Columns, Sports

Firn ’16: Dear Santa — a football fan’s Christmas wishlist

Sports Columnist

Yep, it’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the holiday season is right around the corner. But as ABC Family starts its “25 Days of Christmas” countdown, I eagerly watch the clock tick toward the upcoming NFL playoffs. I understand that Santa’s elves are pretty busy in the workshop by now, so I’m not asking for any material goods this year. Instead, with the regular season winding down, I ask simply for a few little Christmas miracles.

I want to witness something incredible on the gridiron — preferably something that has never been done before. I want a game I can tell my grandchildren about again and again without ever losing a hint of enthusiasm. I want to see the inconceivable — the impossible.

Let’s have Peyton Manning shatter Drew Brees’s record for single-season passing yards but fall short of Tom Brady’s touchdown mark. I want to see Calvin Johnson out-jump every defensive back. Give me Adrian Peterson shedding every tackle, breaking loose on every carry. I want the highlight reels to be full of jukes, stiff-arms and one-handed grabs.

I want every single player on both of my fantasy football teams to light up the box scores the next three weeks. Please let Ray Rice remember how to run and Roddy White remember how to catch. Jimmy Graham can keep doing what he’s doing. Give perfect health to all of my players. I want to trash talk my way to two more fantasy football crowns.

I want to see every meaningful game broadcast on CBS or NBC, not FOX. Inferior teams can play on the inferior network. And as for the pre-game shows, I want Terry Bradshaw to shut his mouth every once in a while.

Show me a touchdown celebration so outrageous that it draws a $1 billion dollar fine from the NFL. And no, that isn’t a call for Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco to return to football relevance.

I want Jonathan Martin to find some mental peace and Richie Incognito to get some mental help. No more locker room drama, DUIs, suspensions or referee controversies. Mike Tomlin needs to strap himself to the Steeler’s bench. Throughout December, January and that glorious first weekend in February, I want the headlines to be all about football.

I want to see more than enough overtime nail biters around the league to keep even my mom glued to the television. Is it too much to ask for a playoff race so suspenseful and spectacular that I forget all about my upcoming finals? I want to lose my voice every Sunday afternoon screaming as the Patriots keep on cruising to that division title. And can Stevan Ridley please hold on to the football for once?

I want a miraculous return to health for Vince Wilfork and his ailing Achilles heel. Can Aqib Talib’s hip, Danny Amendola’s groin and Shane Vereen’s wrist all hold up over the rest of the season? More importantly, I don’t want Rob Gronkowski’s forearm to suffer even another scratch.

I want a Patriots vs. Broncos rematch in the AFC Championship game. Let’s see that classic blank look on Manning’s face once again when the Pats take him down. Give me a victory so exciting and convincing that it prompts emotional displays even from the perpetually stoic Bill Belichick.

I want the referees to hold on to their yellow flags for once and let the football players play some football. No more quarterbacks flopping to the ground after a linebacker grazes his knee. Except Tom Brady, that is.

I want New England to return to  its 2007 offensive form and its 2004 defensive form en route to another Super Bowl victory. Not that it needs cementing, but I don’t want anyone questioning the legacy of Belichick or Brady. Brusque (okay, rude) dealings with the media are forgotten during a dynasty. Man Uggs are perfectly acceptable if they’re worn alongside four championship rings.

I’m glad the 1972 Miami Dolphins have already broken out their annual celebratory champagne, but the 2007 Patriots should be having a few drinks of their own. I want redemption for Super Bowl XLII, reparation for XLVI and a brand-new shiny Lombardi trophy for 2014.

I don’t want any more concussions. No more high-profile incidents of suicidal, depressed or dementia-stricken retirees. Stiffer penalties for blows to the head, a miraculous new protective helmet — whatever the solution, I want football head injuries to disappear, because I want the NFL to exist in 20 years.

I’m not sure how much pull Santa Claus has with the football gods, but I really hope he’s a Patriots fan. Every year the NFL playoffs provide me and fellow football diehards with plenty of drama. The intensity of January football is almost tangible. But this year I want something even more special. I want to witness football history. Yes, I hope above all else that the Pats emerge as Super Bowl champions. But regardless of which team ultimately triumphs, it’s the excitement of the journey that validates my fandom, justifies the countless hours I’ve spent watching grown men chase after a ball. So please, Santa, donate the material gifts to some soccer fan this year. Just give me the wildest, craziest, most unbelievable playoff stretch the NFL has ever seen.


Mike Firn ’16 doesn’t know whether to leave Santa cookies and milk or burgers and beer. Help him out at

  • Ben


  • Jenn

    Love this. Go Pats!