10 Things NFL Fans Believe About Football That Just Aren't True
Think you know everything there is to know about football?
NFL fans can be a very knowledgeable group. From knowing history and trivia to knowing statistics and trends, many NFL zealots are pretty well-informed.
The well-versed fans can tell you about roster moves, 40 times, and trends of their favorite teams.
Yet for as much as NFL fans do know, there are some things that they believe which just aren't true.
Maybe it's just incorrect information that has been passed down. Or maybe it's just misplaced passion concerning their favorite teams.
The media many times feeds us information that slants our opinion one way or the other and causes us to misunderstand what is actually true.
Either way, here are 10 things that NFL fans believe in their heart to be true.
And we are wrong.
Yes, I said "we."
I do it too.
10. Believing That Anyone Cares About Our Fantasy Teams
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I get it. Your fantasy football team is big.
Hey, you drafted Aaron Rodgers. Then you even had the foresight to take Cam Newton as a backup.
You did your homework and got Victor Cruz in later rounds and you even took a little known running back named Pierre Thomas.
Nice job. Good work.
But no one wants to hear about it.
Not your coworkers, or your mom—and especially not your spouse.
Because the only thing worse than MY team doing poorly...is hearing about YOUR team.
Sorry you had to hear it like this.
9. Winning Coaches Are Smarter Than Losing Coaches
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Remember when Mike Shanahan was the "Mastermind"?
But he used to be. Back when he was in Denver and had John Elway, Shannon Sharpe, Gary Zimmerman and Terrell Davis, Shanahan was top dog.
Then his players changed.
Instead of John Elway he had an aging Donovan McNabb. Instead of Shannon Sharpe he had Fred Davis.
Suddenly, Shanahan wasn't so smart anymore.
Did he suddenly get dumber?
Not at all. He no longer had as many Hall-of Famers on his roster.
Mike Ditka was a pretty good coach with Walter Payton. Not so good in New Orleans.
Bill Belichick hardly seemed like a genius in Cleveland. Then he got his players in New England, and the rest is history.
As football fans, we give too much praise when they win and too much blame when they lose.
Want to be a great coach? Have some great players.
8. "Team 'A' Just Wanted It More"
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As soon as I hear this quote from an NFL fan I immediately have doubts about your sports I.Q.
"Did you see that catch in the Super Bowl by David Tyree? The Giants just wanted it more."
Please stop it. You're embarrassing yourself.
These teams are playing at the absolute zenith of professional athletics. They have endured injuries, big wins, tough losses and trades. They are the best of the best.
Trust me on this: BOTH TEAMS WANT IT.
One team might have executed better. One may have had a better game plan. One may have made fewer mistakes.
But don't shame yourself by saying one team "wanted it more."
It couldn't be further from the truth.
7. The NFL Combine Is Important
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Let's be real clear about why the NFL combine exists.
Teams were growing tired of drafting a "6'4", 210-pound" wide receiver only to see a 5'10", 180-pound kid come walking into their facility.
They wanted to check injuries. They wanted to investigate the investment that they were making.
But does any of it really matter?
Wonderlic scores aren't an accurate gauge of NFL skill. High jump measurements are great for track and field. And I truthfully don't know of a more overrated measurement than the 40-yard dash.
Alexander Wright (pictured) ran a 4.1 40 in 1990 prior to the draft. The Cowboys drafted him in the second round. He caught just 21 passes and never scored a touchdown in three seasons.
I personally think the NFL combine has become so big because we just don't want to watch baseball and we are starving for NFL football.
Even if it is just guys running meaningless drills in their underwear.
6. We Know the Rulebook
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I'm not saying NFL fans don't know most of the rules. That isn't true at all. And I'm not talking about judgement calls where you may have a differing opinion with your favorite NFL referees.
But there are some rules out there that even the savviest of NFL fans just don't know.
How many of us knew the "Tuck Rule" in the 2002 playoffs when Tom Brady knocked off the Raiders?
And like it or not, it WAS the correct ruling.
What about when Calvin Johnson was robbed of a game-winning touchdown in 2010?
However, according to Rule 8, Section 1, Article 4 of the NFL's rulebook, a player that falls to the ground in the process of making a catch must secure the ball through the entire time he is falling.
Again, the guys in stripes got it right, according to the book.
There are undoubtedly some NFL officials that didn't know that rule.
So how could we possibly know it?
5. Smartest Players on the Field Are the Quarterbacks
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The NFL quarterback has the toughest job in sports. He touches the ball on every offensive play. He has to call the play, make pre-snap reads, and above all else execute the play.
This isn't to say that quarterbacks aren't intelligent. But there are other players on the team who are equally bright.
Offensive linemen have pre-snap reads of their own to make.
Running backs sometimes have to learn their run schemes as well as the blocking and receiving designs.
Middle linebackers must know their fronts, their blitzes, and their assignments, as they are typically the defensive quarterback.
But hey, the quarterbacks do the interviews. Quarterbacks get the lingerie model girlfriends.
So they must be smarter.
4. We Know More Than They Do
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"If I was running that team I would..."
"When they were down on the goal line they should have run..."
Hey, we all do it. Monday morning armchair quarterbacking is a whole lot easier than the actual game.
But if you actually think that your two years of high school varsity football and numerous "championships" while playing Madden on your X-Box really equate to the pro's...you might be kidding yourself.
Jim Caldwell, the former Colts head coach, has 34 years experience coaching in the NFL and college.
And he was fired this past season.
Trust me, these guys know what they are doing. It has been what they do every day, all day, all year. But go ahead and think what you want.
Just be careful about actually believing it.
3. You Must Have a Running Game to Win a Super Bowl
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Three yards and a cloud of dust!
You set up the pass with the run, right?
Four things can happen when you pass, and three of them are bad!
With the NFL rules committees giving sizable advantages to the passing game, it is allowing for NFL quarterbacks to put up video game numbers.
And the running games are being left in the dust.
Need some proof? Last year's Super Bowl Champion New York Giants were dead last in rushing offense!
They averaged just 89 yards per game on the ground.
In fact, over the past 10 years the Super Bowl winner is averaging just 114 yards per game when running. Those same teams are averaging 234 yards through the air.
Teams today need to be able to keep defenses honest and make a first down here and there in short yardage situations.
Somewhere Chuck Knox is fuming.
2. The Media/Referees Are out to Get My Team
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This isn't to say that NFL officials don't make mistakes.
No question, they do. They are human. Well...except for maybe Ed Hochuli.
And for the most part they DO get most of the calls correct. They really are doing the best that they can. There is no conspiracy to keep your team from winning.
What would the benefit be? Good ratings for the Super Bowl? It's the most watched event on television every single year, and it doesn't matter who is playing.
My father is convinced that every media member in the country is against him and his team.
"All they talk about is how good the OTHER team is. They act like my team doesn't have a chance!"
But the talking heads on television? They're really just hoping for a good story. A close game gets them better ratings.
So no, neither the referees nor the game announcers hate your team. (Sorry Dad.)
1. Home Field Advantage=Super Bowl Trophy
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There are some major advantages to playing in your home stadium: You get the supportive crowd, the familiar field, the familiar weather—plus you get to sleep in your own bed.
For the record, NFL teams do win about 57 percent of their home games. So playing in your own diggs is without a doubt an advantage.
Yet over the past 10 years only the 2003 New England Patriots and the 2009 New Orleans Saints have clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs AND won the Super Bowl.
Is playing at home in the playoffs an advantage?
Does it guarantee a Super Bowl win?
Not even close.