The Rams loss to Seattle Sunday night was a perfect example of how the emotion of sports overwhelms the logic of sports.
My brain was well aware of the fact that -- even with a loss in their last game -- a 7-9 record for the St. Louis footballers was a vast improvement over the year before. It was all one could realistically ask for... But a funny thing happens when the competitive juices start flowing. It doesn't matter if you are a player on the field or a fan in the stands.
Throw out the records or the circumstances. When you have a chance to accomplish something with a win, you're going to want the win. It doesn't matter that the Rams would probably be slaughtered by the Saints in a week should they have made the play-offs. At the point the Rams reached what was effectively a play-in game for the post-season the six-game improvement over last year no longer mattered. The morning sports pages, which just a few days ago spoke about how this was a great season for the Rams, win or lose today are filled with headlines calling the home team a "flop" and the game an "embarrassment."
In short, everything the Rams did before Sunday was a waste if they didn't win. And if they did when, all it really meant was that they got another chance to win or be declared a disappointment. It was really a no-win situation in the hearts of fans.
It reminds me of the 2006 World Series. No one expected the Cardinals to be there. Most people I know predicted that they'd be kicked out of the play-offs in the first round. And who could blame them with the way the Birds stumbled down the stretch and backed into the post-season? As they advanced from the first round to the National League Championship Series to the Fall Classic, the hopes of fans grew higher and the potential for disappointment grew greater. Does that make sense? If the club wasn't even supposed to be in the World Series, logically it would seem that there would be no room for disappointment.
Emotion is always going to be the driving force behind sports. Because, while it may not make much sense to get wrapped up in a silly game, it's the emotion on which the entire sporting industry is built. When we stop getting excited enough about games to pay for them, the games will be over.