Read an article today that kind of got me in a little bit of a fuss. So if you will bear with me for a bit I just have to get some things off my chest.
So why are we focusing so much on the individual performances in football rather then the team performance? Is it because we are Americans and we just have that individualistic mentality? I don’t think so. I think we have seen a shift in this media driven NFL world we live in today. Some players are all about themselves and the media does not do them any favors when they plaster their name and face all over the TV, internet, newspapers, and radio.
The article I was reading (link to it here) was all about how the Chiefs missed out in 1983 on three Hall of Fame quarterbacks, John Elway, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelley but instead went with Todd Blackledge. Yes, I know how Blackledge worked out for the Chiefs, he didn’t.
What really just gets my goat is I have seen a flurry of these types of articles in the past and they are getting even more frequent now more then ever. The media jumps on every opportunity to highlight how a team passed on a great player and went with one that did not work out, but why did that player not work out? Is it because he is not the athlete everyone expected, or is it because the scheme, surrounding players, and the coaching staff were all wrong?
If you’re stuck in the rut of the me, me, me attitude when it comes to sports your more then likely are going to blame the individual. If you have a team outlook on things you can’t deny the second choice. The environment the player was put in was all wrong. Maybe instead of thinking what if Dan Marino would have come to Kansas City, instead you think what if Todd Blackledge would have gone to Miami.
Just maybe if the two players switched spots you would see Blackledge’s name all over the NFL and not Marino. Maybe Blackledge would be heading to the Hall of Fame and not Marino. Maybe you would be saying look at the Chiefs bypassing on Blackledge and went with the draft bust of ’83 Marino.
Never thought of that way before? That’s ok your not alone.
Simple fact is that football is a 100% team sport. No quarterback can be great without the other 10 guys on the field with him. No linebacker can be great if were not for the other 10 guys supporting him. Players become great due to good coaching, schemes that maximize their abilities and surrounding players that support them.
There are many examples of this philosophy all around the NFL. Guys that are great go on to other teams and under-perform. Since we are talking about the Chiefs I will give you a great example. Matt Cassel came to KC after a great years performance at New England. He was shoved in after Tom Brady was injured early in the season, never to return that year. Cassel performed due to great coaches, a good scheme that fit him, and players that performed around him. Cassel led the Patriots to the playoffs that year. Then he comes to KC and all that just went away. Cassel only had one great year in Kansas City, which if you remember it was due to the offensive coordinator Charlie Weis putting him in the correct scheme. Cassel did so well he was invited to the Pro Bowl that year. Then Charlie Weis left and he was never the same.
Just think if Weis would have stayed. Would Cassel be leaving or maybe he would be coming off a Super Bowl run ready to become one of the highest paid quarterbacks in history. What if, what if, what if… I am sick of this way of thinking!
The draft is almost upon us and the one thing you have to know is each one of those guys drafted is a big gamble. No one knows how any of those guys will work out when they start to play ball for their respected teams. Some guys will perform like they think they will, others will under-perform and others will over-perform. Who knows!
One thing I can predict is in 5 or so years you will see an article about how your favorite team missed out on a great opportunity in the 2013 draft.
Ok, ok… I’ll get off my soap box now…