We’ll be experiencing two Ash Wednesdays between now and March 5: the one that comes the day after Mardi Gras and the one that we are feeling now that began Saturday evening around 6:40. Ash Wednesday is supposed to remind us of the humility that follows the celebrations – a time for fasting after feasting. For all those weeks from September through mid-January, we, still emboldened by memories of a Super Bowl win only four seasons ago, feasted on the prospects that there might be another trophy in our immediate future. Through two wins over Atlanta and Tampa Bay, a Sunday night bashing of Dallas, trouncing the Dolphins on a Monday night, a prime time win over San Francisco, a Sunday night home romp over Carolina, the celebrating continued.

All but one of the playoff team cities will experience their Ash Wednesday, too, only they will not be as conditioned as we are at enduring the contrast. We are experienced at seeing revelers on a corner one day, trash sweepers on the same corner the next morning.

As the other playoff cities face their reality, they will return to the dead of winter. Folks in Philadelphia, Charlotte and Cincinnati, once hopeful of playoff heat are already feeling the freeze.

We’re different down here. As one season of glory ends, Carnival season begins. There will be celebrations, partying and abandonment. We will have our own victory parades, only the victory is in the celebration of life and not of a football season. All of it will reach a crescendo on Mardi Gras, March 4. The next day we will face the reality of another Ash Wednesday, but by then it will be welcomed because we can use the rest.

After all, pre-season will only be five months away.