At this point in One Man's Free Agent Journey, it's really just an honor to still be considered. Each of the ten remaining cities are justifiably proud of their teams and their efforts thus far. But as the Kurgan well knew, there can be only one.
Onward, then, as we eliminate six more teams today in preparation for tomorrow's celebration:
The Hawks have a lot to recommend for their cause. Terrific home field advantage, a town I'd like to visit, unique (if a bit ugly) uniforms, Russell Wilson. But the geographical gap seems tough to bridge. I'm a notorious East Coast elitist - rooting for a West Coast team sounds difficult. And I'm not looking for difficult.
San Diego Chargers
The major negative listed above for the Seahawks is relevant to San Diego, as well, but the positives may be even stronger. The Chargers' baby blues are among the best jerseys in world sport. Philip Rivers seems like my kind of asshole. I'd welcome the opportunity to hearken back to Air Coryell when I invent my backstory as a Charger fan (and thanks to Mr. Truck for that idea - or was it Dave?). But the Chargers are coached by Norv Turner. I've seen that movie, and the ending generally features an inexplicable loss and a nasally press conference.
Green Bay Packers
History, passion, compelling stars, a great ownership situation, the same colors as my high school and college, a hard-nosed coach with a solid track record - what's not to like about the Packers? The winter, man. No way I'm ever going to watch a game in Green Bay in the winter.
I gave this one a lot of thought. My new job has me spending a lot of time in Minneapolis, and it's a really fantastic town - great, diverse food scene, a vibrant and eclectic arts and music community (with one of the great public radio music stations I've come across in 89.3, The Current), and friendly people. Odds are good that I'll have multiple opportunities to view Vikes games in our corporate suite - and games are indoors, so the winter cold is less of an issue than it might be for Green Bay. In the end, though, I work with so many Viking fans that it would seem like I was sucking up to them if I suddenly began wearing purple.
San Francisco 49ers
Even more than Seattle and San Diego, I nearly overcame the geographical barrier with Jim Harbaugh's Niners, and the coach was the big reason. I'm a Harbacker - would love to have that guy as my team's head man. I've also always admired Frank Gore's game, and while Alex Smith would drive me nuts, I like the way he's hung in as a pro when he had lots of reasons (and lots of encouragement) to pack it in and feel sorry for himself. In the end, too much Pacific time zone.
Detroit cut William and Mary's Alex Gottlieb this week, or they probably would've advance to tomorrow's final round. They're a team on the rise, but they haven't done squat in the modern era, so I wouldn't feel like I was joining a party already in progress. Barry Sanders is one of my all-time favorite players, and Megatron might be my current favorite. Geography is destiny here, though, as I really have no interest in ever going back to Detroit. It's one of the worst places I've ever been.
If you're doing the math (or, more likely, just crossing off teams), you know that New England, Indianapolis, Houston, and New Orleans are cutting down the goalposts (just go with it) after advancing to the Final Four. If anyone can find the Vegas odds for each of the finalists, we can have a little fun with wagering. I don't even know which team it'll be myself, but I'm pretty excited to find out.