32 NFL Fan Bases, 32 Fan Delusions

Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Offseason - New Orleans Saints fans think the salary cap is a myth. Philadelphia Eagles fans think Howie Roseman is a moron. New York Giants fans think Saquon Barkley is still relevant. New England Patriots fans are waiting for the Second Coming.

Every fan base has its delusions. Some have more than one. And Walkthrough is here at the start of the offseason to puncture those delusions with well-placed reality checks.

As we all know, "fan bases" operate as hiveminds, and 100% of each team's fans believe exactly the same thing about their team, owner, coach, quarterback, stadium cuisine, and so forth. Therefore, it's fair and appropriate to lump them all together and assume they all agree with the five most prolific posters on Reddit.

Kidding! But in the vain hope of preempting any outrage about unfair stereotypes, the term fan base in this article refers to the vocal, vehement fans I interface with via Twitter/Reddit/email/DMs/everyday life on random Wednesdays in the offseason. Some of these folks are homers, some contrarians. Some are ginned up by local media personalities, some ARE local media personalities. All are passionate, often a little too passionate, and most can be counted upon to either support or criticize their teams in predictable ways. This is all part of the Browns' secret Moneyball plan. The Steelers will be great once they go back to their 1970s roots. You only talk about the Cowboys all the time because you are jealous of their magnificence.

Without further ado, here's yet another Walkthrough heel turn into pro wrasslin' villainy.

AFC Delusions

Baltimore Ravens

Delusion 1: The Ravens would be better off with a conventional pocket quarterback.

Delusion 2: There's no potential downside to handing Lamar Jackson a Josh Allen contract!

Reality: Most Ravens fans are just trying to get through the offseason without 12 devastating injuries. But others appear torn, largely along predictable demographic lines, about whether to cut bait on the Jackson "experiment" or to blithely pretend that Jackson and the offense are not in the midst of a two-year backslide while insisting that there's no risk whatsoever in shelling out $150 million on an undersized quarterback coming off an injury who runs 11 times per game.

Imagine if half the Bills roster gets injured in 2022. Do you think Bills fans will sour on the Josh Allen "experiment?" If Joe Burrow and the Bengals take a step back next year, will Bengals fans think, "eh, screw this, bring us Jimmy Garoppolo." Of course not. At the same time, some of us (I am including myself here) wanted so badly for Jackson to change the NFL that we're not ready to accept that Jackson is the one who will have to change.

Jackson is a unique, polarizing player who does everything a little bit differently, so it's not surprising that fans are a little divided (and perhaps a little radicalized) about the Ravens' future.

Buffalo Bills

Delusion: The Bills would have won the Super Bowl if they won that coin toss.

Reality: In a multiverse of millions of possibilities, the Bills surely won the overtime coin toss in the playoffs, defeated the Chiefs, then went on to smoke the Bengals and Rams thousands of times. They probably also got the ball in overtime, committed back-to-back false start penalties, handed off on second-and-20, and ended up punting the ball right back to Patrick Mahomes in a few thousand other universes. And let's not pretend the team that lost to the Jaguars and got spanked by the Colts could breeze past the Bengals without self-destructing, Chiefs-style. You get the idea.

BillsMafia generally has an overcompensation complex these days. We're not worried at all that the Bills will never get over the playoff hump, or that the Patriots will sneak up and merc them from behind. Not at all! That's why we're leaping out of third-story windows onto picnic tables before wild-card games! Act like you belong, pezzonovante, and maybe your team will too!

Cincinnati Bengals

Delusion: The Bengals front office and coaching staff is now a lyceum of geniuses.

Reality: The Bengals plucked two guys from a college championship team that a drunken mock drafter could have chosen (the sober mock drafters chose Penei Sewell, but that's another matter), then rode a soft schedule and a Chiefs meltdown into the Super Bowl. They're still a shoestring operation whose coach is the Ask Madden AI with peach fuzz. Let's see how they handle an offseason where they have to make actual decisions.

Cleveland Browns

Delusion: Everything the Browns do is part of some Paul DePodesta galactic-brained plan that mere mortals cannot comprehend.

Reality: The Browns are caught completely off guard by every minor setback. Our quarterback is not developing smoothly along a logistical curve? What shall we do? Our wide receivers become frustrated when they don't get the ball? Why, didn't they read our guardrails? If we went from six wins in 2019 to 11 wins in 2020, then we were supposed to win 16 games last year! Darn it, that's how math works!

