I watched the Seahawks win on Thursday Night Football last night and realized that I seem to be cheering on a number of teams this football season.
The Eagles are "my team," I know. But with all the shaking up there in the off season, and with new reasons to root for old favorites, I seem to have broadened my fan club umbrella.
I miss Andy Reid - just because, and even though I knew he had to leave the Eagles - and so I'm really enjoying his great success in Kansas City.
I've always liked Peyton Manning - who doesn't - and shook my head in disbelief when Indianapolis got rid of him, so I am excited by the Broncos' amazing success this season and am looking forward to Sunday night's game (when the Broncos play the Colts in Indianapolis and Peyton Manning plays for the first time there as a non-Colts player).
The Seahawks have been an on-the-edge favorite team for awhile, since I lived in Washington State. My team of origin - since I was born in Wisconsin - is Green Bay. I've been rousting up enthusiasm for the Bears as that is the home town team of my nephews, ages 3 and nearly 6, and they are also doing well.
So it seems that the Eagles are no longer alone as my favorite team.
Can one have multiple favorite teams? Is that even allowed?
Don't get me wrong. I still take great joy in the loss of any NFC East rival, and check the scores in hopes of seeing their demise of the day. And I do want the Eagles to do well, even in the face of a building season.
And I was more than excited to meet the mother of a Philadelphia Eagles lineman on a plane trip recently. Seriously, that made my entire week.
But I have to admit, I am no longer limited to the Eagles.
I wonder if this is an off shoot of free agency - now a pretty old setup. I have often said that free agency has hurt football in a way that it does not harm baseball. In football - but not so much in baseball - the players must instinctively know each other in order to play at the highest level. The lineman needs to know that the nearly-imperceptible flinch from the guy next to him means that his teammate is getting ready to change course to the left (or the right), and that kind of knowledge comes from playing together long enough that instinct can take over and rule the day. Free agency means that they likely will not be playing together that long or, if they do, they will not remain so.
I have decided not to resent free agency, as I do think that it is an important element of the game of football, where players need to make the money that they can, as early on as possible, in an effort to outrun that always-potentially-present season-ending injury that stands in their way, just around the corner.
But I do think free agency has changed the game and created a parity that has at times flattened the game of football - and not for the better.
Now I wonder if it also affects team loyalties. Certainly I seem more likely now - this season, at least - to follow the individual rather than the team - the Chiefs and the Broncos being two prime examples. Has the bulk of my loyalty switched to the individual rather than the team? Or is this just a unique season in my football experience?
And then I think - and here is a thought - maybe this focus on the individual rather than the team actually makes football better?
Certainly I am enjoying football more this season than I have in a number of seasons. I'm excited about many games, not just the one. I think that's a good thing. I know it's been fun.