Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I Know Nothing

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."
That's totally us, dude!
I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable about professional football. (The National Football League, not the Premier League, I don't know much about soccer).
What I mean is, although I'm no super fan (I don't download video from the league, I don't 're-watch' games to break down film, and I'm not 100% certain who is on my team's practice squad.
However, I'm pretty well versed in all the schemes and trends of the league.  I know the difference between a "pistol" set and a "shotgun" set.  I know the difference between the 3-4 and the 4-3.  I know the preferred personnel to run either scheme.  
I understand the difference between a shovel pass and a screen pass.  I can name pretty much every player on my favorite team's roster (the chargers, and don't laugh at me, it's not polite).  In addition, I can probably name the 3 deep depth chart at just about every position on the team (although that's difficult with the injuries they have had).
When I watch the games I concentrate on what's happening as it unfolds, not just the result of the play.  I notice the play-action fake... I notice the crucial block that gets a guy through a crease for a gain instead of a loss...I notice the qb staring down a wr before an interception, and I notice alot of near misses:...near tackles, near sacks, near catches, near fumbles.
I enjoy the strategy of the game, always have.  When I was a teen and you coach play the "coach mode" or "strategy mode" (I can't remember what it's called now)  of tecmo bowl, where you just call the plays and watch...I was the only guy I knew who liked that.  I played like 4 full seasons of the doomed EA Sports NFL Head Coach Video game.  And that game sucked...but it was what I wanted.  (I actually bought the second version of the game, too).
In the 1990 season (when I was 20 years old and in college), when the pre-season booklets came out with the NFL Schedules...I filled out the Division winners, and the AFC and NFC Champion, and the Super Bowl champion.  (I missed one Division winner, but I can't remember who it was).  I predicted the Giants against the Bills in the Super Bowl back in August, and I was right.
But I don't understand the NFL today.
There is literally nothing you can count on.  
Week in and week out, there are things happening that don't make sense.
For example:  This past weekend the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (one of the worst teams in the league) played in Seattle against the Seahawks (one of the best teams in the league).  The Seahawks also boast one of the league's best home field advantages, a great defense, and insane atmosphere to play football easy win for Seattle, right?
Wrong.  They did win.  But it wasn't easy.  They had to battle back from behind (2 touchdowns behind), in the 2nd half to put the game into overtime.
This isn't uncommon.  It's the norm.
The NFL does NOT make sense.  
Let's take the Indianapolis Colts season so far.
Week one:  they beat the Raiders (OK, the Raiders aren't great, but they won)
Week two:  they lose to the Dolphins (wait a sec... maybe the Colts aren't so good)
Week three:  they beat the 49ers 27-7 (the niners were regarded as one of the league's top teams)
Week four:  they beat the Jags (OK, so the Colts are pretty good)
Week five:  they beat the Seahwaks (wait a second...the Seahawks are also very good)
Week six:  they lose to the Chargers, only scoring 9 points (The Chargers are a .500 team, right)
Week seven:  they beat the previously unbeaten Broncos (Wait...the Chargers just beat them right)
Week eight:  they play the struggling Texans, and barely win... coming back from a 21-3 deficit at the half.
Does this team make any sense at all?  
The Chiefs are 9-0.
(They went 2-14 last year)  But they are 9-0.  (Of course they play against back up quarterbacks nearly every week...and they haven't won impressively, except maybe against the Jags and the Raiders, but they are 9-0).
2 Weeks ago, Nick Foles, the Quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, posted a QB rating of 46 and only completed 37% of his passes....against a Dallas Cowboys defense that had already given up 400 yards passing 4 different times this season.  (So he must stink then, right?)
So last week, against the Raiders...he goes out and throws 7 Touchdown passes, completing 78% of his passes, and posts a QB rating of 158.3. (Which is basically a perfect score in QB Rating)
What I'm saying is... I don't know anything.
The game is too complex.  There are too many moving parts.  There are too many "almost" each and every game, for it to be predictable in any way, shape, or form.
So next time you hear someone complaining about their coach's play calling...just shake your head and agree.  Because someone who spends a few hours on Sunday afternoon must certainly know more who lives and breathes the game his entire life, right?
It's just not a simple game.  You can't predict what will happen.  

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