ones, because every one of their Super Bowl championships took place with a Republican in the White House. Come to think of it, I probably could have opened with them and saved everyone’s time.
Happy playoffs, everybody.