There’s little I find more annoying than media types making assumptions and reporting those assumptions as “news”. They expect all of these things to happen in the coming weeks and months, and when those things happen they can turn around and say, “See, we told ya so!” It’s all so stupid and immature; lazy writing.
The following issues are already stories I’m tired of hearing about, and they’ve yet to really even take hold:
- The lockout will result in a ton of injuries
- The lockout will lead to an increase in penalties, turnovers, & sloppy all-around play
- Rules changes will lead to nonstop touchbacks on kickoffs
First, yes, there will be injuries. There will be injuries because there are ALWAYS injuries. Some hotshot quarterback like Peyton Manning or Drew Brees will break his leg and be lost for the season in week 2 and they’ll all say, “Look at THIS! See, we told you, injuries! Bad lockout, BAD!” It’s going to happen, because it always happens. But, I bet when we get to season’s end, if you added up every single injury that kept a guy out of part or all of a ballgame, this season will be no different than any other season in the last 20 years.
Second, with the whole sloppy play thing, how much can you REALLY blame a lockout for that? Penalties – especially the false start/holding/offsides variety – are merely a matter of concentration and they’re going to fluctuate randomly. Some teams will be better, some teams will be God-awful; some teams will have a lot early and some teams will have a lot at the end of the season. Let’s not get carried away.
Yes, teams are a bit hamstrung by the fact that they haven’t had a proper training camp to install their playbooks (especially for teams with new coaches & coordinators), but they still have a full 4-week preseason to work out the kinks. And I’m convinced you’re not going to get anywhere as a football team unless you’re playing other football teams. All preseason, all I ever read about is how the Seahawks’ defense is dominating the offense. All preseason, every preseason, it’s all I read about: this cornerback snagged a beautiful interception, that safety returned a pick for a touchdown, this linebacker forced a fumble, etc. etc. You know why the Seahawks’ defense is out-performing the offense? Because they see the same damn plays and the same damn players every damn day! How hard is it to dominate a side of the football when all you do is play against them?
In spite of what people like to say about the preseason being too long, I think it’s perfect. Yeah, it sucks dick that season ticket-holders have to pay full price for pretend football; but you’re not going to learn diddley squat about your team as a head coach until you see them playing other teams. The fact that the games don’t count in the standings is irrelevant; they count for much more than anyone gives them credit for.
And finally, can we PLEASE get off of the whole kickoffs/returns issue? WHO CARES? The NFL is trying something new, so right there that’s exciting. Love it or hate it, something different is always interesting, at least for a little while. Also, everyone is making this thing out to be the death knell of kickoff returns. Really? Because all kickers were doing such a good job of kicking balls to the goalline, this extra five yards is going to be the difference between returns and touchbacks? Are you kidding me?
Kickers suck at kicking! Except for Olindo Mare and a few others around the league, most kickers have trouble getting the ball inside the 5! The returns are going to be fine. Yes, touchbacks will increase a little bit, and I for one think that’s a good thing. I think teams should be rewarded for having strong-legged kickers. I think the Seahawks will rue the day they didn’t franchise Mare. But, even though Mare was one of the better kickers in the NFL at touchbacks last year, that doesn’t mean his rate was all that high!
The five-yard change isn’t going to make all that much of a difference for most kickers; but for guys like Mare it could be a drastic increase in the number of touchbacks he sees. I don’t know what that’s going to translate to on the scoreboard, though. The “Field Position Game” is only as good as the defense behind it. But, I gotta think a guy like Mare, booming those kickoffs through the endzone, is going to do nothing but help.
As for everyone else, let’s calm down a little bit and take these things rationally. Just because the media is expecting what it wants to see and reporting about it accordingly doesn’t mean we have to take what they say at face value.
Take what I say at face value. I would never steer you wrong. I love you, so much!