Everything is almost normal. School started back up again, the weather is getting just slightly cooler for fall, pumpkin spice lattes are back, but something’s not quite right. Soon it will be, as my Sunday routine will once again be surrounding the television, awestruck while watching NFL football.
The NFL is the most popular professional league in the United States. Millions of people follow it religiously. Even in the six months without football, it is talked about, followed and even still watched with fervent eyes. In fact, for most people, the best part of the year is without football. Not because they do not like the game, but because this is the only time that people talk about the positives of their team.
For example, the New York Giants. Over the offseason, the talk of the Giants’ camp was sadly Odell Beckham Jr. The star wideout was traded from the Giants to the Browns in a blockbuster trade. For a long while, this is what everyone in the Giants fan base talked about. Then, it was Daniel Jones. The first round selection out of Duke was mainly criticized rather than praised in NY. The fans wanted other players instead and were upset. Then he played.
In the preseason, Daniel Jones might win MVP. 29 completions for 34 attempts for a 85.3 completion percentage, 416 yards and two touchdowns with just one start. Now the Giants have hope. More than hope, they have hype. A quarterback for the future and a bright spot with an organization that has been surrounded by failure in the past few years. However, Jones most likely will not play.
The Giants have stated that Eli Manning will start this season with Jones as the backup. This means that once again, the Giants are looking at a mediocre season with no playoff appearance and a sad ending. The season will not be pretty for NY. Giants fans know it, but they’re still waiting for a miracle to save the season. The odds for that are ever so slim, and Giants fans are now walking into the worst part of the year.
Just ask Cleveland fans. In fact, do not ever doubt the patience of a Browns fan. Years and years of sucking, of losing again and again, season after season without fail. Everyone knew the Browns were bad, and Browns fans just kept with it. Why? The offseason: a time to have hope that your team is improving. After the draft, free agency, training camp and trades, every team believes they have improved over the offseason. Of course, this cannot always be true. Not every team improves, and Browns fans know it.
Now, the Browns are the up and coming favorite. The underdog that finally made it. They have Superbowl dreams in sight, and they just might get there. This has been the story over the offseason at least, but that is most likely because this is the first time Browns fans can even say this without being laughed out of the room. Truly, I hope every Browns fan is shouting from the rooftops that they will win it all because until this year, that has not happened in my life.
Now, the Giants, Miami, Washington and a few other teams are most certainly heading into the worst part of the year. For weeks, people have been screaming for the NFL to start back up. Fantasy teams have been drafted, jerseys pressed and tailgates cleaned. The world is ready for the NFL, but what some do not realize is that when it shows up, it will bring with it a dark cloud of losing for many.
While most of us in this area are going to experience great football, cheering for winning teams like the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, many will have no such luck. So, think back over the last few months. Take a look and be thankful for every improvement your team might have made. Smile and bask in the glory of the unknown, because once Thursday night rolls around, it is all over. Reality will settle in and while we all believe our team will end up on top, only one will. The odds are not in your favor no matter what team you root for.
Have fun this football year, but never forget the losers. You get to enjoy the season, yes, but they will have their moment, so do not boast too much, do not brag too harshly, because one day you will be the loser looking forward to the offseason, remembering the time when you, too, had hope for your team.