When you come off a Super Bowl-winning season, you have a great big bulls-eye on your back: every team in the NFL is out to prove themselves, like the new gunslinger coming to town, looking to prove he’s faster than the old gun. Everybody circles your name on the schedule when it comes out and everybody makes that little extra effort, knowing that knocking off last year’s best team will go a long way to cementing their own reputation.
But this is a funny, funny season in the National Football League. There is a lot of chatter and background noise…
- The lock-out wiped out all but the last few weeks of preparation for this season.
- The free agent frenzy was compressed to only a few days.
- A few perennial doormats (Detroit and Buffalo) have had a great deal of early success, gobbling up all the attention.
- The so-called “dream team” formed in Philly captured the imaginations of so many “experts” they became the team to beat.
- ESPN, ABC, SI, FOX Sports and everybody else is providing “CAM NEWTON, ALL THE TIME!” coverage.
- Daily updates on the status of Mike Vick’s various ailments, complaints and injuries.
So here we are, after the first quarter of the season and the best team in football is actually flying under the radar! You know I’m talking about the Green Bay Packers and I hate to use that tired cliché but it’s totally true. Yes, you get the obligatory spot on SportsCenter where they show the highlights and mention how great Aaron Rodgers is playing. You get the Packers sitting atop everybody’s “power rankings” or whatever they call it. You get Peter King to give you 35 words on just how dominant this offense is, given all the weapons they can field. But the rest of the time the 24/7 sports news circus is more focused on Tom Brady’s haircut.
But it’s not sexy to gush over a team that took on all comers to end their championship season last year and are looking even better this year. It’s not news worthy to point out the fact that the Packers are 4-0 and could easily be 7-0 by the time the bye comes along. It doesn’t sell Toyotas and Miller Lite to showcase a champion acting like a champion again.
Does it sound like I’m complaining? Well, I guess I am, a little. I’m a Packer fan. My team is perfect so far. I WANT the attention, the accolades and the glory heaped upon them! But I am also aware of the fact the big old bulls-eye painted on my teams back has largely been obscured by the insensate ramblings of the media over great (but not successful) rookie QB’s in Carolina, purchased superstars in Philly (who don’t look so super so far) and the unlikely rise of the Detroit Lions. That last is certainly a worthy story but all that smoke being blown around is obscuring and hiding the fact that the Packers are playing lights-out football and any time the SB Champ can actually sneak up on some teams, it’s got to play to their advantage!
So keep up the good work, national media! We’ll take all the accolades in February!