The Browns front office is no better or worse than any other, which is an upgrade over 2001-2020, when it was far, far worse than any other. But Browns fans—and some of our pals in the analytics community—keep waiting for the franchise to outsmart the universe. And derpy franchises like the Bengals keep blowing past them instead.

Denver Broncos

Delusion: The Aaron Rodgers trade is a slam dunk.

Reality: A Rodgers trade is possible, especially with Lord Surlyknickers turning his latest offseason of discontent into podcast content. But it's still not probable. And if it happens, it's gonna cost all the draft picks and cap space the Broncos can muster, plus a young starter or two (either to the Packers or a team like the Giants or Jets as first-round pick-brokers). It's a real reach goal. And the fact that the Broncos lack appealing alternatives doesn't make its chances of success any higher or backfire potential any lower.

Houston Texans

Delusion: The Texans are a professionally run organization, and the whole Jack Easterby thing is just "narrative."

Reality: The Texans are the Manger Babies. Deal with it.

Indianapolis Colts

Delusion: Carson Wentz. That's it. That's the delusion.

Reality: As best I can tell, 75% of the Colts fan base has settled on, "yeah, we gotta get rid of this goofball ASAP," while 25% is still stuck on "Golly, why do people connected to two different organizations keep questioning this guy's coachability, leadership, and ability to cope with pressure? They must be HATERS." Recent history has taught us that it's impossible to convince America's final 25% of absolutely anything.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Delusion: Everything is fine now that Urban Meyer is gone and Doug Pederson is here.

Reality: Trent Baalke still lurks in the hallways of Jaguars headquarters like the wandering monster in a 1st Edition D&D campaign. Trevor Lawrence was cataclysmically bad in 2021. Most of the offensive line (many of whom can still play) and DJ Chark are currently free agents, because Baalke was too busy "lurking" to do anything constructive like extend a contract or two last season.

Oh, and Pederson is only as effective as his assistants. Offensive coordinator Press Taylor served under Pederson during Wentz's "I'm not gonna" era. Mike Freakin' McCoy (developer of Paxton Lynch and Josh Rosen) is the quarterbacks coach.

At least there's now a 0.0% chance of viral lap dance videos or aggravated assaults of kickers.

Kansas City Chiefs

Delusion: Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will be around forever.

Reality: Chiefs fans aren't delusional. Their franchise has been very successful, they know it, and most fans have a pretty good sense of what it will take to sustain that success. Just don't remind them that Kelce is 32 and coming off his weakest season in four years, or that Hill is due for an extension and well aware that other teams can afford to pay him much more than the Chiefs can.

Las Vegas Raiders

Delusion: The Raiders just need a few tweaks and minor upgrades to become Super Bowl contenders.

Reality: The Raiders are Maxx Crosby, Kolton Miller, and a bunch of thirtysomething veterans and slot receivers. They need to either rebuild from the ground up or gingerbread the current roster in pursuit of more fluky wild-card berths. And Josh McDaniels didn't leave the comfort of the nest because he wanted to rebuild.

Los Angeles Chargers

Delusion: The Chargers just need a few tweaks and minor upgrades to become Super Bowl contenders.

Reality: The Chargers couldn't beat the Raiders when it mattered.

Oh, and I have my eye on the whole "Justin Herbert is already better than everyone else" meme making the early-adopter Twitter rounds. Herbert looked phenomenal for stretches last year. I'm excited about his future. But let's check back on his ascendance to Mount Olympus after he leads the Chargers to a playoff win. Or leads them to a win in a game that gets them to the playoffs. Or leads a comeback against the Texans. Or finishes ahead of Jimmy Garoppolo in DVOA. Or comes out the other side of his first significant slump. Or … you get the idea.

Miami Dolphins

Delusion: The Dolphins just need a few tweaks and minor upgrades—mostly on the offensive line—to become Super Bowl contenders.

Reality: Dolphins fans are more traumatized by two decades of Patriots dominance than any other fan base. Bills Mafia has at least enjoyed recent success. Jets fans gave up for good circa 2011 and are now charming fatalists. But the Dolphins keep flirting with relevance, and many of their fans have retreated into a type of dream logic cobbled together from fleeting Ryan Tannehill/Andrew Van Ginkel moments and misinterpreted observations about how the Patriots do business.

