San Diego, Dallas, and Minnesota. Three play-off caliber teams whose 2010 record stands at 1-2. How can that be that good teams falter? After all these three teams have "franchise QBs". They all have good defenses. They all have offensive weapons. Vegas has been wrong on these teams. Pundits have been wrong. Experts of all kinds have been wrong. Read on and I will tell you my theory why.
This post really was generated yesterday while myself and several East Coast friends watched football during "Manhatten Sunday" . I'm not generally a highball type guy but it was a different experience. And the conversation was pleasant. Not a loud brashy kind of talk that can occur when friends representing 4 different teams get together while those teams are playing. Manhattens and the Red Zone Channel. Try it sometime. Not bad.
Anyway this is what I concluded.
Take away the bottom five teams in the NFL and you have 27 teams that are extremely close in talent. The slowest WR starter on the Jacksonville Jags is still a very talented WR. This goes for almost all positions. Its hard to admit that the Chicago Bears have real talent on their team, but they do. As a fan of the Vikings I hate to really admit that the Bronco's or the Giants are close in talent level to my team. But they are. This is why when some fans are hollering for the 2nd stringer to be put in the game they are calling into the wind. Never to be heard. Because the reason the player is starting is because he is better than the 2nd stringer. Maybe just a little. But enough that his presence on the field gives your team a better chance at winning.
So when a team like the Vikings lose two players and a team like the Giants find one star through the draft or a FA acquisition then those teams become extremely competitive. That is why the loss of a Cedrick Griffen is so devastating. The loss of a Sidney Rice and a Chris Cook is very bad. It makes the team more vulnerable. The same team that was vulnerable last year to teams like the Panthers, Bears, and the Cardinals. Now that team has less good parts and other teams have improved. Just a little. That is all it takes in the NFL. Just a little.
So, I think we have to be careful when trying to blame one member of the team or one component of the team for its failure. Its possible that we will never get the magic back that happened last year. The miracle catch by Lewis is an example. We might never get the high number of fumbles we had last year either. The low number of interceptions is another example of football magic. Many things change. They change because of very small changes in an NFL line-up. Coaches have to adjust for these changes. Sometimes they are successful. Sometimes they are not.
My point is simply to take a moment, enjoy the Manhatten, and understand that we are watching a football team that is changing. As is every other football team in the NFL. Changing each and every week. Its what makes the NFL so very special.
No one knows how the season will unfold. We know it will be different than last. But we also know that with the return of two players this week our team was better. Maybe other players will heal. Maybe other changes will occur. No matter what we have a very competitive team that has as good a chance to succeed as every other.
Add a little magic. Maybe something special will occur.