Have the Packers Already Won the Super Bowl?

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Playoffs? Playoffs?  There are four games left in the regular season—note for non-math majors: that's 25 percent of the entire season—and you're already penciling in Super Bowl point spread? Really?

I mean, I know your Kansas City Chiefs are traditionally out of postseason contention at this point on the calendar—and that maybe, just maybe, the Tyler Palko Era has been slightly underwhelming. Still, I think you're confusing college football—where December's utterly uncompelling Beef O'Brady bounty of non-playoff bowl games doesn't matter—with its professional counterpart.

Fact is, there's still a lot to like—or at least watch in a holiday party eggnog haze—before we get to the postseason.

Tim Tebow, for instance. Confession time: I was sick of him before he ever took a pro snap. I giggled the first time I saw him try to throw from the pocket—the mo-capped passing animations from late-1990s video games are smoother and more convincing. But now? I'm all in. Not to cheer him on, nor root for his demise, but simply because he's fun. He makes fourth quarters thrilling. He's doing something different, something I never thought I'd see: commandeering an option offense in the NFL.

Better still, he's a one-mansports journalismstimulus package.

But hey, maybe you like traditional gunslingers. Fine. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees all are on pace to break Dan Marino's single-season passing yardage record. Who needs Madden NFL? The Green Bay Packers might go undefeated, which means more Mercury Morris sightings. Or maybe you like division races. The NFC East and AFC West are hardly settled. Also, at least one of these teams—Detroit; Chicago; the New York Jets; Dallas, always Dallas—is bound to implode and collapse. And isn't that what made Boston Red Sox watching so fun last September?

Indeed, there's plenty to care about if your favorite team stinks. Like this season's slate of blindfolded, cigarette-smoking head coaches. Buh-bye, Andy Reid? Did Norv Turner finally do enough by not doing enough to get canned? Then there's the frantic jockeying in the Suck for (Andrew) Luck sweepstakes, a race to the bottom of standings. Open question: why are the Miami Dolphins suddenly trying to win games? What if the Indianapolis Colts finish 0-16? Do they take Luck? Dump Peyton Manning? Keep both and subject America to a torturous, summer-long Archie Manning open-whispering campaign? Do the 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs and 2008 Detroit Lions crack open the bubbly?

Look, if actual United States presidential candidate and actual one-time Republican party front-runner Herman Cain can quote the wit and wisdom of the Pokemon movie while addressing the nation, then I can sum up the case for engaging with what's left of NFL 2011 by invoking noted 20th -century philosopher Eagle Eye Cherry: Save tonight. Fight the break of dawn.

Come tomorrow, the sweet, sweet lunacy of Brett Favre-to-the-Bears could be gone.

Jake, are you on board with the fierce urgency of now? Or are you in Hampton's Tomorrowland camp, plotting playoff bets and pouring over mock drafts?

–Patrick

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Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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