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As a fan of the New York (allegedly) Football Jets, this year’s The Big Game™ would not figure to reasonably have grasped any bit of my attention. Sure, I despise the New England Patriots with every fiber of my very being, my restless dreams having often ended with some variation of Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. being shipped off in this galaxy’s most expensive Amazon Prime package, a one-way SpaceX vacation directly into the core of the unfathomably gigantic sphere of nuclear fusion which ties this whole kit and caboodle together. It’s a place where even the most comfortable of UGG slippers won’t save you.

Even so, this edition of the hush-hush, don’t say that name game tickles my fancy. On the one hand, the possibility of Atlanta winning excites something divinely primal within a large portion of the football-watching populace. ATL, in Houston, bringing a Vincent Lombardi (Fordham College Rose Hill Class of ’37) Trophy to the Dirty South? That’s a festival fit for Paul Wall and UGK in equal doses.

And yet: yes, it would be dreadful to listen to Pats fans yell about “TAWMMY!,” but then, they’re going to do that anyway. Life is a carnival, and sometimes you get stuck at the very top of the Ferris wheel with no reprieve in sight. I’ve long since accepted Tom Brady and Bill “I probably cheat on my taxes, too” Belichick as my AFC East overlords, doomed to toil as subjects in their vast and ruinous kingdom interminably.

At the same time, if the Patriots do win, there would be something eerily satisfying to knowing that the dual deity Belichick and Brady both serve is none other than Eli Manning. You remember how close the Patriots once got to 19-0? David Tyree? The Helmet Catch? That must’ve hurt Tom Brady in a way that even his children can’t unknowingly hurt him yet.

And then, four years later, with a chance to revenge the biggest black mark on his Merrill Lynch-backed resume, the Pats stumble again, this time at the literal hands of Mario Manningham. As a result, the names of Tyree and Manningham are immortal. As a result, Brady, whose name is otherwise immortal already, likely loses significant amounts of sleep at night, no matter his (obscenely early) bedtime.

Death to the NFL, but this Sunday, go football.

-Ro