I Hate the NFL Off-Season... This Year
Jon York – Jul 19, 2012
There are those who say there is no off-season in the NFL. Perhaps that more accurately applies to the players - for them there isn't much of a downtime to relax. Sure, the new collective bargaining agreement has scaled back on the number of practices and minicamps but in a league where many players don't become strangers with gym equipment the player who relaxes too much won't be a player for long.
For fans the off-season does exist. It's not as quiet as it used to be... With coaching changes, mock drafts, the internet, the media storm called the NFL Draft, free agency, fantasy preparations, Twitter, minicamps, training camps and the like the off-season is a different beast than the one I grew up with. I remember the dark days of summer football when I would scour the sports pages daily hoping to get one sentence a week in Raider updates.
This time of year isn't the same for anyone. I don't mean us as individuals with our different rituals or distractions, but depending on which team you root for.
Giants fans are no doubt thrilled - coming off a Super Bowl win there is plenty to be happy about.
Teams who won a playoff game are usually excited, convincing themselves that whatever changes their team made - no matter how small - are exactly the ones needed to go even farther. The only team this might not apply to would be the Patriots. I don't know about any of you, but the hangover from the Raiders most recent Super Bowl loss was worse than what I felt after any of the most recent losing seasons.
There is plenty of positive buzz surrounding teams that made a surprising playoff appearance. That buzz is loud with plenty of fans coming out of the woodwork and talking as though their team has been a playoff contender for years and your team has never been good. I'm looking at you, Bengal fans.
A big splash in free agency can be enough to make this an exciting time of year worth talking about. You can't blame Broncos fans for high expectations and good feelings after swapping Tim Tebow for Peyton Manning.
So for some this time of year is a good experience and they have plenty of good things to high-five each other about.
To me this time of year sucks - at least it does right now.
Been a long time since I had playoff excitement - even longer since I had a Championship to not shut up about. Free agency splash? In recent seasons many of the high profile free agents were questionable to most outside of the Raiders front office. This season the biggest signings were one year deals for players with question marks. The General Manager is a rookie and some questioned the credentials of the new head coach.
Don't get me wrong - I'm excited for the season. I think the new coaching staff brings some long missing traits to the table. Lost amongst some of the "out of whack contracts" is the fact that Al Davis left some real good young talent on the roster. Reggie McKenzie has filled some holes nicely (Ron Bartell and Miles Burris by far are my favorite acquisitions). I believe the offense will be explosive and the defense will surprise some people.
What has made it hard for me (and maybe for some of you) is that there is no proof. I think this... I believe that... I speculate the other... Yet that's what I do every year. The glass half-full fans generally agree and we have some fun and exciting conversations.
It's those other fans that make it suck. Debbie Downer Raider fans (not questioning their fanhood, just sad that they can no longer get excited) re-hashing the same old debates. Fans of other teams having a good laugh at the Raiders expense. Media members piling on with stupid talk of contraction or whatever. And Raider fans having no tangible defense outside of "Historically this is still a good team"... Or "If Carson Palmer returns to form"... "If Darren McFadden stays healthy." And so forth and so on.
It gets to be a beat down. Every move becomes a debate. Every hire has to be defended. This lull between camps is the worst part, there are no selections, signings, or practices to distract from negativity.
That's why I hate this time of year.
At least this year... I can't wait until next off-season - after the 2012 squad gives us a lot of good things to talk about.
Maybe July 2013 I'll post an article about how much I love the off-season.
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