Thursday, October 15, 2009

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

"There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now." - James A. Baldwin

Nothing quite like starting a sports column with inspirational words.

So often in sports, and more so now than ever, we tend to remember the current and ignore the past. If you presented this theory to a history professor or a history major they'd laugh in your face and say that is the worst way to predict what can possibly happen in the future. Over the past 230 years that this country has been a country, one trend has been consistent that we can base our future projections on: History always repeats itself.

So why, in this day in age, do we always focus on the "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" rather than looking into the past to get more accurate results? If our history is our best educator than why is everyone so hung up on what happens that day?

Myself, along with nearly everyone in the sporting world, is a victim of this disease. In the four major sports, NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL we base our thoughts about a particular player or particular team on what they have done recently. This has never been more prevalent than this year's NFL season.

It starts with the media. We all love to see what the media has to say about every team week in and week out, and we're supposed to believe what they tell us because they are the "experts." I, for one, fall prey to this week in and week out. For some reason we're all addicted to what they have to say. The problem is that 90% of the analysts and media outlets focus on what happened in the past week. I know I harp about the Cowboys week in and week out, but they are the perfect example.

Heading into the season, Mr. Romo was supposed to be a top five quarterback in this league and he sure looked like it after week 1. Then the Cowboys go into week 2 and lay an egg in Jerry's new stadium. After that game Tony Romo went from being the 5th or 6th best quarterback in the NFL who can potentially win a Super Bowl, down to a middle of the pack quarterback and the Cowboys season was finished because he could never win the big game.

After a win the next week, they head into an undefeated Denver Broncos stadium and once again Mr. Romo decided to lay another egg. Throwing an interception and missing throws all game.

The point I'm trying to make is that nearly everyone of our athletes across the league is under a "What have you done for me lately?" microscope. Carson Palmer was an elite quarterback before his injury. So when he came back everyone was saying that he'll just be average and he's lost his ability to be a great quarterback. His team is 4-1. Now everyone is judging Tom Brady, saying that he has lost some ability to play quarterback. Well, yea the man sat out an ENTIRE YEAR of football. Why are we so quick to judge what he's going to do after 5 weeks? Carson Palmer has come back from a similar injury and is now playing at an elite level. So why do we think Brady won't do that as well?

This epidemic is league-wide. People are now beginning to question whether or not Jeff Fisher is a good coach in Tennessee. The media outlets and bloggers are critiquing him and saying that his job may be in jeopardy because his team is 0-5. So because his team is having a rough stretch you fire a coach who's lead this franchise to the playoffs 6 out of the past 10 seasons?

Fantasy Football has made this epidemic grow even more rapid over the past years. This year players like Matt Forte, Clinton Portis, Tony Romo, and De Angelo Williams are being scrutinized by everyone who owns them saying that they've lost a step and that Romo can't lead a team without T.O. I guarantee you that the three running backs mentioned will all have 1000 yards and Romo will still finish with 30TDs and 3000 yards. Those are all solid fantasy numbers right? Maybe it's time for us to focus on what our past will tell us and give these athletes time to perform.

But this is how our society is. We're prisoners of the moment. We're captured by the now. In a world of real-time updates and ridiculous news reports about completely irrelevant topics (See: Favre, Brett), in a world of Twitter and Facebook, in a world of iPhone applications and Blackberry updates, and in the world of Fantasy football fans do not miss a beat. There is no cure for this epidemic, it has to start with ourselves. Maybe we should look into the past for more accurate answers as to what is going to endure in the future. But for now were going to be living in that "What have you done for me lately?" mindset.

1 comment:

  1. Great job here, especially with the ending! A great outlook on really social concerns of the country.

    I agree, Jeff Fisher shouldn't be fired. But then again, look what happened to Mike Shanahan. Same situation-- and his team almost made the playoffs!

    The only thing I can say in defense of the "what have you done for me lately" kind of thing, is that each season is different, with different variables. So while you can prepare for one thing, after you see a RADICAL change that is consistant for a few weeks, that in a way is history repeating itself, and the tone of the new season. So Tom Brady is back after a year of injury and isn't the same. Could he come back anytime now? Yes. Would I be surprised if the turnaround was next game, or he lead some kind of miracle drive? No because he's done it in the past. But would I be surprised if he is still getting his footing and not come around for a while now? No because that's the "new past" of this season and it's been pretty consistent. Make any sense?


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