When the Dolphins do something utterly mind-boggling—see nearly all of last offseason, when they went out of their way to avoid building on their 10-6 finish in 2020—Dolphins fans are quick to provide rationalizations in support of a franchise which has brought them nothing but frustration. It makes sense to shed veterans, shuffle assistant coaches, and draft for the far-flung future when we are well under the cap, on the precipice of the playoffs and finally in a Tom Brady-free division! Obviously, that's how successful franchises operate!

All of this is quarantining the Brian Flores allegations aside in their own separate category, of course. It sure sounds like Steven Ross is one bad day on the back nine away from making Cal McNair look like a paragon of competent, compassionate capitalism.

Under the circumstances, Dolphins fans should be satisfied this year if The Adorkable Mike McDaniel can get Tua Tagovailoa to complete some passes more than 10 yards downfield.

New England Patriots

Delusion: Tom Brady is coming back.

Reality: Times are tough for the "long-suffering" Patriots faithful. Mac Jones melted like a popsicle in the sun down the stretch. Bill Belichick's response to the post-Josh McDaniels brain drain has been to bring back drained brains such as Joe Judge and Matt Patricia. The Patriots are stuck in the AFC playoff also-ran bin with the Titans, and assertions that Belichick will strategize them out of this predicament sound more like a wish than a plan every year.

Ah, but there's a whisper bubbling forth from the bowels of Patriots fandom. Tom Brady was squabbling with Bruce Arians. He didn't REALLY retire; he was just unhappy in Tampa or (LOL) felt his hand was forced by the January retirement rumors. And if Brady does return, where else would he possibly go but home?

Do Patriots fans really believe as of late February that Brady might return to them? Probably not. Is all of New England one misinterpreted tipsy Julian Edelman remark from Churchill Downs away from holding mass candlelight vigils? Absolutely.

New York Jets

Delusion: Joe Douglas will save the franchise.

Reality: Douglas is a solid personnel evaluator. But his rock star reputation is due to lots of extra credit having been added to his ledger for: a) not being Howie Roseman (see the Eagles delusion); and b) not being Adam Gase. One look at the Jets roster after two-plus seasons with Douglas in the front office should convince you that he ain't Bobby Beathard circa 1980.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Delusion: It's still 1977 and the best way to win a Super Bowl is to chew glass and play defense.

Reality: The Steelers fan base just crawled out from under the "Big Ben's Still Got It" delusion of 2020 and 2021 and now must cope with its deeper issues:

  • Siding with the organization over the player in nearly every contract squabble;
  • Turning on skill position players as "divas" if they are too flamboyant on the field or Instagram; and
  • Parroting the lunchpail wisdom of their Steel Curtain grandpappies, which is why they prefer the sacred franchise institution to those greedy, flashy, selfish divas. (Yes, we all hear the subtext and there is no need to comment on it).

Mason Rudolph won't really be the Steelers quarterback in 2022, but he may be the quarterback a segment of their fans—or at least some of their talk-radio personalities—deserve.

Tennessee Titans

Delusion: Derrick Henry's gonna bounce right back to the 120-rushing-yards-per-game level.

Reality: Get ready for 22 carries for 76 yards in Titans losses by final scores like 22-16, all for $15 million in cap space.

NFC Delusions

Arizona Cardinals

Delusion: Other fan bases actually worry or care about the Cardinals.

Reality: Having never interacted with any Cardinals fans, I honestly have no idea what their delusions might be. But this is a franchise that can assemble Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, J.J. Watt, and Kliff Kingsbury, reach the playoffs, and still evaporate from the NFL's collective consciousness 30 seconds after they are eliminated. Even their quarterback-versus-franchise Instagram beefs are boring. Let's move on.

Atlanta Falcons

Delusion: Matt Ryan is a Hall of Famer who is still in his prime.

Reality: Look, 28-3 permanently damaged this franchise and its fans. All we can provide now is palliative care. Let's let them have this little fantasy, since it is all they have.

Carolina Panthers

Delusion: Packaging the sixth overall pick with Christian McCaffrey, plus some gingerbread, will be enough to secure a top veteran quarterback.

Reality: Yeah, sure, Brian Gutekunst and John Schneider just cannot wait to trade for a running back with a huge contract coming off two injury-plagued years. Nick Caserio, on the other hand, may have to tackle Jack Easterby every time the phone rings.

Chicago Bears

Delusion 1: Matt Nagy would have been fine if not for Ryan Pace.

Delusion 2: Ryan Pace would have been fine if not for Matt Nagy.

Delusion 3: Mitch Trubisky would have been fine if not for Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace.

