What Makes The NFL Great Is it’s Unpredictability
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Seeing the Colts go into Arrowhead and beat the mighty Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes, who I think is the next generation superstar, reminded me of why the NFL, above all other pro sports leagues, has the greatest hook to lure in fans.
Every season is so unpredictable and never goes the way we think it will. It’s not only that every season leaves us shaking our heads, but how quickly this thing gets off the rails week to week.
Case in point, the Dallas Cowboys, who looked like a playoff contender the first few weeks of the season, have shown they can’t win if their lives depended on it.
It’s hard each week as a fan when you’re sure your team is out of it by the way they play. They look so bad, it seems clear they will never win another game.
Then, the next week it’s a completely different team. You’re left wondering, where did the GM go and get all these really good players to replace the bums we had last week?
Of course, this doesn’t apply to all teams in the NFL. There are a few teams that will never have a shot any week, no way, no how, not going to happen! (Sorry Dolphins, Redskins and Bengals.)
NFL doesn’t care about your predictions
The most sure bet about the NFL season is, never bet on the outcome. Things never end the way you think they will.
I can attest to this firsthand. The 1992 Miami Dolphins were 9-2 with the best record in the AFC. We had 3 of the last 5 remaining games at home, and a 98 percent likelihood of making the playoffs. Yes, 98 percent!
It was an almost certain guarantee of being in the playoffs.
Well, we lost all 5 of our remaining games and missed the playoffs.
Hard lesson learned. The NFL is a cruel, hard place that does not care and has no remorse for the faint of heart. Winning is all that matters. Period!
Case in point: Colts vs Chiefs
It was fun Sunday night, seeing the look of one of my former teammates, Colts head coach Frank Reich. He had a look on his face like the cat that just ate the cannery.
The 4-0 Chiefs were at home against a Colts team with only two wins – both against teams with losing records.
I promise you, no one in the entire free civilized world thought the Colts would win, except Frank Reich, his staff and players.
Not even Colts fans thought they would win.
The experts, announcers and prognosticators all picked Kansas City. Surely Chiefs Nation and Andy Reid didn’t think the Colts would win.
So what gave Frank Reich the right to have that look on his face, and why didn’t anyone try to wipe it off?
Well, if you recall, Frank Reich was the author of the two of the greatest comebacks in football history. The first was a playoff game with the Buffalo Bills on January 3, 1993 – a game actually given the nickname, “The Comeback.”
Reich got the start after Jim Kelly strained the ligaments in his knee in the final game of the regular season, also against Houston.
By halftime, the Houston Oilers were up 28-3, with Buffalo showing no signs of life. The Oilers scored again early in the third quarter, making it a 35-3 game.
Much of the crowd was already leaving in the third quarter. Those who did missed an incredible comeback.
Reich led the Bills to 35 unanswered points – 28 in the third quarter alone. Houston kicked a field goal to put the game into overtime, but Buffalo scored in overtime, winning 41-38.
His other big comeback was at the University of Maryland in 1984 against the Miami Hurricanes. It was another game amazing enough to get its own nickname – the “Miracle in Miami.”
Reich came in as the backup quarterback and led the Terrapins back from a 31-0 deficit at halftime.
Maryland won 42-40.
Any NFL Team Could Beat Any NFL Team
He knows full well that every team is fair game in the NFL at any time and at anyplace. If you don’t bring it each week for the entire game, you are going to get run over.
It is a stone cold lock that how the standings are today, or which team looks unbeatable, you can bet that in a week, maybe a month, it will all change.
Let’s try not to even discuss who gets to and wins the Super Bowl. It’s almost impossible to predict.
Here’s a tip, the New England Patriots are looking unbeatable. Tom Brady looks like he can play 10 more years. They are undefeated. They have won 6 Super Bowls.
Well, don’t bet on them being in the Super Bowl, because so often what actually happens is different from what everyone expects.
Someone, somewhere is lurking in the shadows that we are not paying attention to, that has a look on their face like the cat that ate the cannery.
They’re just waiting to surprise us with another unpredictable finish to the NFL season, and that is why we will keep tuning in year after year.