You remember Virginia.
In September of 1897, 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote into the New York Sun in a desperate plea to find out whether or not Santa Claus is real. Virginia, now a 121-year old die-hard Brett Favre fan and loyal Sports Casualties reader, wrote a similar letter to your esteemed co-authors late Sunday night. It seems that Virginia was once again in doubt about the man that she searched for 113 years before. My answer was not nearly so uplifting as the one that Francis Pharcellus Church once famously worded.
VIRGINIA, the optimism that has led you through the last 113 years has finally failed you. During your life you have seen the good guys win, the hungry prevail and heroes finish at an iconic peak. Those times are long gone.
VIRGINIA, there is no Santa Claus. The evidence was as clear as ever on Sunday. If there was a Santa Claus, Brett Favre would have received the Elway-esque farewell that he has been begging for over the last several years. If there was a Santa Claus, the loveable Vikings would be six fumbles lighter and on their way to Miami. If there was a Santa Claus, the rough and passionate Jets would have prevailed over the team that threw preseason efforts at their fans over the conclusion of a regular season.
While the humbling news of Kringle’s absence may be bad, I have even worse news VIRGINIA, terrible news.
There is a Grinch.
Yes, if you’ve watched football lately you’ve seen him. Remember that Arizona team that was so fun to watch VIRGINIA? The Cardinals were a team that shocked the 2008 NFL season. They played with the excitement of a college team even though they were led by a senior citizen quarterback. But then came Santonio Holmes. Yes, just when you thought the Super Bowl would have a fairy tale ending, “thy who carries the sweaty yellow towel” swooped in and stole it just like they had done five times before. The bad guys won. To steal a line from “Friday Night Lights,” the rest is “babies and memories.”
The Grinch knows many faces. This season he was seen in the prepubescent face of Garrett Hartley and the long sold-out face of Peyton Manning, who I affectionately refer to here as Goober. Yes, VIRGINIA there is a Grinch. He struck last year, he struck this year and he’ll be back next year.
Mr. Church compared Santa Claus to fairies. Today, I am here to compare Santa Claus to a crippled Brett Favre limping off the field after a sixteenth brutal hit, his wife Deanna looking on in distress (Santa could have atleast thrown his daughter Brittany in the stands). His dreams were crushed, the biggest possible Feb. 7 storyline destroyed.
For as long as there are sports heroes, there will be villains to triumph in a painful storm over those heroes.
No, VIRGINIA, there is no Santa Claus. Not this season, not next season, not ever. Now suck it up and get ready for spring training.