Monday, February 08, 2010

The NFL in the 2000's: The Decade of the Lovable Losers

Now that the last NFL season of the first decade of the new century has completed, a look back is warranted, and such a look reveals the theme: This was the decade for the triumph of the perpetual losers.

Before this decade began, the Patriots, Buccaneers, Saints, and Ravens/Browns were known for their losing ways. The Pats had been to the Big Game a couple of times, but fallen short. The Bucs had actually started out by losing their first 22(!) games as a franchise. The Browns had not won a Super Bowl, but had been the victim of The Drive and other heartbreaking defeats. And the Saints, well....it's simply enough to point out that their nickname was "The Aints", and their fans were famous for wearing paper bags over their heads.

But in this decade, all of these franchises broke through their past failures and won it all. If you wanted to end decades of frustration, this was the decade to do it. It started with the 2000 season, in which the Ravens (the original Cleveland Browns) won Super Bowl XXXV. It ended with the Saints winning Super Bowl XLIV. In all, the Pats, Ravens, Bucs, and Saints accounted for 6 Super Bowl wins for the 2000 thru 2009 seasons.

Note that if we want to bring baseball into this discussion, this was also the decade in which the Red Sox and White Sox won world championships after nearly a century of not quite being good enough.

If only one of these monumental events had occurred, it would have been a major upset on par with a guy like me getting to marry Beth. Well, not quite that unbelievable, but almost. But when it happens this many times in one decade, it's a sign. Of what, I'm not sure. But as a long-suffering Texas Rangers fan, I hope it carries into the new decade.

Verbal pet peeves

Here are a few things that come out of the mouths of well-meaning people, but which drive me nuts:

Time Clock: I work on salary, but many of my co-workers get paid hourly, and must punch in and out. The device they use to clock in is usually referred to as a "time clock". Why is this? Every clock is a time clock!

Literally: I once heard a news reporter say "people here in this small town are literally bursting with pride that this young man from their hometown has won a Gold Medal..." Wait! Did you say that people are literally bursting? Like a whole town is full of exploding people? Shouldn't this be front page news?

Awesome: I also once heard a waitress say that the tortilla soup is "awesome." No, it's not. It might be really good. But save the word "awesome" for God, or a volcano, or the Grand Canyon, or a cure for cancer. Your soup is not awesome. It can't be.

Redundancy phrases:
ATM Machine (because the M stands for Machine)
PIN Number (because the N stands for Number)
VIN Number
Hot Water Heater (it's a water heater, not a hot water heater. Why would you want to heat hot water?)