Thursday, January 13, 2011

If the Playoff Teams Were...Beers?

By: C.G. Morelli

So, I’m sacked out on the couch with a mountain of pork rinds to rival Kilimanjaro in front of me and one of a plethora of Divisional Playoff games blaring from the tube. I reach for my beer and take a long swig. Then I give a quick sip to my boy Mike Schmidt, my dog, who’s lazily watching every snap along with me.

I think to myself, “This is what life’s all about.” Playoff football, beer, little or no physical exertion…things can’t possibly get much better.

But then my mind begins to wander. The beer, the football, and the playoffs start mixing together, bouncing randomly off the inside walls of my skull, whipping around at warp speed, dredging up ideas I never knew I had. Then suddenly they all collide in one violent crash, molding them together as one.

That’s when it happens. A deep and earth shattering question arises from the darkest recesses of my mind:

What if the playoff teams were, uh, beers?

It’s an interesting path that could eventually end up both tasting great and being less filling. So I decided to take that trip.

Seattle Seahawks
America’s sweethearts hail from a crappy little tin can known as Qwest Field. For the Hawks, in their rainy weather hell, the regular season and training camp usually meld together as one in a typical year. But this is clearly not your typical year.

After slaying the also-rans of the NFC West to take home the division crown, a formidable lineup led by warhorse quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and journeyman runner Marshawn Lynch ousted the defending champs in memorable fashion. Fans are all too ready to watch another upset unfold this weekend at Soldier Field

But, in reality, this team is nothing more than the Corona Light of the playoff field. They’re tropical and even a little bubbly at first glance. A casual fan might get lost in the excitement of drinking in something new. However, all we’re really getting is the same old Cinderella story with a slightly more watered-down finish.

And let’s not forget the Seahawks’ inexperience, which will prove to be even worse than a big old piece of fruit in your beer.

New England Patriots
The Pats are the class of this year’s playoff field. They’ve been here before. They’ve gotten the job done on more than one occasion and, quite frankly, you know what you’re getting when it comes to this team.

All things considered, from a heavy hitting offense stocked with feared playmakers like Danny Woodhead and Benjarvus Green-Ellis, to a grizzled, veteran quarterback who’s simply on fire right now, to a battle-tested coach with a fistful of rings, it’s clear the Pats will be a tough out.

Like a good old-fashioned bottle of Sam Adam’s Lager, you know you’ll see a full bodied, complex, refreshing team at Foxboro this weekend. Only question is, will we get one of those nasty, skunky bottles of Sam that somehow inexplicably makes it into the six pack? Or will we get the real thing?

Atlanta Falcons
When Mike Smith brings his laid back coaching style to the table and Roddy White brings the dreds, there’s no better comparison in my mind than a bottle of Red Stripe.

Simple geography makes the Falcons a little bit different than the rest of the playoff field. Being the only team from the Dirty South gives them the feel of the squatty, brown bottle filled with a Rastafarian’s delight.

With a solid offense boasting Pro Bowlers Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, and Roddy White, the Falcons, like a bottle of Red Stripe, give you the illusion of silky smoothness going down.

But will Matty’s crispness suddenly turn to a bitter Jamaican-style after taste if the NFL gets its ultimate wish: an all NFC North championship game?

Pittsburgh Steelers
Now that’s enjoying the High Life, ladies and gentlemen…Miller High Life, that is.

This blue collar team comes from the quintessential blue collar town. It goes without saying that many of the fans in Da Burg will be loud, raucous, obnoxious, and with a belly full of the High Life throughout the playoffs. That alone should make the Stillers a formidable contender.

But that’s not the only reason I’ve likened them to the High Life. Just like the beer, they’re an every man’s team. They’ve won six Super Bowls already, and they did it on their own terms: by pounding the football. Look for Rashard Mendenhall to continue this fine tradition.

Don’t forget, the Steel-city crew boasts one of the grittiest defensive lineups in football, with Troy Polamalu cleaning clocks up the middle, and they can put up points in a hurry when Big Ben and Mr. Wallace are clicking.

If you love meat, potatoes, beer, and hard hitting, you’re a lock to be cheering for the Black and Gold this weekend.

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