How is this supposed to work, exactly? I live in New England, and I'm a Boston sports fan. (Well, I've traded in my flimsy Red Sox affiliation for an attachment to the Kansas City Royals, but I'm a pretty solid Boston fan other than that.) Although my ultimate NFL loyalty will always lie with the Dallas Cowboys, I started cheering for the New England Patriots in 1993 and have supported them as my AFC favorite and second-favorite NFL team ever since.
But now, Football Jesus, the savior of the TCU football program and almost assuredly the greatest Horned Frog of the modern era of college football, has signed with...the Jets. The New York Jets. The closest thing the Patriots have to an arch rival, and a New York team to boot. I should note here that I'm still a New York Mets fan and have been since childhood--but I have no love at all for the Yankees, Rangers, Giants, Knicks, etc. Mostly, I dislike New York sports. A lot. And I mostly disliked the Jets...until tonight.
But wherever LaDainian Tomlinson goes, I go. Such is my loyalty to the man who has brought me more sports joy than any other athlete of my lifetime. When he was in San Diego, as he was for his whole career up until now, it was easy to cheer for him. Sure, I was torn when the Pats played the Chargers in the playoffs, but I saw those generally as no-lose situations. After all, nobody here hates the Chargers. How could anybody hate anything about San Diego? It's paradise. Plus, my powder-blue Tomlinson jersey is undeniably sweet, if now outdated.
But the Jets? This is different territory altogether. I can't just wear a Jets jersey around Boston. I might even have to be careful wearing my autographed Tomlinson TCU throwback jersey--although it's too spectacular not to wear. I'm not sure that I can cheer for the Jets, either. I was already on thin ice as a fan by having two "favorite" NFL teams (despite the first-and-second and NFC-AFC situations), but cheering for New England and the Jets? At the same time? It's just not possible.
And, yet, I'm going to do it because TCU football is closer to my heart than any other sport and because I still believe that LaDainian Tomlinson had more to do with the revival of our program over the last decade-plus than any other human being on earth. Plus, I want him to prove that his career isn't over yet and to cement his place in the Hall of Fame. So, as wrong as this may be, I say this for LaDainian: "J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!" Go get 'em, you Horned Frog legend. I can't help but be on your side.