If you are anything like me (and, for your sake, I hope for the most part you aren’t), there is now an empty void where football used to be. An itch that every fan is trying to scratch.
The means to scratch the itch: you are currently following free agency. Every day I log on to my favorite team’s website and NFL.com and ESPN to check what deals have been made and if my team has made a signing. I enjoy finding out who is going where and what the “experts” think the move does for the team.
But more and more, I cringe at these articles because of the comment section below. I enjoy watching people argue with each other for no apparent reason, but the nastiness between fanbases and against certain players is sad to see.
We live in a “we want it now” culture. We have high-speed Internet, freeways, drive-throughs and the express lane in the grocery store. Patience is now a scarce commodity for a lot of people. This has crept into the world of sports perhaps now more than ever.
I am a lifelong Utah Jazz fan. I must admit that this season has been rough. But I completely understand the reasoning for all of the Jazz’s decisions up to this point. This year isn’t about winning and getting into the playoffs. It is about developing young talent and deciding who stays and who goes in the rebuilding process.
This definitely isn’t fun to see as a fan. No matter how much I know this is a necessary process, I still long for the days of 20 straight years in the playoffs and always being in the mix to make it to at least the conference finals. Now the best thing the Jazz could do would be to lose all of their games to have a better chance to land the top player in the NBA draft.
As football fans, we might be a little more impatient than basketball fans. My favorite team, the Green Bay Packers, is a draft-and-develop team. They rarely spend money in signing free agents. If they do, they are usually free agents who make it past the first round of big-money signings. But I generally agree with their approach and trust their front office.
Free agency has become an event in and of itself. The longer football season is over, the more crazy the fans get. They want the what-if articles, the mock drafts, the “who is available” articles and the “best fit” for every big name player on the market.
Fans want nothing more than to see their team spend all of their money, even money on loan from future years, to become the “dream team,” or the team destined to win it all. They want to see the green arrow on the power rankings showing that their team has improved while others have not. It is a thirst that can’t be quenched by staying put with your players and not adding the supposed difference-maker.
Heaven forbid if no one signs the player who was the talk of the league five years ago. Fans will rip their general managers for not signing these players. Fans will rip on each other for even suggesting signing one player or another, or, worse yet, the fans who are content with most of the players they have and are awaiting the draft to improve the team.
What-ifs are fun. But the constant need to predict what will happen during the season and who will hoist the Lombardi trophy after the next Super Bowl is too far down the road to get upset over now. Let the men who get paid to make decisions make their decisions.
No one is going to be happy with every move. On some teams, some fans aren’t ever satisfied, because they have been let down for multiple years in a row. But coaches and general managers know what they are doing for the most part.
Yes, the offseason is tough, but hang in there. Just like every year, August comes sooner than you thought it would, and pretty soon the preseason and the regular season are on the screen again. I’m going to let baseball and the NBA playoffs stave off insanity until I can hear the collision of bodies and the “Omaha” Peyton Manning snap count once again. We can make it through together. Let’s all get along.