The NFL season ebbs and flows; teams’ fortunes and performances ebb and flow. For example:
- The NFL record for worst point differential in a 16-game season is held by the 1981 Baltimore Colts; that team lost by a total of 274 points or 17.1 points per game. Earlier this season the Jets projected to break that record. I do not want to imply that the Jets’ defense has become a force majeure or anything of the sort over the past few weeks, but the Jets would need to lose their last 2 games by a combined 67 points to tie that ignominious mark. The Jets’ defense significantly improved as the season went on.
- The Steelers ran off 11 consecutive wins as their start to the season. More than a few folks thought they were the best team in the AFC and/or the NFL as they won game after game. Now, the Steelers have lost 3 games in a row; two of those three losses have come at the hands of teams with a losing record in 2020; moreover, the Steelers have looked less than fearsome in any of the three losses.
- The WTFs lost 5 of their first 6 games and 7 of their first 9 games. Since that point in the season, the WTFs won 4 of 5 games and now lead the NFC East by a game and have two games left on the schedule and both are against teams with a combined record of 8-19-1. The WTFs are odds-on to make the playoffs.
The point here that we need to avoid overreacting to individual games or to early season trends; most games produce singular outcomes not always portents of the future and many early season trends turn out to be not much more than erroneous extrapolations. Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot observed another of the early season extrapolations that might not seem so certain now:
“Not so fast: Seems like just a few minutes ago that football’s wise mavens were engraving Russell Wilson’s name on the MVP trophy. But since Week 7, he’s committed a league-high 12 turnovers and fallen out of the race. For future reference, here’s a thought: Let the season play out.”
Patience may be a virtue, but it is also something that runs counter to much of human nature. People are wired to react to things and to react in such a way as to make a perceived positive change in things. In the case of making observations about an unfolding NFL season, perhaps the application of a smidgen of patience would being about a lesser need to make a secondary – or tertiary – observation/extrapolation on the same subject.
Speaking of patience, there is an issue simmering in the world of the NFL that has noting to do with on-field performance that is being addressed with outstanding patience. I believe it has been 5 months now since the Washington Post broke the story about the “toxic culture” in the front office of the Washington Football Team then knows as the Skins. At first, Danny Boy Snyder hired an outside lawyer, Beth Wilkinson, to do a full investigation of the matter; at least three senior people from the business side and the communications side of the organization were separated from the organization.
About a month or so later, the Post added to the story with more allegations of sexual harassment and generally sleazy behavior that took place in the team front office. One of those allegations may be taken to involve Danny Boy himself; but if one wanted to make such a connection, the allegation provided only a tenuous and possible linkage. The NFL used that information to step in and to make the NFL itself as the overseer of the investigation by Ms. Wilkinson. So far, so good…
I have never claimed to be virtuous; while I can exhibit patience at times, there are also times when I wonder how and why some things take so long to accomplish. I have gotten to that point with this investigation. When Sherlock Holmes was dealing with the immensely complex problem of eliminating the criminal genius embodied by Professor James Moriarty, that was sufficiently complicated to have taken a long period of investigative time – – even though it was all fictional time. In real terms and recent times, I also understand why Robert Muller’s investigation into 2016 election interference took a long time. While I accept that some of the details involved in this “toxic culture” investigation might be difficult to tease out and while I am certain that Ms. Wilkinson has other clients and time commitments to juggle, I wonder what is taking so long?
The good folks at The Onion always have a unique perspective on issues and events going on in the world. Sometimes they focus on sports and come up with “scoops” that call for our attention. Here is one from a couple of weeks ago I found entertaining:
- Jacksonville Couple Successfully Mates To Help Save Endangered Jaguars Fan Base
And here is another “Onion exclusive” from last week:
- Baker Mayfield’s Commercial Agent Furious He Continues to Risk Everything By Playing Football
Finally, as we are squarely amid the Holiday Season – – after all, tomorrow is Festivus – – let me close with the definition of “Holiday” from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Holiday: Any of a series of joyous commemorative dates on which everyone is expected to feel wonderful, making a lot of people who do not happen to feel that way very anxious and ready to haul off and belt the next person who tells them to have a happy one.”
But don‘t get me wrong, I love sports………