A Festivus for the rest of us.
That is how the idea of Festivus came to be, the brainchild of Frank Costanza on the legendary NBC sitcom “Seinfeld.” Constanza, during a shopping frenzy attempting to find a Christmas gift for his son George, found himself “raining blows” upon another shopper in an effort to secure the coveted toy for his son.
As an alternative to the commercialism of the Christmas holiday season, the elder Costanza created Festivus, the holiday for the rest of us. Celebrated every 23rd of December, the “holiday” has ritualistic practices such as the “Airing of Grievances,” the “Festivus Miracles,” and the “Feats of Strength.”
So let’s gather around the Festivus pole and celebrate the holiday, NFL style.
Airing of Grievances
Frank Costanza has a lot of problems with you people.
The first practice each Festivus is the “Airing of Grievances,” where everyone lashes out at others and lets them know how they have disappointed each other this year.
In the NFL, there have certainly been some disappointments, and those people need to know.
We can start with some coaches, some of whom are either already out of a job, or are likely to be looking for gainful employment soon. Urban Meyer, of course, belongs on the list of grievances. His short-lived tenure as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars ranks up there with tenures such as Bobby Petrino’s with the Atlanta Falcons. Then there is Matt Nagy, who has become a walking meme in the Chicago area:
We can also look to Joe Judge with the New York Giants, and Matt Rhule with the Carolina Panthers, and air some grievances. Both teams are struggling, and both teams fired the offensive coordinator earlier in the year. However, neither Jason Garrett nor Joe Brady was the full problem with either organization. For Judge, he could perhaps point to some failures with roster construction, particularly the offensive line, and beg for Festivus forgiveness. Rhule, however, can try the same but his idea of a two-quarterback system — whether with Cam Newton and P.J. Walker or with Newton and Sam Darnold — might not offer him a saving grace.
For NFL fans, an airing of grievances this special season must include a few words about officiating. Long a sticking point for millions, the officiating this season has continued to puzzle and enrage. Every weekend fans are treated to two of the sport’s best mini-games: “Is this a catch?” or “What in the world is pass interference?” Add in some new additions to the rotation, such as “Is this roughing the passer?” or “Personal Foul: Playing Defense” and you wonder how people spend hours and hours watching each Sunday.
Finally, a special airing of grievances for COVID-19:
Covid really went back watched film and got better
— Kill 🙏🏽⚡️ (@_Rashad25) December 22, 2021
Another Festivus tradition is the Festivus Miracle. In the show, the miracles were usually normal, everyday events explained away by the Festivus season. However, this NFL campaign has offered some rather miraculous moments.
Justin Tucker with an NFL record 66-yard field goal to beat the Lions 😱 pic.twitter.com/ObnrUNSNEI
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) September 26, 2021
We have also seem some incredible catches this season, starting back in Week 1 from Terry McLaurin:
WHAT. A. CATCH. 😵
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 12, 2021
There was this catch by Keelan Cole against the Cincinnati Bengals on Halloween:
Oh my goodness, Keelan Cole. Catch of the year candidate here. pic.twitter.com/EUfOuFIb2R
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 31, 2021
It’s STILL not being talked about enough how insane this throw/catch was. An inch or two over Kendrick’s hands.
Duvernay with a STUPID adjustment to this ball and the concentration/reflexes to reel it in. Play of the year so far.
Lamar’s ball fame freezes Kendricks JUST enough! pic.twitter.com/g3yHfzM2ET
— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) November 10, 2021
Landon Collins celebrated Festivus early with this gift of an interception:
Landon Collins made this interception off Dallas Goedert’s foot. 😮 pic.twitter.com/IgF3lVzrUE
— Doug Rush (@TheDougRush) December 22, 2021
There have also been some wins that could be classified as Festivus miracles. The Jaguars — yes while Meyer was still the coach — beat the Buffalo Bills by a final score of 9-6 while being 16-point home underdogs. That game also saw another Festivus miracle: Josh Allen the pass rusher sacking and intercepting Josh Allen the quarterback.
This past weekend the Lions, 13-point underdogs at home, throttled the Arizona Cardinals, who entered the game with the top record in the NFC. Jared Goff threw three touchdowns in the win, perhaps another Festivus miracle.
Then there was the Mike White game, when the reserve quarterback got a win in his first NFL start, throwing for 405 yards and a trio of touchdowns. That saw his game jersey sent to Canton, and earned him the “Three Throws” treatment:
Three throws from Mike White as the Jets get a win over the Bengals
*Reading out curl flat not once, but twice
*A nice little design for a big TD in the fourth pic.twitter.com/gdjjFrflOk
— Mark Schofield (@MarkSchofield) November 1, 2021
Readers can decide which is the greater honor.
Feats of Strength
The final part of any true Festivus celebration is the “Feats of Strength.” For the Costanza family, the holiday does not draw to a close until George can pin his father in a wrestling match.
While we cannot grapple to bring the celebration to an end, we can honor some moments of strength from this NFL season. We can start with this ridiculous throw from Justin Herbert to Keenan Allen:
There might not be a quarterback playing better at the moment than Aaron Rodgers, and his 2021 season is filled with Feats of Strength. You can take this throw from the past Sunday against the Ravens:
When you think of strength, you have to think of the guys up front. Like Trey Hendrickson, who has flourished into a top pass rusher with the Bengals:
Matthew Judon has been a force for the New England Patriots this year, and this sack of Tom Brady is an example of what he brings to the field:
So, as you gather around your Festivus pole this magical day, take some time to reflect upon the feats of strength we have seen this season, relish the miracles all around you, and remember, once you are done airing those grievances, we are all in this together.