Reality: Bears fans appear to be realistic about the team's current situation. But it wasn't that way this time last year. Nagy had his hive: he led the team to the playoffs twice and had a winning record as a coach, after all. Trubisky, who could end up being the Panthers quarterback in exchange for a McCaffrey package, also had his stans right up to the bitter end: if only Nagy let him run more, or Pace provided more weapons, or whatever. Pace had the fewest supporters of all, but he surely had a few of them.

All of this is water under the bridge as Bears fans prepare to throw their support behind new general manager Other Ryan, new coach Other Matt, or Justin Fields, but not all three.

Dallas Cowboys

Delusion: The Cowboys are still a marquee franchise that lives rent-free in America's head.

Reality: The Cowboys play in a massive, sprawling media market and have a huge national/international fan base of ultra-casual fans, plus a vast, graying swatch of legacy haters in the most populated region in America, so talking about them generates lots of Internet engagement. They're not superheroes or supervillains. They're clickbait.

Detroit Lions

Delusion 1: The Lions won the Super Bowl because Matthew Stafford won the Super Bowl.

Reality: Yeah, that's pretty pathetic, though it's only 0.005% as pathetic as when Patriots fans tried this stunt in 2020.

Delusion 2: Everyone thinks Dan Campbell is a blockhead.

Reality: No, we all get that his caveman routine is (largely) an act and it's fun to play along, but the Lions still stink.

Green Bay Packers

Delusion: The Packers organization is run by idiots who refuse to spend money.

Reality: There was a kernel of truth to this delusion in the past. Mike McCarthy isn't quite an "idiot," but he's the kind of guy who takes out the five-year protection insurance when he purchases a blender. The late Ted Thompson's free-agent allergy, meanwhile, got a little ridiculous by the mid-2010s. But Brian Gutekunst, Matt LaFleur, and the current Packers braintrust has done a brilliant job finding and developing talent while spending most of their available cash on Aaron Rodgers and his targets/protectors/confidantes.

Packers fandom suffers from a general delusion that the team is terrible or unsuccessful despite the fact that they win 13 games every single year. It's hard to comprehend how rooting for a perennial Super Bowl contender has become such a joyless exercise. Just kidding: it's easy to comprehend! Their quarterback's a bitterness and dissatisfaction superspreader! But the alternative would be rooting for the Vikings, which is too horrible to contemplate.

Los Angeles Rams

Delusion: There are lots of Rams fans. They just don't go downtown much.

Reality: There are more people at the Collingswood Farmers Market on a summer Saturday morning than there were at the Rams Super Bowl parade.

Yes, some of the crowd shots that circulated from the Rams parade last week were a little misleading; crowds were at least extant at some points on the parade route. But Los Angeles football fans can be forgiven for not fully embracing a team full of mercenaries that just showed up on their doorstep six years ago after disappearing for two decades. They can also be forgiven for not trudging downtown. Los Angeles is like New York flattened out with a rolling pin, its rivers replaced by mountains, 99% of the rail lines ripped up and then baked at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, and its downtown is more like Cleveland in a heatwave than midtown Manhattan. I wouldn't leave the beach, the mountains, or the recreational dispensary to stand on a sweaty corner and wave at Cooper Kupp either. But I also wouldn't get upset if called out for it.

Minnesota Vikings

Delusion: Kirk Cousins Trutherism.

Reality: There's a small-but-vocal subset of Vikings fans that has gone full flat-earther on Cousins. He's phenomenal. If only the Vikings built him a proper supporting cast! Activating this hive is a reliable, successful content model: getting them to grab their pitchforks and march on an article can really move the needle engagement-wise. And it's easy! Let's hope it works this time.

New Orleans Saints

Delusion: The cap situation is great! Better than great! The Saints are gonna sign Chris Godwin and Tyrann Mathieu, then trade for Russell Wilson and extend him with all their leftover dough! Tra-la-la-la-la!

Reality: There was some spirited debate in the comment thread for Monday's mock draft, and I want to give the discussion the attention and seriousness it deserves. If I understand the "Saints cap situation isn't bad" argument correctly, it goes like this: The Saints may be over $75 million in cap debt right now, but that's no biggie because:

  • They can extend the contracts of lots of second-tier veterans;
  • And let key starters such as Terron Armstead and Marcus Williams (and Jameis Winston) walk via free agency;
  • And cut aging starters such as Demario Davis and Malcolm Jenkins (plus Michael Thomas, their best player if he wanted to play for them);
  • And gut through a year with Taysom Hill, Ian Book, and someone like Sam Howell at quarterback, throwing in the general direction of Marquez Calloway and Deonte Harris when not just running the veer behind a depleted offensive line;
  • All the while cramming significant cap hits into 2023 instead of tidying up the team's ledger so they can be flexible in free agency when starting their rebuild;
  • While doing it all under a promoted defensive coordinator, because the Super Bowl-winning, long-tenured head coach unexpectedly nope'd out for reasons which cannot possibly have anything to do with that $75 million in cap debt;
  • Finally arriving in the year 2024 relatively debt-free and ready to start from scratch.

