Success in the NFL is a difficult thing. A few teams will make the playoffs, fewer still will make it deep into the tournament, just two square off in the Super Bowl, and only one can ever be the champion. 31 teams will fall short this year.
Some teams, like it or not, have been eliminated already. Others will fall by the wayside through random injuries, front office mismanagement, or other circumstances that play out far from the gridiron.
With that in mind, I have a simple request: don't let your enjoyment of this season hinge solely on the outcome of the games.
There are 960 guaranteed minutes of football in a season. Sixteen games worth of passes, catches, blocks, tackles, interceptions, fumbles, and touchdowns. That's all any fan, player, coach, or executive is guaranteed. We get sixteen Sundays (or Mondays or Thursdays...or sometimes Saturdays late in the season) to root for our teams, and that's it until next year.
So why let how you feel about the game be determined by how many contests you win?
If I asked you who won the Super Bowl last season, most of you would be able to tell me the Seahawks came out on top. Fewer would be able to name the score, but the vast majority would have that detail down. Jumping back two years, I'd still say most people would remember the Ravens won the Super Bowl, beating the 49ers. Three years, though, I bet the number drops significantly, and if we go back four, five, and six years, I bet we're down to just fans of the Packers, Saints, and Steelers, respectively.
But I bet we each remember specific games from those times. I bet if I got any football fan reading this blog talking, they could tell me who they were with, what they wore, what they ate, and where they watched a lot of their teams games. Think about it. I bet the circumstances of the games you've watched stick with you far more than the games themselves.
Football has always been a family affair for me. I've watched most of the Packers games in my life with my mom, dad, and brother. We used to watch the first three quarters of a noon Packers game at home after church, then head to my grandparents' house across town for the fourth quarter, staying afterwards for Sunday dinner. That's what I think of when I think of football, and I'd bet my shares of Packers stock that the vast majority of fans have similar experiences.
So I return to my question: why let the result of the games you watch determine your enjoyment? We all know in our hearts that this pursuit of sports is foolish. You don't have to think too long about stats, roster deconstruction, scouting, All-22 film, and Pro Football Focus numbers to realize that it's all pretty silly. But those memories? The Sundays at grandma's house or in your college dorm or your favorite sports bar? That means something. That lasts past Sunday. Those friendships and moments of community...those last.
Remember that when the season kicks off tomorrow. Remember it and enjoy the ride. We only have 16 Sundays.