Aaron Rodgers just triggers something in me about New York sports teams

Steve Brownlee

Last week, I wrote the top part for this Armchair Quarterback column about Aaron Rodgers’ injury and how that brought to the surface how I hate New York sports teams.

If you saw this space, you know that isn’t what you read — instead, I went with my original plan to complain about how possibly almost half of Detroit Lions’ games won’t make it on TV this season.

Now, though, that I’ve had a week to stew on it, let me go back to last week’s original rant.

Yes, I admit I hate New York teams.

Now I don’t hate New York — actually have never been there, the closest I’ve come is to Syracuse in upstate New York for a couple of my national bowling tournaments.

And as a Lions’ fan, I don’t have anything against Rodgers, not any more than I should have against Walter Payton when he played for the Chicago Bears in our division, or for Fran Tarkenton, when he was a Minnesota Viking in the NFC North (or Central or whatever it was called then).

Oooh, that really dates me, huh? Especially Tarkenton, who played in several 1970s Super Bowls. We’re talking basically about 45 years ago.

Back to my original point, which last week was to say that what I really find repugnant is all the unwarranted attention that New York teams get in sports.

Typically, it’s how New York players are always fawned over, turned into legends, where if they played in Kansas City, Seattle, heck, Green Bay, Milwaukee or Detroit, they would be known as “really good,” not “a legend in our own time.”

That’s certainly what was going on in the lead-up to Rogers’ debut with the New York Jets.

The same treatment is placed on a few other select franchises, including the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers, and of course, the New York Yankees.

Sure, they all deserve slightly more attention than run-of-the-mill franchises like the Sacramento Kings or Cleveland Browns, but it’s ALWAYS way over the top.

So Rodgers just happened to be the latest shiny bauble in all the New York fawning.

When he went down with what seemed like a fairly minor injury on that night, an injury that could keep him out the rest of the game or maybe for a few weeks, I just snickered to myself.

When I heard the next morning he was out for the season, I then was torn between feeling bad for him and his fans and continuing to snicker.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I figure, hey, he’s got millions upon millions of dollars and the adulation of millions upon millions of fans to salve his wounds.

And that all goes for a team I actually find rather easy to root for, since Northern Michigan University graduate and ex-football player Robert Saleh is the head coach.

He has that great story — well, it turned out great, anyway — about how he decided to go head-long into coaching after he didn’t know the fate of his brother in the south tower of the World Trade Center in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

His brother was able to escape, but if you remember about that time in the early days of cell phones, all lines were jammed up with attempted calls around the site.

Saleh and his family didn’t find out his brother was safe until about 24 hours after the towers collapsed.

The future NFL head coach said he decided then and there that life was too short to not do what you most want to do.

OK, I got that off my chest today, so now you’re stuck reading about my picks for this week.

Wait, don’t turn the page now!


Today, 8:15 p.m.

New York Giants at San Francisco — Really, I didn’t plan on the first game this week to involve a New York team. I certainly could root for the Giants as the huge underdog, but why should I? Let’s just say I expect to see the New York G-men who were drilled by the Cowboys rather than the one that pulled off the huge comeback against lowly Arizona. San Fran is a lot more like Dallas than Arizona, despite a closer proximity to Phoenix. 49ers, 33-6.


Sunday, 1 p.m.

Indianapolis at Baltimore — I could see the Colts playing better with veteran Gardner Minshew at quarterback rather than heralded rookie Anthony Richardson — in the short term. Won’t be enough, though. Ravens, 29-17.


Tennessee at Cleveland — Though Cleveland running back Nick Chubb will be out for probably the season with a knee injury, I figure QB Deshaun Watson can pick up the slack running the ball this week. After that, who knows if he’ll be standing with all the running he’ll have to do. Browns, 26-20.


Atlanta at Detroit — I don’t think the Lions’ rushing defense is the liability that it is for the Packers, and since Atlanta really likes to run, I figure Detroit can win this track meet. Lions, 30-27.


New Orleans at Green Bay — Well, Packers draft pick Jamaal Williams is back to the shores of Green Bay again, just like he’d been with Detroit for a couple years. That is until I read he was injured in Monday night’s game against Carolina. With the Saints’ Alvin Kamara not available while he serves the final week of his suspension, the Pack may have just dodged a bullet. Packers, 24-19.


Houston at Jacksonville — The Texans seem like a not-ready-for-prime-time team, which even though this is a Sunday afternoon game, it’s playing a Sunday night kind of team. Jaguars, 31-24.


Denver at Miami — Russell Wilson won’t be the problem for the Broncos this week, not with all the weapons Miami features, plus a likely hot, sticky afternoon in south Florida. Dolphins, 38-20.


Los Angeles Chargers at Minnesota — Minnesota seems like it’s trying to prove last year’s 11-0 record in one-score games was the ultimate fluke. However, the Chargers are always finding new ways to lose. On a hunch about a team at home, Vikings, 26-25.


New England at New York Jets — Last week wasn’t a fair fight when the Patriots brought a knife to a gun fight with the Dolphins. This week, though, that knife will look pretty effective against a Jets team armed with a broken pencil — and maybe a marshmallow stuck to the end of it. Patriots, 23-13.


Buffalo at Washington — I always like quality defenses when they’re up against fairly pedestrian offenses. This looks like that even with Buffalo QB Josh Allen throwing the ball around indiscriminately to anybody and everybody, whether or not they wear the same jersey he’s wearing. Bills, 30-26.


Sunday, 4 p.m.


Carolina at Seattle — A good defense vs. a good offense. Give me the home team. Seahawks, 27-24.


Dallas at Arizona — The Cardinals probably feel like they won last week, even though they blew a 21-point lead. Let’s just say the Dallas “D” won’t let their teammates throw away a lead like that. Cowboys, 29-9.


Chicago at Kansas City — With some pundits saying the KC defense is outplaying its offense, how exactly will Justin Fields & Co. score more points than the lowest output of Patrick Mahomes’ career? I had to look it up, and well, Chicago ought to be able to reach Mahomes’ lowest-ever total of three points. But will they exceed Mahomes’ second-worst output of 13? Me thinks not. Chiefs, 26-12.


Sunday, 8:20 p.m.


Pittsburgh at Las Vegas — Two prime-time games in a row for Pittsburgh. After the Steelers got past a team they traditionally dominate, Cleveland, coach Mike Tomlin will have to bring up the ghosts of the ’70s, when I’m sure Pittsburgh must’ve held off the Raiders numerous times to get to all those Super Bowls then. Then I looked that one up. The then-Oakland actually won more games between them that decade. Raiders, 21-19.


Monday, 7:15 p.m.

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay — I can just see Bucs QB Baker Mayfield walking up to Eagles QB Jalen Hurts before the game for an informal greeting. How could you ever pick the home team seeing that contrast? Eagles, 34-23.


Monday, 8:15 p.m.

Los Angeles Rams at Cincinnati — Cincy sounds like it’s reeling with QB Joe Burrow dinged up, that’s assuming he can even play on this night. The Rams are 1-1 with only a close loss to the 49ers on the negative side of the ledger. Rams, 21-14.


Last week — 11-5, 69 percent. Season — 19-13, 59 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 552. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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