If that's the argument, then you win! By your definition, the Saints aren't in bad cap shape at all.

Also, as every financial planner will assure you, someone spending 75% of their paycheck on revolving debt is doing just swell as long as they can afford the electric bill and ramen.

New York Giants

Delusion: Now that the Giants have a real coaching staff and front office, the Daniel Jones-Saquon Barkley era can truly commence!

Reality: The impressive new Giants coaching staff and front office will move on from Jones and Barkley as soon as it's politically convenient.

While Jones is more of a John Mara delusion than a fan delusion, there's a fun little "the organization is already right" subsection of the Giants fan base that can be fun to poke. They're just like any other regional contrarians, but there are more of them because of New York, and I interact with them a lot because I'm technically kinda-sorta New York media. Anyway, if you are a Giants fan who worships the glory of the historic franchise or just likes being different, Jones is your guy.

As for Barkley, Giants fans cling to the belief that he's a superstar, even though the rest of us have accepted that he's barely relevant. Giants beat reporters have been forced to squander uncounted hours and column inches on "When will Saquon return?" and "What will Saquon's return mean?" content over the last two or three seasons because the only other things to talk about were Dave Gettleman's Uncle Wiseguy rants and Joe Judge's taxicab-confessional press conferences. Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll are going to let Saquon run 12 times for 45 yards every week in 2022 before allowing his contract to quietly expire so they can move on.

Philadelphia Eagles

Delusion: Howie Roseman sucks.

Reality: Several of these delusions can be traced back to local media members with sizable platforms, dedicated followings, and predictable agendas. In Roseman's case, one Philly talk-radio provocateur and tastemaker among the ED-medication advertising demographic needed a villain when the Eagles dropped from Super Bowl contention, so he chose a safe go-to: the wimpy, shrimpy, beancounting "non-football guy" of a general manager coming off a string of weak drafts.

The Eagles won a recent Super Bowl, missed the playoffs just once in the last five years, entangled and disentangled themselves from Carson Wentz (enjoying his lone stretch of high-end usefulness), and now have a winning record, a semi-viable franchise quarterback, and a stockpile of draft picks. They did it all in the time it took the Seahawks to set fire to their would-be empire, the Saints to collapse into financial purgatory, and the Browns to finalize the language of their mission statement. But Eagles fans still leap into my mentions or earhole me at the tavern with their "Howie sucks" mantra.

It's what being a Packers fan or writer must be like. Except for the recent Super Bowl win, of course.

San Francisco 49ers

Delusion: Kyle Shanahan sucks.

Reality: Niners fans surely climbed out of this hole in the second half of the season. Temporarily. Shanahan's iffy situational play calling and Trey Lance jitters are sure to bring the hecklers out at the first sign of trouble. Get ready for a Mike McDaniel was the real genius splinter sect to appear as well.

Seattle Seahawks

Delusion: It's still 2013.

Reality: Seahawks fans have a well-earned reputation for being the most knowledgeable (or at least the nerdiest) fans in the NFL. Other fan bases holler about firing the coach or trading the quarterback; Seahawks fans demand that the team stop using base defensive packages against 12 personnel on early downs. Also, some of them holler about firing the coach or trading the quarterback. But few believe that the Legion of Boom and Beast Mode are walking back through the door.

Seahawks fans, therefore, suffer from midlife anxiety rather than delusions. They look at Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson and think: is this all there is? Are we stuck experiencing diminishing returns with these people forever? If there's a run on red convertibles and eharmony registrations in Washington state over the next six months, you know what's going on.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Delusion: The Buccaneers can win without Tom Brady.

Reality: They really could win the NFC South with, say, Mitch Trubisky at quarterback, because the division is putrid and their overall roster is solid. But that assumes that the organization wants to spend money and assets to go 9-8 and get pummeled by the Rams in the playoffs, or that even a fraction of the team's big-name free agents are interested in sticking around for the post-Brady era when decent to excellent teams such as the Chargers and Bengals have money to spend.

