NFL Teams Whose Windows to Win a Championship Are Closing
Jerry Jones has emphasized that the Dallas Cowboys must have a sense of urgency this year because he believes that their "window is closing" on winning a Super Bowl. This has put a lot of national media attention and pressure on his team and especially on his quarterback Tony Romo.
The Cowboys aren't the only team in the NFL whose proverbial window of opportunity is closing on them. Teams throughout the league are facing various circumstances that could eventually hurt their chances of realistically competing for a title in the near future.
Whether to fend off "Father Time" or inevitable front office intervention, these teams will need to win a title for their year to be deemed a success.
It's hard to believe it's been nearly 12 years since the Baltimore Ravens won their Super Bowl.
They have been one of the most consistent teams in regard to reaching the playoffs, but they have failed to reach the title game since their appearance in 2001.
The Ravens have suffered various playoff defeats at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots, who each were able to win at least one Super Bowl during this time.
While their offense has been inconsistent year in and year out, their dominating offense has become a staple of this team. Under the leadership of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, the Ravens are always a playoff contender on their defense alone. Even as they're getting older, they are still one of the best at their position.
Unfortunately for them, though, Father Time is ticking away. Lewis is entering his 17th season, Reed his 11th, and even linebacker Terrell Suggs, who might be gone for the season, is entering his 10th season. They are seasoned veterans, and their bodies have taken some punishment.
As a result, this season will be huge for the Ravens. Despite Joe Flacco improving at the quarterback position every year, this team will only go as far as its defense takes it.
Ray Ray and Ed Reed will need to step up big, because this could be the last hurrah for them and the Ravens.
Jerry Jones says that the Dallas Cowboys' window is closing, but it's hard to argue that this "window" has ever even been open.
The Dallas Cowboys have only made the playoffs three times since the 2004 season and have accumulated a whopping 1-3 postseason record in that time. It's hard to compete for a title when they aren't winning the games when they count the most.
Last season the Cowboys lost two crucial games to the New York Giants toward the end of the regular season that prevented them from even making the playoffs.
This limited amount of success for "America's Team" has become a major topic of conversation, which will inevitably put more pressure on them. That is bad news considering that they will have a tough time making the playoffs in the always competitive NFC East.
If that "window" has been open, it is only cracked open. They are just barely feeling a light breeze at this point.
Another disappointing season will mean that Jones will close the window on Tony Romo and the Cowboys himself.
Maybe the Philadelphia Eagles are facing a lot of pressure because they have brought more attention to themselves by opening their mouths in front of the media.
Last year, backup quarterback Vince Young called the Eagles a "dream team." We all know what happened after that. This year, Michael Vick is saying that they could have a dynasty with the talent on the team. Although this is probably true, he is just opening the team to future scrutiny.
The reality is, the high expectations are there because they have arguably had the best team in the NFC East the past two seasons. Vick and Andy Reid must lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl this season.
With such a formidable offense and the offseason acquisitions of Nnamdi Asomugha and Jason Babin last year, the defense is (or should be) a force to be reckoned with.
If the $100 million man, Michael Vick, can't lead his team deep into the playoffs, much less stay on the field for the whole season, the boo birds will sure be flying in Philly.
New England Patriots
It's weird to think that the New England Patriots' opportunity to win a Super Bowl could be slipping away considering that they seem to make a Super Bowl appearance every other year, but time could be running out for New England.
The Patriots organization is the franchise that has been the model of consistency in terms of playoff appearances. But they have dealt with a lot of postseason heartbreak since the last time they won the Lombardi Trophy in the 2004-2005 season—most notably, the two Super Bowl losses to the Giants in SB XLII and XLVI.
While the future is bright at the tight end position with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, quarterback Tom Brady is not getting any younger. Although Brady is still one of the NFL's premier quarterbacks, he is about to enter his 12th season, and at 35 his numbers will probably be on the decline from here on out.
Time is ticking for Brady, which might mean time is ticking for the Patriots as well.
San Diego Chargers
Is there a team that's been more disappointing than the San Diego Chargers over the past eight seasons?
An organization that has seen Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles, Keenan McCardell and Vincent Jackson wearing the Chargers uniform at some point since 2004, and that currently has Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, has awfully underachieved.
The Bolts have been dealt their share of tough playoff losses to the New York Jets in January of 2005 and 2010.
The past two years, the Chargers have completely failed to make the playoffs and allowed the Denver Broncos—led by one of the worst passing quarterbacks in the NFL, Tim Tebow—to take the AFC West title despite being the superior team talent-wise.
With each team in the division getting stronger, it appears as if the Chargers might have a tough time reaching the postseason once again.
This might be another one of those disappointing seasons from an underachieving team that Chargers fans have gotten used to.
Erick Fernandez is the creator of I Want to Thank My Hood & My Psychiatrist