The 2009 NFL season is almost upon us, as training camp officially started yesterday in Buffalo. Many look to rebound from a disappointment of a season from 2008, while other teams look to continue their playoff success in 2009.
The 2009 NFL Draft was upon us in April, where once again we saw hopeful draftees selected to help turn around many of the franchises in the National Football League.
Three quarterbacks were taken in the first round, all of them will receive the pressure of turning their franchise around in one season as Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan did with their respectable organizations.
Speaking of Matt Ryan, what never is talked about on that day in the 2008 NFL Draft is the coin flip, the lucky charm that put Atlanta in the position to select their franchise quarterback.
Coin flip? What coin flip are you talking about involving the 2008 NFL Draft?
None can remember? Well, though I doubt many people to remember or think of this, what can be put into perspective is one coin flip has put three franchises in different futures.
As the 2007-2008 season came to a conclusion, there were three teams that were tied with a 4-12 record. These franchises are the Atlanta Falcons, the Oakland Raiders, along with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Just days before the draft began, the coin flip was going to be made, which would settle the three-way tie for the 3rd overall pick.
The Atlanta Falcons caught the most luck, earning the 3rd overall pick in the draft. Those Oakland Raiders went 2nd, and achieved the 4th overall pick, while the Chiefs found the least amount of luck in the coin flip, and earned the 5th pick.
In one way, none of these franchises shouldn't be disappointed in their selections.
The Falcons selected Matt Ryan, quarterback out of Boston College.
The Raiders selected Darren McFadden, running back out of Arkansas.
The Chiefs at the fifth spot, selected Glenn Dorsey, defensive tackle from LSU.
These three selections have already made an impact on their organizations, and are now being the building block of the franchise. While nobody can be upset about these picks, what would have happened if the coin-flip went differently?
How much of a difference would it make on any of these franchises if they selected earlier or later? The relevant answer to this question would have to be involved mostly around the Falcons and the Chiefs.
Even though the what ifs can't always be focused on, lets just think what would have happened if the Chiefs selected before the Falcons.
While the Chiefs did love Dorsey to help build a defensive squad that was weak, who would say that Kansas City wouldn't have taken Matt Ryan if still on the board?
After all, at that point in time a quarterback was desperately needed. Tyler Thigpen was the best quarterback on the roster, and even though a great defensive tackle in Dorsey would be available, Matt Ryan would be a certain selection of the Chiefs, and become the new face of the franchise.
In case you don't remember, the Atlanta Falcons were deciding at their pick whether to take Matt Ryan or Glenn Dorsey, both who intrigued the franchise. The team obviously needed a new face at quarterback, one who can lift the franchise from the damage caused by Michael Vick.
If the Chiefs found the same luck the Falcons did with the coin flip, and selected Ryan, the Falcons still would have drafted a great player, yet a whole new direction would be different. Earning a playoff spot in the 2008-2009 season would be highly unlikely if Atlanta did not have Ryan at the quarterback position.
If the Chiefs had the great QB, who knows how successful Kansas City could have put together, especially in a division that only took eight wins to clinch. Offensive weapons in Tony Gonzalez, Dwayne Bowe, and running back Larry Johnson would have been similar to the group Ryan had with Atlanta this season.
And then we have the Oakland Raiders. Heading into the draft, at the 4th selection it was made known that the silver and black would take Darren McFadden, the top running back in the draft, who was needed as the offensive threat for quarterback JaMarcus Russell.
If the coin flip went the Raiders way, and the 3rd pick was achieved, we would think Oakland would still have taken McFadden? Or would he?
We know Al Davis wouldn't have selected another quarterback, but knowing the most-unlikely scenarios we have seen the Raiders at draft day, who knows the direction the franchise has gone in.
As we look heading into the 2009 season, how does each franchise look?
The Atlanta Falcons experienced the post-season under rookie quarterback Matt Ryan, who was awarded as the Offensive Rookie of the Year. The Oakland Raiders finished with a record of six wins and ten losses, however, ended the regular season on a winning streak under new head coach Tom Cable, bringing confidence heading into training camp.
The Kansas City Chiefs endured the most painful season of the three, which led to a new head coach in Todd Haley, general manager Scott Pioli, and quarterback Matt Cassell, who they acquired in a trade from the Patriots to be the new franchise quarterback.
In the National Football League, a franchise is built on success and hard-work from every man or woman in the organization.
In this case, one coin flip brought some good and bad luck to three of these franchises.
The good luck went Atlanta's way, who selected Matt Ryan, and now leads one of the teams to beat in the NFC. Most importantly, the city has found hope, hope that this young man can lead this franchise to a Super Bowl and bestow the deviled past of Michael Vick.
The Oakland Raiders are still unproven on the good or bad side. McFadden was solid in his rookie season, and the team’s makes strides to get closer in post season contention once again. Yet, many feel the team is a few off seasons away from making another splash.
Finally, the bad luck has gone the way of the Kansas City Chiefs, who are beginning a great rebuilding plan under new management.
It shall be interesting to watch years down the line if any of these franchises find drastic changes along the way. But for now, one single coin-flip has determined the good, bad and worst of these NFL organizations.
Matt Miselis is a writer for BleacherReport.com