No, real joy for Buccaneers fans should consist of remembering the boat parade, watching the team cannonball into a rebuilding cycle, and then heralding their return to relevance in a year or two, while the Saints are still extending David Onyemata's contract through eternity in the name of cap compliance.

Washington Commanders

Delusion 1: Dan Snyder will soon be forced to sell the franchise. After that, everything will be A-OK.

Reality: This is America. And this is the NFL. Rich, awful humans don't have to do anything they don't want to do, squared.

Delusion 2: How dare anyone demand that Snyder sell his own property? Dammit, we're still the Washington R******s, snowflake!

Reality: Don't pretend you haven't encountered this polar-opposite version of the delusional Washington fan, especially since they make it a point of letting you know just what they think. Rooting for an organization that's incompetent and objectionable in every significant way makes them feel like fringy-cool edgelords. And they're getting about what they deserve: a clueless franchise with a terrible stadium and a silly new name, no quarterback, and nothing to cheer about except receding memories of relevance.

Comments

132 comments, Last at 02 Mar 2022, 9:43am

1 My impression of the Ravens…

My impression of the Ravens fanbase is that we're overwhelmingly pro-Lamar but the majority is very over Greg Roman. There's also a contingent who's over Harbaugh and even some who are over the front office (for sticking to the Ravens more conservative strategy of contending every year instead of burning capital to truly go "all in"). 

The delusion is that the fans would be okay with some lean years after burning future draft capital/cap space. They can't even handle a down year that can largely be blamed on injuries. 

8 People want the Ravens to…

People want the Ravens to burn first-round picks to trade for elite talent, instead of the long-running strategy of waiting to signing cheaper FAs that won't affect the Ravens compensatory pick formula. I have issues with this argument - the Ravens sign guys for expensive contracts, they just tend to be their own (Stanley, Andrews and Humphrey being the most recent). 

The anti-Harbaugh crowd seems to be an extension of the anti-Greg Roman crowd, mostly. There is a feeling among some that Harbs is too loyal or cozy with his coaches and isn't willing to cut bait. I don't subscribe to this, personally, and I think the general stability, preparation, and attention to detail he brings to the team far outweighs the criticisms. 

 

54 Hmm

IDK what players were on the table for 1sts (surely they didn't mean trade for Stafford).

I love their strat. Because it works (and is smart process)! Not everything that works wins a SB and not everything that wins a SB works (for others and/or next time). Every team retains their own to some degree. Some you'll hit on and some you won't. They kept chugging after Zada left and now he's about to be cut. I don't think anyone should regret that. In fact I'm probably the only person, most others probably forgot he was a Raven then blew up without them. The OBJ trade was win. Odafe had great impact too. And we don't talk enough about OBJ about to get the bag. Seriously might be the most all time, and look at the results of the Tunsil trade (similar leverage). He's good, he just cant impact that much. And on the flip isn't picking up old Calais Campbell all in? Or does it not count since it was only a 5th? Those types of trades are way more sustainable than the Staffords et al. 

If Harbaugh was too loyal wouldn't Wink still be there (lateral move)? I can't comment on why Roman is still there but I feel like if the Ravens org feels its fine, it probably is. Extending it to Harbaugh is dumb. Maybe he is too loyal but that's *clearly* not a good enough reason to can him because of all the other good he brings, like you said. Would be immediately snatched up like Reid was. 

55 Oh no

Believing in the still only unanimous MVP that's younger than your QB. Oh noes! Whats will they do with his 37-12 record! Oh wait, they might go 6-10. 

67 While "a QB who can't…

While "a QB who can't actually throw" is absurd, it should be recognized that Lamar is, at best, an average passer. Probably a little below average...just watch the game (Browns, I think) where he threw 4 ints throwing to his Pro Bowl TE, or acknowledge the fact that the Ravens have thrown for fewer passing yards than anyone else since he got the job). This doesn't matter much because he is an otherworldly runner. Right now. That ability is going to start declining and could decline pretty quickly if he keeps getting banged up, leaving him as an average QB at best.

If you're the Ravens, you'd be crazy to move on from him, but you'd also be crazy to give him a Mahomes-like 10-year contract. A four-year deal at $40ish million sounds about right.

29 Anti Harbaugh insanity

Crazy for sure, imagine listening to fans curse at how much Harbaugh sucks when leaving the stadium after a loss.  

