Sunday marks the climactic end to a wild season full of dreadful injuries, off-the-field, politically charged controversies, and as Sunday reminds us, the rise of an underdog. As a fan whose team didn’t even make the playoffs for the first time in years, I’ve had to learn some coping mechanisms including team-specific disassociation to avoid the lulling depression of mediocrity.
For others, perhaps those who struggled to pull off a winning record, the end of the season provided a breath of respite before an offseason committed to reboot. But come Monday, NFL fans across the nation will succumb to off-seasonal depression. I’ve spent some time reflecting on how to cope with the loss of the season, and offer some suggestions in preparation for our loss.
1. Cross your fingers for a good trade. Focus your energies on the anxiety that will prevail until the end of the trading period on March 14th. Chiefs and Redskins fans have already been subject to a big shift for both franchises with the Alex Smith trade to DC and the imminent loss of Kirk Cousins, a free agent. Thoughts and prayers to cornerback Kendall Fuller, who after tweeting a sigh of relief learned that he in fact was part of the Smith trade and will be headed south to work under Andy Reid next year. Other franchises like the Browns, Jets, Giants and Broncos could host Cousins soon, but may also look to the college draft for players like Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Josh Allen to pad their rosters with a more long-term investment.
2. Learn about the XFL. Last week we learned that Vince McMahon will be reigniting the XFL dream in 2020 as the ugly step-sister to the NFL. Some elements of Vince’s vision include a ban on players who have been convicted of crimes, no cheerleaders (a heartbreak to anyone like me who has aspired to become an XFL cheerleader since I could first hold pom-poms), no halftime, and more fan-input on rules and regulations of the game. There’s also a lot of talk on how the XFL will require standing during the anthem. I’m not big on labels, but if enjoying the Beast Mode, JJ Watt, Chris Long, Josh Gordon league makes me a liberal snowflake, I can live with that. There is still a lot to be learned about the future of the XFL, like….where the teams will be located, how many there will be, how much they cost to own, etc. Minor details, but a lot to look forward to.
3. Watch the 30 for 30: The Two Bills. Love or hate Bill Belichick or Bill Parcells, the new ESPN interview of the two coaching giants is the much needed Pedialyte to your Super Bowl hangover. Reminiscing on their 16-year coaching relationship together, “the two Bills”, who are not known for their superfluous statements, come together for over an hour, giving an emotional and honest insight into the history of these two legends. With plenty of commentary from fellow coaches, players and friends of the two head honchos, this 30 for 30 is everything you could ask for.
Some my favorite quotes include:
Parcells on he and Belichick’s coaching style with the Giants: “We preached to both our players and our coaches, sensitivity really wasn’t in play very much. That led to our success with the Giants.”
Robert Kraft, speaking to how Belichick secured the Patriot’s coaching job: “my assistant comes to me and says, ‘There’s someone on the phone saying they’re Darth Vader calling you.’ And I knew that was Bill Parcells.”
Watch the video here.
4. I thought of some other time-fillers that might take the edge off until the September 6 season opener:
- Read Amy Trask’s You Negotiate Like a Girl, America’s Game by Michael McCambridge, or Relentless by the Patriots’ own Julian Edelman.
- Find an obscure Olympic sport to obsess over in PyeongChang starting February 9th. (Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme)
- Embrace a drama-filled NBA season, join Lebron’s wine club, tweet at your haters like Kevin Durant, or explore secret tunnels like Chris Paul.
- Suffer in silence on your sofa every Sunday for the next 31 weeks