It is officially the worst time of year for sports. I’m not too crazy about mid-summer baseball, and the NBA Finals have ended (not quite significant to me anyways since the Sonics departed Seattle). It is going to be a long summer filled with anticipation for upcoming camps and practices – anything that signifies football season being just around the corner.
Pretty routine for the offseason, however, is optimism throughout the league. Fans (and players) of every team seem to be rejuvenated for the upcoming season, and everyone thinks they’ve got a decent shot at being successful. Hell, the Seahawks finished 4-12 last season yet a lot of folks in the Pacific Northwest seem to be confident that a return to the playoffs is probable.
Confidence and optimism are good things; what makes it interesting for fans is when the same hopefulness turns into predictions and guarantees from players. The media will always find the one guy in the locker room that is willing to provide bulletin board material for the opposing team, even on the largest stage: Freddie Mitchell, Jerramy Stevens, and others.
Predictions don’t always need to be blown out of proportion by the media, or on a large stage like the Super Bowl, however. Recently, Chad Ochocinco was being his usual self at one of Cincinnati’s mandatory minicamps. According to Ochocinco, “It’s going to be a great year; we’re going to the playoffs. We’re going … We’re making progress. I mean, I see it, and I can come out on a limb and say what we’re going to do.”
Those are pretty hefty expectations for a franchise that has only finished above .500 once since 1990. But as a fan, you’ve got to love the optimism. If you’re a Bengals fan, would you rather have him come out and declare the next season a failure before it even starts? I don’t think so. Nothing is guaranteed, but you definitely want your team to show some confidence – although, there is a very fine line between confident and cocky.
So I’m bringing all of this up for a reason, I promise. Recently, a few Twitter updates from a couple of Seattle Seahawks players caught my attention. The first, from Nate Burleson, posed an extremely optimistic scenario that is apparently plausible from additional offseason workouts. The update was obviously positive, and probably just something from Nate to get fans excited:
Finished my first week of workouts in Az. Twice a day, 5 days a week for 4 weeks… You do the math! For the slow folk..it equals 15 TD’s
I would hate to play the pessimistic role for something that Nate was obviously just having fun with, so I won’t. If Burleson is able to somehow total anywhere close to 15 touchdowns next season, the Seahawks are no doubt bound for the playoffs. We’re talking about a guy who tied a career-best 9 touchdown receptions in 2007, and is returning from a serious ACL injury that kept him off the field for most of last season. Not to take anything away from his prediction, but only five players in the National Football League had 15 or more touchdowns last season; each one of them was a running back. The leading wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, only had 12. If Burleson even approaches his lofty goals for next season, then maybe more Seahawks players should complete four-week offseason training programs in Arizona.
Shortly after Nate Burleson’s update, Darryl Tapp decided to join in on the fun. Tapp confidently proposed this scenario as a response to Burleson:
well I am gonna train in va. 4 weeks 2 and a half times a day. And for you slow that means 12 sacks
I immediately took the opportunity to respond to Tapp’s update, challenging him to shoot for a slightly larger, more unreasonable goal: 20 sacks. Tapp kept himself modest, however, and replied that 10-12 sacks seems like a decent goal for someone whose best season so far included only 7.
And while enjoying the Twitter updates from NFL players, I’ll optimistically dream about the success we’ll have next season. Nate Burleson will be a monster, pulling in double-digit touchdowns. Darryl Tapp will provide the much-needed pressure off the edge, tallying close to a dozen sacks. The Seahawks will be well-represented in the 2010 Pro Bowl, and will make a serious run in the playoffs.
Uh-oh. I think all of this confidence and hopefulness has gone to my head. I guess I’ll go watch some film from last season; that will bring me back to reality for sure. At least I think so.
Tags: .500 Chad Johnson Chad Ochocinco Cincinnati Bengals Darryl Tapp Freddie Mitchell Guarantee Jerramy Stevens Larry Fitzgerald Nate Burleson National Football League Offseason Prediction Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Twitter