Things you can do instead of watching the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday:
1) Read a book! I just finished Alan Sepinwall's The Revolution Was Televised, an excellent look at 12 series that have shaped television over the last decade. Next on the list is Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, which my brother has been begging me to start for months now. And I've also got A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger currently staring at me from its spot on the bookshelf. Do not read anything about football, even inspiring stories about games from 40 years ago. It'll only stir up bad memories.
2) Go to the movies! I've already mentioned Holy Motors on this site, but I know that's only playing in a few specific cities. Which is a damn shame. My brother heartily recommends Lincoln, which is sure to take home a few Academy Awards and should already be on most people's radars. And I'll be taking my lovely girlfriend to see Silver Linings Playbook tonight, which (coincidentally) has a few storylines that feature our very Philadelphia Eagles! It's kinda like watching the game, but with a lot less heartbreak. Approved.
3) Watch other games! There are a few 1 o'clock games with playoff implications, including Cowboys/Bengals and Ravens/Redskins. Those should be fun. Saints/Giants and Packers/Lions will probably be entertaining, high-scoring affairs, and Texans/Patriots is an excellent Monday night game. You'll be amazed to discover that other teams have smart, talented players that make big, exciting plays, especially on defense.
Things you should not do, under any circumstances:
1) Watch the Eagles on Sunday. Don't give them your time, your money, or your love. They don't deserve it. I was mentally prepared to abandon the team three weeks ago, but a matchup with the local Redskins and two nationally broadcast outings meant I couldn't escape. They were gonna be on my TV, so I had to watch.
And I did, and I hated it. An optimistic person could've dug maybe 15 minutes of joy out of the Cowboys game, and that's if you ignore the two losing teams battling for no purpose and no glory. Each weekend brings with it a 60-minute mess, and they just keep on coming.
2) Bet on the Eagles on Sunday. Two weeks ago, the opening spread turned out to be the Eagles giving 2.5 points to the Carolina Panthers. I remarked to my dad that this seemed to be a very enticing line for gamblers (not me, of course), and he admonished me for even discussing the idea of betting against your home team:
"Come on. You'd end up rooting for the other guys!"
I don't entirely agree (I'd be anticipating yet another Eagles meltdown -- which happened anyway -- not actively hoping for it) but I understand where he was coming from. It's tough when you root for a horrible team that could possibly be exploited for personal financial gain.
You active bettors out there, though, ones with no rooting interest in Sunday's games: take Tampa Bay -7.5 and don't look back. If the Bucs don't score 40 points, I'll be surprised.
3) Think about football and smile. It's all downhill from here, gang. You didn't think it could get any worse, but every Sunday is a new adventure in futility. Will no Jason Babin and no Jim Washburn fire up the troops? Maybe. There are plenty of sites out there that'll analyze such matters. For me, it's time to get away from the Eagles and pray for sunnier days in 2013. I recommend you do the same.