The St. Louis Rams are not in the 2012 NFL Playoffs. Above all, I hope this does not come as a shock to the readers of SB Nation St. Louis. More than that, though, I hope it doesn't keep Rams fans from watching the playoffs in spite of the massive disappointment 2011 was nearly from wall to wall. If you're a football fan, this is it: We're almost out of football, and you'll be jonesing for it in May. With that in mind, here are some reasons to watch the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers (you may know them as the Tim Tebows and the Ben Roethlisbergers) and the Atlanta Falcons and new York Giants play actual, consequential football this afternoon.
1. The Broncos beating the Steelers could precipitate the angry football fan singularity. Not only are the Steelers a fun team to root against just in general—they're good every year, their quarterback is, in the best possible reading of his actions, a sketchy guy—they drew the most ridiculous team in the field, an 8-8 squad led by a quarterback who can't pass, won a series of inexplicable comebacks, and is one of the most loved and despised figures in the United States of America.
If the Broncos win this game, there will be a murder at your local sports bar. And possibly a newly donated children's hospital. (I don't want to say what there will be at your local sports bar if the Steelers win this game.)
2. You can root against the guys who screwed up your obviously brilliant fantasy team. I don't mean to be immodest, but I see little point in denying it: The only reason I didn't win my fantasy football league this year was that Matt Ryan failed to break any of the NFL's all-time passing records this season.
3. Your friends are going to make Tim Tebow jokes tomorrow. I don't mean to keep harping on this, but you need to be prepared for this almost certain outcome: Win or lose, your friends are going to make Tim Tebow jokes Monday morning. I'm not saying you should join them, but your blank stare won't be as withering if it comes from a position of ignorance.
4. The Rams could still do this 8-8 division champion thing next year. They're less likely to cause riots in the streets of Pittsburgh, but the Rams' most obvious path to the playoffs this time next year is the one the Broncos are blazing right now. This dry run is as good a time as any to see what that might look like. Substitute Sam Bradford for the guy healing the sick and forgiving student loan debt at midfield.
5. You're running out of football. You can say you're done with the sport now, but unless you have actually decided to go Australian-Rules full-time you're going to find yourself completely without football in the spring. Take what you can get.