NFL Playoffs Have Upstars Primed
With all the home teams winning on wild card weekend, the NFL is set up with five of its eight quarterfinalists as genuine underdogs -- albeit of different sorts -- on the sports karma scale.
Three of the eight are among the seven major title-less metropolises: San Diego (the AFC #1 seed), Indianapolis (the AFC #3 seed) and New Orleans (the NFC #2 seed). New Orleans can actually achieve a franchise milestone just by beating the Eagles in the Superdome next week: it would be the first appearance of any New Orleans team (the Saints and two NBA franchises) in its league's semifinals.
Seattle, the NFC's fourth seed is three titles below expected for the past 40 years, placing it among the top 10 most championship-starved cities as well.
And Philadelphia, the NFC's third seed, has a quadrant of its own on the Urban Sports Suffering chart with its disproportionate representation deep in the playoffs combined with its disproportionate inability to win silverware.
With Philadelphia and New Orleans meeting next weekend, at least one bona fide underdog is assured of appearing in a conference title game. And with representatives sprinkled into every divisional game, it's possible that by this time next week every city still chasing the Lombardi will be one that's never lifted it before.