1. (I'll try to make a Redskins connection this week.) The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament--which starts early Thursday morning out in Portland, Oregon--is the kind of marathon that few are built to withstand. Fortunately for me, instead of training for an actual marathon, I have spent my days staying in shape for March Madness. For the second year in a row, I couched it at my buddy's place out in Oregon for the opening rounds of the tourney. There is something to be said for needing to set your alarm to catch the early morning tip-off; for moving from the bed to the couch for a stretch that will make the bed beyond jealous; for that first beer that comes when your body is expecting coffee. Days like those make me long for autumn Sundays, when you can find me at FedEx Field by 7 AM or so, enjoying those early morning beverages with a crowd of like-minded individuals.
2. Hogs Haven is by no means a commercial for four-day benders that involve staring at a television for over 12 hours per day and mass bourbon experimentation. I don't attribute this to any kind of social concern. I just think that there is no real need to convince people that this is a good thing...it kind of sells itself.
3. Any time you witness a tournament that starts off with 68 teams, and you are an NFL fan like I am and like most of you are, you can't help but think of a way to get more teams involved in the NFL playoffs. We are getting our wish it seems. John Mara, the New York Giants owner who is taking some time off from bending over Dan Snyder in the offseason, says that expanded playoffs are on the way!
4. If the playoffs had been expanded in 2014 the way they are suggesting it will be in the future, the Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) would have made it. Classic Philly...just good enough to narrowly miss the playoffs prior to expansion, and just bad enough to have never, EVER won a Super Bowl.
5. The Redskins, on the other hand, would still have missed the playoffs even if expansion had been approved prior to the 2104 season. (I know...I know...I also demand a recount.) In NCAA terms, they would not have even made the First Four. The NIT wouldn't even go near them. We should be thankful that the NFL doesn't have a relegation system.
6. It is hard to imagine that the prospect of expanded playoffs isn't targeted squarely at us. Think about it. Sure, in years when teams like the Patriots are on the bubble, playoff expansion is likely to provide a very good franchise with the ability to enter the dance and make some noise. They are the Michigan State Spartans, led by an amazing coach and players who buy in every single year. We should be so lucky to aspire to that level--we are not there now. Instead, we are the team that sells the "idea" of being good enough to qualify for a watered-down playoff field to a fanbase starved for such ideas. We'll spend our days getting excited about the mere possibility of a first-round matchup with Green Bay or Seattle. Assuming for a moment that we can actually achieve this level of success...I suppose I will take it. Baby steps, after all. Still...there is only one trophy and there will only ever be one trophy. Any additional chances to chase it down are welcomed. Maybe they can do a Selection Sunday kind of thing for the last playoff spot? It could only increase our chances! Whatever they decide, can we just all agree not to be the ones celebrating the most when they make the official announcement? Let Jacksonville take that heat.