In the next few weeks, you will hear countless TV announcers talk about home field advantage in the playoffs.
“There’s a great deal at stake here,” they will say as the game begins.
“These teams are fighting for the home field advantage in the playoffs.”
Do not be concerned. This is merely a phrase TV announcers like to use, along with “establish the running game” and “boy, he gives you 110 percent out there, doesn’t he?” These phrases, and dozens more like them, keep TV announcers employed, and also keep them from talking about what is really on their minds, which is where did they leave their hair spray, in the room or in the car?
Is there really such a thing as home field advantage? No. Every time someone talks about it, the home team loses. Except in Seattle. And New Orleans. Which leads me to believe there is a thing as dome field advantage, but that is another subject.
When a player is at home, it is true, he gets to play on a familiar field. He also must drive his own car to the stadium, and listen to his wife complain about the bills, and talk to the kids, and read the newspapers about how, if his team loses, he will likely be out of a job.
Ah, but when a player is on the road, things change. He gets to ride a bus to the stadium, and call his wife on the phone so she can complain about the bills and tell him about the kids and read him the newspapers that say how, if his team loses, he will likely be out of a job.
So, as you can see, there is no such thing as home field advantage. Unless you are single and have a chauffeur. In which case, why would you care about something as trivial as football playoffs?
And now, the picks . . .
STEELERS 19, LIONS 9: Chuck Noll may not beat the 11-2 teams anymore. But the 5-8 guys . . .
SAINTS 28, DOLPHINS 24: See above, under “dome field advantage.”
PATRIOTS 20, BENGALS 19: Let’s see. The team bus overturns, Irving Fryar joins a monastery, Tony Eason shows up in panty hose — what difference does it make, when you’re the luckiest team in the NFL?
REDSKINS 17, GIANTS 10: On the other hand, some teams’ luck has to run out sooner or later.
BRONCOS 28, CHIEFS 10: This game would have been good four weeks ago. Then again, so would the milk in my refrigerator.
49ERS 28, JETS 27: As long as it’s not Monday night, San Francisco is OK.
VIKINGS 14, PACKERS 10: Snow, snow, snow, snow . . .
FALCONS 24, COLTS 13: A new coach for Indianapolis! Hey! Hooray! Whooppee! Big deal.
CHARGERS 21, OILERS 6: I like this. Defense in San Diego. A novel concept maybe, but interesting.
RAMS 14, COWBOYS 13: Tom Landry is thinking about retiring. His team gives him another nudge in that direction.
BEARS 17, BUCS 3: How come Chicago plays all these home games in November and December? Against a team from Florida? Huh? How come?
BILLS 21, BROWNS 20: The NFL’s best lousy team against its lousiest good team.
EAGLES 20, CARDINALS 10: Randall Cunningham should get paid by the mile.
RAIDERS 20, SEAHAWKS 17 (Monday night): See above, “dome field advantage.” Then see “home field advantage.” Then flip a coin.
BEST PICK LAST WEEK: Patriots 19, Saints 17 (Patriots won, 21-20).
WORST PICK LAST WEEK: Raiders 30, Eagles 10 (Eagles won, 33-27).
RECORD LAST WEEK: 8-4
RECORD FOR SEASON: 130-49-1