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The Hypocrisy Of Fandom

With all the anger being directed at the Colts (or, more accurately, at Bill Polian and/or Jim Caldwell) for the way they handled last Sunday's game against the Jets, I find it somewhat amusing that so many of us, as Texans fans, are speculating/hoping that the Patriots elect not to play their starters on Sunday. I grant you that the Colts' situation had additional nuances not pertinent to the Patriots' current state (e.g., the potential for 16-0/19-0, the hometown fans getting the short end of the stick after paying to see Peyton Manning & Co. yet getting treated to the debut of The Curtis Painter Experiment, etc.). Nevertheless, the following duality is always present:

When it's beneficial to our team (as it would've been for Texans fans had the Colts kept their starters in the entire game, beaten the Jets, and helped the Texans in their quest for the first playoff berth in franchise history), we want the starters to play. When it's not beneficial to our team (like the Patriots playing Tom Brady and Randy Moss on Sunday), we want the starters to sit.

In that same vein, you can bet that no Houston fan will take kindly to the Bengals resting their starters against the Jets on Sunday. We (Texans fans) need you to beat the Jets, and there's a much worse chance of that happening if Carson Palmer, Cedric Benson, and the like aren't playing. Play to win, Cincinnati! Yes, you've already clinched your division. So what? Don't you want the third AFC seed instead of the fourth? Of course you do! The third seed is slightly better than the fourth! Besides, you've got a playoff game in a week! Got to keep your guys sharp, Marvin Lewis! So play like your season depends on it, Bengals, even though it's actually our season that could potentially hinge on what you do! The integrity of the game is paramount! Rabble, rabble, rabble!

But hey...New England. Rest your starters. Take a knee. What do you have to play for? Who cares if you finish third or fourth in the conference? You don't get a bye week regardless, and your stalwarts could probably use the rest. The goal is the Super Bowl, and putting your starters in harm's way against a Houston team with everything to play for could put that ultimate goal in danger. The real season starts next week. Be smart. No need to be heroes.

That's a wee bit hypocritical, isn't it?

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