The Miami Dolphins will be sitting at home this weekend hoping to watch at the very least two good football games in the NFL divisional playoffs round.
Of the two games this weekend, only the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots game holds direct interest for Dolphins fans. The question becomes can a real Dolphins fan actually root for the Patriots?
The answer isn’t black and white.
Many fans believe or contend that you root for your division to win a championship if your team isn’t in the running. The idea is that if a team in your division wins a Super Bowl it strengthen the legitimacy and toughness of your division. “The Dolphins didn’t make it because the Patriots are the best team in the NFL.” In other words, it’s hard to blame the Dolphins when the best team in the league is the one that sat atop your division.
The other side of that coin is no self-respecting NFL fan wants to see success of a division rival. It’s a lot easier to root for a rival if they have never been there or won a Super Bowl. If you are a fan of the NFC North and the Detroit Lions are playing the 49’ers in the NFC Championship game, it’s easy to see why fans of the Packers, Bears, and Vikings might root for a team in the division who has never been rather than root for one who has many times.
This weekend Dolphins fans will need to decide if they want to see another Patriot Super Bowl appearance or another Steeler appearance. For me this is especially difficult because of all the teams in the NFL, the Steelers and Patriots rank as the 31st and 32nd teams that I loathe. The Jets are number 30.
When the game kicks-off I will likely not root for either of them. The hope is that Pittsburgh wins simply because Tom Brady and Bill Belichik make me disgusted. The reality is I’m hoping for an NFC championship this season.
Social media has been alive the last couple of days regarding this topic and it’s not likely going to simply fade away until after Sunday then it appears that the conversation will turn to “can anyone seriously root for a team outside your conference?” There will always be a debate about everything.
For the record, I’m rooting for Pittsburgh which means New England will win. Then I will root for the winner in the NFC.