As the NFL preseason ends, the excitement that brings football fans back year after year is finally upon us with the regular season set to begin.
If your fervor has not been sullied by uninspired preseason games, your enthusiasm for the coming season is at an all-time high when your team finally takes the field this Sunday (for most teams).
Unfortunately, just by the nature of competition, half of the teams will win this week and the other half will lose (unless you're Donovan McNabb or Andy Reid and are unaware your team can tie a game and therefore fail to try for the win).
It is for this very reason that I feel it is time for us all to take off our respective team colored glasses and face some harsh truths.
Your team is not as good as you think they are.
We are football fans. We believe in our team. We place our hope in their hands every week. We share in the emotion of their successes and failures, so much so that we marry ourselves to our team with words of ownership (we just need to…, etc.).
But to be honest with ourselves, without dashing the hopes that have us chomping at the bit, we need to keep ourselves from buying into the hype, or we will surely be disappointed.
Without calling out teams or players (because we all know who they are):
That rookie your team picked up in the draft is still a rookie and will probably not have that much of an impact for your team this year. Even if he shows flashes of brilliance, he will fail more than he succeeds this year (with few exceptions.)
That older veteran player your team picked up in free agency is old, and probably doesn’t have the gas left in the tank that he did in his heyday. Don’t be surprised if he underperforms—because your team paid him for what he did in his past rather than what he has the ability to do for your team in the future.
Your new rookie head coach is a rookie head coach and will/has made rookie mistakes himself. I don’t care how good he was as a coordinator, he has a lot more on his plate now than he ever had in the past. He is not the savior of your franchise and will not lead you to the Super Bowl this year or the next. The reason your team has a new head coach is because your team wasn’t very good last year, despite what you may think.
The prospect players on your roster are not that good. All the potential in the world won’t make them an impact player in the NFL.
Though patience is required to develop a legitimate player in the NFL, some players will never pan out. Even if they were a very high draft pick, some players are just busts. Your organization is paying them a whole lot for very little in return.
Your offense will not be as dynamic as you think it will. Sure you have some very talented running backs (or receivers), but without any decent receivers (or running backs) your offense is one dimensional and will stall eventually.
Your team will miss the player or coach that they lost to another team this off-season. The dynamic that individual brought to the team, allowing them to be so successfu is gone, and it will show.
No one can predict the future and few things in life are certain, but I think we will all be better off if we temper our expectations with reality.
I do not suggest that you dilute the excitement or fervor for your team. But simply realize the hype for what it is.
As the saying goes..."On any given Sunday..."
Never give up hope, but make sure your expectations are realistic for your team.
Allow yourself to be surprised by players exceeding your expectations, and aptly prepared when they simply meet your realistic expectations.
I hope I didn’t depress anyone with this article—just trying to speak some truth.
Hope for the best, but prepare (yourself) for the worst.