THE AFC Title Game – OCD, The Number One Game Plan

shutterstock_133676411The Patriots are in the American Football Conference finals this Sunday afternoon and if you’re anything like me, you’re starting to get nervous. It doesn’t help that they’re playing at the notorious Mile High stadium, that the refs hate them, that the League wants Payton to win, and that Denver’s defensive secondary has proudly announced that they’re targeting Gronk’s knees. I have no doubt that Bill is doing all he can to coach up all three phases of the game, but like all true fans, even those of us sitting in front of our televisions two thousand miles away, we know it’s up us to do our part.


Polls show that twenty percent of all football fans truly believe they can alter the game’s outcome, by the way, and ESPN reports that among Denver Broncos fans it’s twenty five percent. So people, we have our work cut out for us.


And I’m not talking about people who tell you that the Patriots always lose when they watch the game in real time so they record the game on DVR and watch it later if the Pats wins. That’s a wimpy strategy if you ask me, okay for the regular season, but this is the play-offs, win or go home, and we need a solid game plan.
So here it is, Pats fans, according to Bleacher Report, the five most popular tactics that superstitious fans use to ensure the victories of their teams:


Number One, stay in the same seat when things are going well. Do not stand up. Do not move. Bathroom breaks are okay during commercials, but if Brady’s moving the ball down the field, hold it in and maintain your position no matter what.


The inverse of this is obvious, of course. If the Pats fumble the ball, or can’t buy a third down; if the receivers have the dropsies, change your seat, as many times as necessary, to help us get on the right track. If your family has a problem with this, just explain deflate gate and how much Roger Goodell wants us to lose.


Number Two, special costumes. And I want to emphasize the importance of this. Do you really think that ten thousand fans wearing mountain man beards did not help the Red Sox win the world series? Get real. Now a lot of us have our Brady jerseys and such, but real fans can go a step further. Wearing the same underwear and not washing them during a win streak is a tactic not to be overlooked. Remember, there is no place for shame during the playoffs. Wear what’s necessary and, like the players, shower after the game.


The right food works for some people. That’s why we tail gate at Gillette. So if baby back ribs work at the stadium, go for them at home. Your first meal of the day, if eaten every game day, at the same time, in the same order, can become the breakfast of champions.


The right playlist works for the players, so why not you? We Are the Champions, by Freddie Mercury and We Will Rock You by Brian May are the standards so pump up the volume and do not forget the victory dance. Remember people, play for sixty minutes, DO YOUR JOB.


My last tip is to have just the right token or lucky charm by your side at kickoff. A pillow? A football? A rabbit’s foot? A crucifix? A mezuzah? A star of David? Holy water? It may seem a little devotional but to paraphrase the Alabama writer Chad Gibbs, “People in America check name of a faith on religious identification surveys because football is usually not one of the choices.”


And lest you think all this is a bit compulsive, I’d like to quote an article in the Charlotte Observer about the Carolina Panthers. It reports that “coach Ron Rivera does everything exactly the same way, every week. He sits in the same seat on every bus and every plane ride. He and his general manager sit at the same table every Friday over lunch. He walks out of the same tunnel before every game and before every kickoff stands to left of quarterback Cam Newton for the national anthem.”


As you see, Obsessive Compulisve Disorder can be an excellent strategy for victory.


So with everything on the line this weekend, the AFC Championship, Brady’s legacy, the region’s pride, the retribution due the trash talking Denver Broncos, I know you’ll do everything you can ensure a victory. All we to do is go out there and execute.


I’m Ira Wood…and that’s my opinion.

“Matters of Opinion” are five-minute essays that air on the WOMR Friday News.

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