Here is the Harbaugh scoreboard count at starting QB:

Joe Flacco       163 games

Lamar Jackson  49 games

Backup QB's      13 games

Record     137-88   (Flacco + backups started 78% of games)

Postseason:

Joe Flacco        15 games

Lamar Jackson   4 games

Record 11-8    (Flacco started 79% of games)

Regardless of whether or not Lamar Jackson is a HOF QB, a near miss, a very good, QB, or none of the these, it will take an incredible 11 seasons MORE of Lamar Jackson, before he has been the starting QB for the majority of Harbaugh's career.

I'll put Harbaugh in the HOF right now.

With regards to Jackson, I agree with Tanier that a Josh Allen type contract is high risk, I am assuming that the Ravens can keep him for less, another 4 years at $40-$45M and I do not blink.

 

56 Please

Josh Allen needs to make a 1st team all pro before getting a Josh Allen contract. 

Get it done and watch others surpass it. He's better than Kirk Cousins and Derek Carr, lets stop worrying about what to pay the MVP and just pay him before you Dak yourself. 

59 Josh Allen had plenty of…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Josh Allen had some shit games in 2021, they just happened earlier in the season. Lamar had a tough stretch then got hurt. Narratives!

Anyway you have to pay both and the Ravens are motivated to get it done. Lamar seems decidedly unhurried. Who knows what numbers were thrown around but I wish they'd just settle on Josh Allen's general AAV plus or minus a few bucks and call it a day. 

61 It's wild

We just saw $46m+ (mostly Stafford + Goff dead cap hit) win a SB. 

Pay Lamar and churn out the best UDFAs you can as his backups (like Huntley whos a ERFA, so cheap enough next year and proven decently solid relief). They paid Flacco and kept winning. They find ways so don't overthink it.

69 They didn’t really keep…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

They didn’t really keep winning after they paid Flacco, though. He got his extension after the 2012 SB win. The Ravens made the playoffs in 2014 but then not again until 2018, when he got Pipp’d by Lamar. 

76 That's super impressive. And…

That's super impressive. And btw, anything that Lamar is or turns out to be, he wouldn't be if Harbaugh hadn't been willing to tailor the offense around his strengths. Sounds obvious, but many HCs wouldn't have done that.

3 If Joe Burrow and the…

If Joe Burrow and the Bengals take a step back next year, will Bengals fans think, "eh, screw this, bring us Jimmy Garoppolo."

That does sound pretty expectable, really. The reverse happened to Jimmy Garoppolo.

What do you think Trent Baalke's armor class is? (1st edition D&D has no dexterity modifier, so it's not his nimbleness)

86 Lower is better. Stock D&D…

Lower is better. Stock D&D pretty much everything was between 2 and 8, with a range within the rules of 0-9. Armor could drop you into the negatives, but was exceedingly rare. (Gods started at 2 and could drop w/ armor)

AD&D mostly followed until the DMG, which basically introduced the -10 to 10 scale. It's also possible Khan just has a really high THAC0.

4 If there's vocal minority of…

If there's vocal minority of Colts fans fully endorsing Carson Wentz, you won't find them around here.

Every Colts fan I know embraced him with extreme trepidation, unsure of what we were going to get given he's lived in two extremes when he's not been injured.

Well, now we know. Carson Wentz is basically a different flavor of Jimmy G. And while optimal roster construction and or lots of luck can win you a SB, the median season is basically a 500 team.

I like how the Colts keep pretending like they're going to move on from Wentz as if a) there is some Houston Texans level Patsy ready to fork over a fortune for him or b) there is some palatable alternative the Colts have either on the roster or in the draft or in free agency.

They are stuck.

49 Trivia questions in which the Colts may be the answer

Just a thought, has anyone in history had a better record during a 4 year stretch in which they started 4 different QB's in 4 consecutive years?

10-6   Luck

  7-9   Brissett

11-5    Rivers

9-8     Wentz

37-28 Total

Also, Brissett missed one game, all the others played all of the games, so that the Colts have had incredible QB injury luck.

57 That’s amazing

You found a 5 year in which it did not matter who the QB was for the Commanders (yes, they changed the name when I looked at the standings back then), they played well aside from one 7-9 team.

Hard to offload Wentz to watch the Colts try for the 5 year run.

5 The Ravens have no choice…

The Ravens have no choice but to commit to Lamar long-term. His upside is so much higher than any reasonable alternative they could get and that includes Aaron Rodgers or Watson. Yes there are long-term concerns and I worry his career may derail the way Cam Newton's did at the end, but that still gives you a long enough window. 

