Even as an NFL hater, this weekend was a lot of fun

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I’ve always had a not-so-secret hatred for the NFL.

Growing up, my team was the St. Louis Rams, but year after year, they’d disappoint. I never witnessed a winning season. Then, owner Stan Kroenke took my hometown team to California; I still despise him for it.

I’ve never agreed with how the NFL ignored concussions or the way they seemed to collude to kick Colin Kaepernick out of the league. Something about the way the league is run still feels wrong. However, I still watch all of the games as a sports fanatic and general fan of the game.

I also obviously love fantasy football.

And this weekend may have been the greatest two days of professional football that I’ve ever seen. All four games ended on a scoring play and even the storylines were incredible.

On Saturday, the Bengals continued their historic season. After a winless playoff drought that lasted longer than my lifetime, they’ve now won two playoff games and knocked off the No. 1 seeded Tennessee Titans on the road. Hours later, Aaron Rodgers, one of the sport’s most controversial figures this season, and his Green Bay Packers were upset by the San Francisco 49ers in a wild and snowy 13-10 finish in Green Bay.

Somehow, Sunday’s games were even wilder. As someone rooting harder for the Rams to lose than I sometimes cheer for my own teams to win, the Tom Brady comeback was epic. After trailing 27-3 in the second half, he magically came back to tie the game before Matthew Stafford quieted all the noise with a beautiful throw to Cooper Kupp to get the Rams in field-goal range. It was heartbreaking, but I had to respect the Rams’ short memory and ability to squeak out a win.

I could probably write a column solely about Sunday night’s game. The Bills and Chiefs, the league’s two most prolific offenses, battled into overtime for a spot in the AFC Championship. After the Bills scored with 13 seconds remaining — already the third score in the final two minutes — it appeared Patrick Mahomes’ magic had run out. But in two plays, he got the Chiefs into field-goal range, sending the game into overtime.

Then, everybody knew the coin toss would determine the winner. And it did. It’s probably one of the dumber rules in all of sports. The Bills offense never got a chance to see the football.

The Chiefs won the toss and scored a touchdown to win. Fans on social media were outraged that such a good game could end so anticlimactically. I quietly smiled.

At least some people are joining me in their hatred for the NFL.

Max Baker can be reached at max@chathamnr.com and @maxbaker_15.


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