Notes From A Crumbling NFL Empire: Part VII

Kansas City Chiefs 19, Dallas Cowboys 9

A minor criticism I have of myself, at least as it pertains to my blog, is the frequency with which I reference myself. Although I do it with purpose, I wouldn’t argue with anybody who finds it petty or lame. On real-world issues (that I seldom write about during the NFL season), I generally go out of my way to credit writers who help inform my opinions. When it comes to sports, though, I treat my blog sort of as if it exists within its own universe.

As a result the majority of the links you see trace back to items I’ve already written. After all, this blog is called Future Bets. I am literally trying to predict the future here. Naturally, my quota for being self-referential will have a bias towards the times that I was right, but I think it needed to be said that none of it is done with the intention of misleading, embellishing, or any of that other fuckery.

With all that said, here is something that I wrote on the second installment of this series! From October 22nd:

It is still a very young football season, and I don’t want to make any substantial proclamations about how it’s all going to end up. My gut feeling, however, tells me that the hunters — like Buffalo and Los Angeles — probably aren’t ready to beat Mahomes or Brady when all the chips are down. It makes for compelling television when the underdog comes out on top. But it’s usually the guys who are there every year, whose teams are conditioned to play the opposing team’s Super Bowl every week, that are still standing in the end.

The Chargers and Bills — arguably the two hottest teams at that time — each began the season 4-1, while the Chiefs started just 2-3. Since then the tables have turned almost completely: over the last six weeks both Los Angeles and Buffalo are just 2-3 (having each gone through a BYE in that span), and the Chiefs are 5-1. There’s a bunch of low-hanging cliché bullshit about “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” but in this scenario it’s kind of true.

Anyway, long story short. Football is one of those sports that can teach a lesson to fans every now and again, and a good lesson is to fight the urge of freaking out every week when something doesn’t seem right. There are only 17 games a year, so it’s just begging for you to crown a fucking champion once a team starts 4-0 or whatever. In the same vein, we think teams are either broken or dead whenever they underperform for a month and a half.

In the end it’s like that old Dennis Green line: “THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE.” Before the season everyone laid out who the best teams were. Then we all experienced some collective amnesia when the Chiefs started 2-3. And now we’re here, and the Chiefs are 7-4, and all of a sudden some sports books have them as the Super Bowl favorite again. It’s really a strange year.

Maybe the strangest stat of all is that the Chiefs defense — once maligned, like a month ago, for being the worst in the NFL — is the only unit to post four consecutive games allowing less than 20 points. That’s great. But that also makes this a good time to remember what, specifically, I am trying to accomplish with this post. Basically, nothing is ever as bad as it appears, and nothing is ever as good as it seems.

To that end, what I am looking forward to in the rest of the Chiefs season is for the offense to get a lot better, and for the defense to slide back towards average (to below average). I don’t know what that means, really. I just know that Notes From A Crumbling NFL Empire has quickly turned into an inaccurate headline.

None of this makes Kansas City a lock to win the AFC, nor does it make Tampa Bay a shoe-in to capture the NFC. It’s football. Anything can (and will) happen. All I am saying is, if it isn’t either of those teams, then who? During the regular season sharp people make money betting against those two teams because the point spread tax is so high. But when it comes to winning time, when the games really matter, who is going to take them down?

It’s like I said last month: [It’s] usually the guys who are there every year, whose teams are conditioned to play the opposing team’s Super Bowl every week, that are still standing in the end. The jury is perpetually out on how right I am, but in this instance I am more than comfortable sticking to my guns.

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