I love NFL Football. It’s important to emphasized NFL Football. I don’t follow high school because it’s depressing when one of the teams has to lose – teenagers can be so vulnerable. I don’t follow college because there are just too damn many and the bowl game system is ridiculous (a month off before the championship game? please). I’ll casually monitor Ohio State’s progress each year and tune in for bits and pieces of the OSU/michigan game (not a typo), as I was a proud Buckeye oh those many years ago. But for the most part college ball? Bleh.

But there’s something special about the NFL. I began this love when I met Doug.  I even went to a lot of the games with him once upon a time.  I retired from the game-going once Parker came along. Over the last few years I’ve come to the conclusion that Parker has saved my life. Oh not for one of those Hallmark/Lifetime movie reasons some mother’s will tell you about: she didn’t bring meaning to my dull, desperate life. She didn’t give me the motivation to kick the drug habit that’s been haunting me for years. She didn’t teach me the true meaning of Christmas. No, she saved my life because if I was there, live, wasting my Sundays watching the Cincinnati Bengals the last two seasons, I surely would have died from a stress-related ailment or an aneurism. I can’t even watch them on television anymore for fear of palpitations.

I believed in the Bengals for years. I bought into each and every new beginning (the MANY new beginnings). I dared to dream when first round picks like Peter Warrick and Akili Smith were the promise of days to come – winning days to come. Ha. And now when I see picks like Carson Palmer, Justin Smith and most recently Keith Rivers, I want to send them a sympathy card.

Dear Keith,

“Hope you enjoyed winning in college, sorry those days are probably over. Maybe you’ll get traded sooner rather than later.

Love,

Amy in Ohio

But I can give no more Marvin – no more. At a recent press conference “Head” Coach Marvin Lewis told fans: “Do what you’ve got to do. That’s what the focus is. If you’re a fan, then be a fan. You get to determine that.” Well this fan has determined that you can kiss her ass. I’m done. I’m finished. You keep it up and I’ll become a Steelers fan just to spite you. Ala Tony Soprano: Bengals, you’re dead to me. Man, I miss that show.

There is one silver lining to this failed relationship. I can go find another team to obsess over – hopefully one that knows how to treat a lady fan. So hunky NFL teams, if you’re looking for someone who likes long walks on the beach, candlelight dinners and February in Tampa, DM me won’t you?

For the last few years or so, I’ve run a football pool at my office. Nothing fancy – a $5 buy in, you pick the winners of each game, whoever picks the most right, wins. We’re not Vegas, but it makes the games a little more interesting.

Distraught and disillusioned, I wasn’t sure I was going to even bother with it this year but after some soul searching I’ve decided that these Bengals aren’t going to take the joy of football from me. I’m going to have my best football pool picking year and you wanna know why? Because the days of picking you guys out of loyalty are over! OVER I SAY!

And so without further ado, here are my picks for Week Two:

Chicago over Carolina (dem Bears look good)

Tennessee over Cincinnati (duh – prove me wrong, I dare ya)

Green Bay over Detroit (looking surprisingly good without Farve)

Jacksonville over Buffalo

Kansas City over Oakland

Indy over Minnesota (If Peyton returns, who was that guy last week?)

NY Giants over St. Louis

San Francisco over Seattle (still mad at Seattle for Shaun Alexander)

Tampa Bay over Atlanta

Miami over Arizona

Denver over San Diego

Baltimore over Houston (but this doesn’t mean I like you)

NY Jets over New England (QB is still too green)

Pittsburgh over Cleveland (you both suck, but Steelers suck more)

Dallas over Philadelphia (if I had to pick, I’d take Dallas to go.all.the.way)

There you have it. Check back on Tuesday for the update on how I did. With that monkey bengal off my back, this is a whole new ballgame.