Just because the season is over it doesn’t mean making game charts, scouting reports and power rankings aren’t important anymore. Those skills need to stay sharp by applying football logic to non-football situations, no matter how small and trivial they might be. With Valentine’s Day coming up this week, we’re presented with a perfect opportunity to keep our game day tactics fresh.
There is a good chance someone who loves you (or even just like-likes you) is going to give you a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. This person may even be thoughtful enough to think while they’re at the drug store or Target, “Hey, object of my affections likes football. I was going to buy them fancy gourmet chocolates, but a heart-shaped football seems more their speed. A giant red heart seems a little cliche and plus, this is only ten bucks. They’ll love this.”
Now you’re faced with a sampler and some hard decisions; which piece of chocolate do you eat first? Which do eat last? Which pieces do you give away? It’s time to apply football logic and game planning to everyday life.
First, you make a chart.
Fortunately, most boxes of chocolates these days come with a guide to what is hidden underneath each chocolate exterior. This will help you plan a map of attack, an order, so even if you get lost on the play, you can get your bearings and figure out where to go next.
If your lover wants to know why you’re drawing x’s and o’s on the chocolate guide, lie to them and say you’re imagining each chocolate is a kiss or a hug sent directly from them. Don’t feel bad about this lie. Sometimes it’s better not to let the person you’re with know every thought that goes through your head, especially if you don’t want them to know you’re a complete weirdo (yet).
Maple Fudge: Not the worst selection, but not good enough to even be a middle of the pack chocolate. Exciting enough to start with, but definitely not a strong enough to finish with. Hardly any maple, which makes it slightly Canadian-ish. The Buffalo/Toronto Bills of the chocolate box.
Coconut Cream #1: Need to get this one out of the way early because there are two of them and the last thing you want is multiple sweetened piles of mush at the end of your chocolate game. Someone will always be excited for coconut. Do not trust this person, because they obviously have no idea what goes into a good piece of candy. This person will also tell you how much better the coconut is better in Hawaii, but if you held both a Mexican and a Guatemalan coconut in front of them, they would not know the difference. Of course it’s better in Hawaii, because all trips to Hawaii are spent drunk with a touch of sunstroke, and you’ve spent so much money to be there, to allow the thought that anything is less than paradise would be crushing.
In short, the first Coconut Cream is the New York Jets.
Molasses Chew: Ugh, so much chewing. So much molasses. Enough to make you not want go any further. Not once in the history of all sugar products has anyone ever wandered into their kitchen, taken out a spoon and asked, “Hey, where’s that bottle of molasses I keep around for the rare times I need one goddamn tablespoon of molasses for cookies.” But it’s still a chocolate treat and you’ll take it, no matter how bad. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Toffee #1: Palate cleanser of both taste and texture after three chewy chocolates in a row. Could be better quality toffee, but it’s still interesting enough. Just shy of being a contender. Chicago Bears, being generous to the Bears.
Almond Nougat: More nougat than almond, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Surprisingly not awful, but it’s never going to be best of the box. Atlanta Falcons.
Vanilla Cream: Typically decent if a bit bland, but when it misses, it really misses. Nothing too out of the ordinary that woud upset anyone, plus you rarely hear of anyone being allergic to vanilla. If this chocolate was to never appear in the sampler ever again, it’s doubtful anyone would ever notice. Indianapolis Colts.
Fruit & Nut Cream: Almost too much excitement with both a mix of fruit and nuts, this is the chocolate that will inevitably get something lodged in your back teeth and possibly hurt you. Washington Bad PR Moves.
Toffee #2: Secretly happy to be back at toffee even though it’s not the best chocolate toffee in the world. Almost an afterthought. Seattle Seahawks.
HALFTIME: Take a break because despite sharing pieces with your partner, you’ve given yourself a tummy ache eating too much chocolate. During this break, you might take a look at the serving size and calorie counts. Wait, two pieces to a serving, six servings? Quick count shows there are eleven little serving trays in the box. Multiple toffees? How does that work, there are three toffees in this box, not two. Tell yourself if you skip dinner, take into account you had fruit and yogurt for breakfast, black coffee for lunch, eating a box of chocolates isn’t the worst thing calorie-wise for dinner. Make a note to take an extra multivitamin before bed. (Allow halftime to go as long as you want, even a few days.)
Plain Chocolate: Need to ease back into the box of chocolates, so this is a good time to have just plain, no nonsense straight ahead chocolate. Plain chocolate on it own when of the best quality can move mountains, but this is a chocolate part of a sampler and was never meant to shine above the rest. 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Caramel: Not the nice soft caramel you would expect, this a chewy, dense chocolate caramel that’s tedious to get through. After having such high hopes for this chocolate, it’s a relief that this isn’t the last chocolate in the box. Denver Broncos.
Coconut Cream: This chocolate’s still here? Do you really want to eat it? All the same hype of the previous Coconut Cream, but none of the interest. Putting this chocolate here in the final ranking, but not really eating it. Hopefully a friend or your partner will eat this chocolate when you say, “No, you have the last one.” New York Giants.
Toffee 3: Toffee again, and it’s lost any sort of flavor or flare. It’s still a chocolate, but you’re no longer excited to have it. Might even give it away with the last Coconut Cream. Pro Bowl chocolate.
Chocolate Butter Cream: NO YOU WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO WIN THIS IS JUST CHOCOLATE WITH MORE CHOCOLATE WHY DID I THINK YOU WERE PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE YOU ARE BOTH THE DISAPPOINTING 49ERS AND THE OVERACHIEVING, UNDERWHELMING RAVENS ALL AT THE SAME TIME. END OF THIS BOX OF CHOCOLATES COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE POORLY PLANNED IF JIM HARBAUGH HIMSELF GAVE US THESE CHOCOLATES. AND NOW IT’S ALL GONE EXCEPT FOR THAT GOD AWFUL COCONUT CREAM JUST MOCKING US IN THE BOX AND WE HAVE TO WAIT HOW LONG BEFORE GETTING MORE CHOCOLATE WITHOUT LOOKING LIKE A JERK FOR NOT APPRECIATING THIS GIFT? WHO THE HELL BUYS A BOX A CHOCOLATES THAT DOESN’T HAVE A PEANUT BUTTER FILLED CHOCOLATE ANYWAY?
Awful, and now everyone involved is sick of chocolate, football and tedious football and chocolate connections. Thank goodness we only have to do this once a year.
Track how my stomach ache from this post is going here.