SUN Hockey Pool

My dilemma: NFL vs. NHL

ERIN NICKS

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

I'm dealing with an unprecedented case of sports indecisiveness, and it's wreaking havoc on my household.

I'm not talking about Martin Gerber vs. Ray Emery, or whether Wade Redden should stay or go. Those dilemmas are a walk in a park compared to my problem.

I can't choose between the NFL and NHL.

I know you're thinking that any sports fan would never be pressured to decide. Honestly, I thought it was a non-issue as well, until I had to deal with the Denver Broncos and Senators playing simultaneously on Monday night. The two teams I follow the most with respective opponents of their own (Tennessee and Montreal), yet I was forced to pit them against each other -- eyeglasses perched on the tip of my nose as I feebly attempted to magnify the television's picture-in-picture. My sports obsession was suddenly encouraging remote control multitasking and octogenarian tendencies. I was not impressed.

It wasn't a one-time conflict, either. Thursday games in the NFL began this week and will continue until Week 17. Thursday is also typically a heavier night for the NHL, and the Sens are regularly included.

One rarely has to worry about displaying allegiance to a particular sport, because the majority of scheduling allows for year-round gorging with little conflict. Unfortunately, this won't be the case for the NHL, NFL and myself for the next little while. Is it possible to make a clear-cut choice? Maybe not, but a little side-by-side comparison wouldn't hurt.

League vs. League (couch viewing): It's common knowledge that of the two, the NFL translates to television far better than hockey ever could. The NHL has shown a significant number of games in high-definition over the past few years, yet HD seems commonplace for football.

Also worthy of consideration: In a Battle Of The Pouters on Thursday, Peyton Manning and Sidney Crosby were both in action. The Colts' game was shown in HD on TSN. The Pens' game was part of the Sens' pay-per-view package, and if you wanted to see it in hi-def, you needed to cough up $12.99. Winner: NFL

MOUTHS THAT ROAR

Enthusiastic Token Analyst (Ron Jaworski vs. Pierre McGuire): Both of these guys have experience on the other side of the microphone -- Jaworski as a QB and McGuire as an assistant/coach. It's obvious they each hold a great deal of passion for their game, but Jaworski doesn't appear subjected to the same level of criticism -- nor is he as easily imitated (for a proper Pierre impersonation, stick a lit flashlight in your mouth for that rosy-cheeked effect, then wax poetic on "puck poise" and "big body presence" while doting on Dion Phaneuf, Carey Price or someone similar -- remove flashlight first). Winner: NFL

League Contender (New England Patriots vs. Senators): Coaches Bill Belichick and John Paddock both maintain a surly demeanour more often than not, although Paddock thankfully doesn't swaddle himself in tattered poly-cotton blends behind the bench.

The media has relentlessly propped up each team, but the Senators still have some tweaking to do before being viewed as champs-in-waiting. This thankfully leaves room for a decent amount of intrigue and discussion over the course of an 82-game season. The Patriots were anointed as probable champions early on, which doesn't do much to convince naysayers that the Super Bowl could produce a white-knuckled, rollercoaster ride of a game for a change. Predictability is boring -- unless you're a New England fan, of course. Winner: NHL

Obviously a vote of 2-to-1 is barely scratching the surface of comparison, because both sports are so different and each captivates me in its own way.

Normally I hate to waffle, but as long as the NHL and NFL's schedules continue to conflict, waffle I must -- both with my preference and the remote control.


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