Even if Lamar stays exactly the same with 0 improvement, it's still a no brainer

21 Have you been watching?

Lamar has no further upside. None. It's been all downhill since the '19 playoffs. Flores hammered in the final nails last season.

Really, what have you seen in the last 2 years that puts Lamar into Aaron Rodgers territory? What??

45 Rodgers is now at a point in…

Rodgers is now at a point in his career where age is a concern. It may not happen next year or the year after. Just because Brady staved it off indefinitely does not mean Rodgers will.

It remains to be seen which version of Lamar is closer to, 2019 or 2020 and 2021. It must be noted that in both years he was dealing with covid and a mash unit for a team.

For me, as long as he has elite athleticism, his ability as a rusher will always have tremendous value. 

40 We're only talking about…

We're only talking about this because he's not signed yet, but I think he'd be locked up already if he was going the normal agent route. EDC said in his latest press conference something to the effect of "we're moving at Lamar's pace" regarding contract talks. 

6 "The Packers organization is run by idiots who refuse to spend"

Not so much idiots but overrated cult leaders that have many wanting to moving off a back to back MVP for late round mystery boxes and refusing to admit Love was a mistake (oh you aren't taking calls on him? Probably because he's Jim Druckenmiller 2.0 or Jason Campbell redux and that's why he "fell" that far in the draft).

The money part no one is saying lol in fact it's another reason Love supporters keep repeating "we went all in and Rodgers failed us! MOVE ON!"

Their quarterback's a bitterness and dissatisfaction superspreader!

Weird statement after the IG post he just had a couple days ago. I guess being an anti vaxxer (which I've already personally bagged on him for) does change the way people feel and thus the way you look at... everything from someone.

Oh and the KC delusion is them thinking it's time to move off of EB, of all their coordinators/coaches. 

75 On the KC piece

Oh and the KC delusion is them thinking it's time to move off of EB, of all their coordinators/coaches. 

There is a little bit more to this.

There was an article posted...with unnamed sources, on an out-of-the-way site, that has since been taken down when the comments went off the rails...talking about personality clashes between the key players on offense (in particular, Mahomes) and Bieniemy.

As concisely as I can for folks: As fallout of Bieniemy's failure to land a HC gig (including questions over who actually runs the offense and how much of his success is Reid and/or Mahomes), EB transformed into a "my way or the highway" sideline and locker room screamer this season, alienating Mahomes and folks in the process.

Now, this article obviously had a lot of credibility red flags, but it just happened to provide some plausible-ish answers to a question this fanbase desperately needs answers to (or thinks it does): why did the team collapse so badly (and look so dispirited doing it) in one half against the Bengals?

"Sometimes good teams go totally derpy for 30 minutes" isn't an acceptable answer for most, so if it wasn't a Vegas fix (which thankfully has been mostly shot down by now), then surely something sinister was happening.

That article fed that need beautifully...it ripped through the fanbase for the half-day it was up, and it had a really outsized "truther" impact on people's thinking. Especially since our fanbase seems to have a higher-than-average number of Madden Heroes who know exactly what we should have been calling all season, and EB was already a trendy target for why those plays weren't getting called.

Especially since if it were even 10% true, Bieniemy should have been gone. In a personality clash between a generational QB and a good coordinator, the coordinator can't win. Right or wrong, that's how that song goes. 

Long story short (too late!), yes, it's delusional, but we're especially delusional right now mostly because of one precision-targeted editorial "insider source" piece.

83 "Sometimes good teams go…

In reply to by OmahaChiefs13

"Sometimes good teams go totally derpy for 30 minutes" isn't an acceptable answer for most, so if it wasn't a Vegas fix (which thankfully has been mostly shot down by now), then surely something sinister was happening.

I dont see how clashes with EB could explain this result. Unless you are implying the offense was so fed up with him at halftime that they just decided to play 30 minutes of listless football out of spite. And that too with a sb on the line?? This feels thoroughly implausible. And even if there were a nugget of truth to it, to me, it speaks worse of the players and to Andy Reid than EB.

 

 

88 "Sometimes good teams go…

"Sometimes good teams go totally derpy for 30 minutes" isn't an acceptable answer for most,

It happens. It has happened multiple times to Brady teams -- 28-3 was just the Pats derping the first half.

But they also derped the second half against Indy in 2007, the first 15 minutes against the Ravens in 2010 and 15 minutes straddling the 3rd and 4th quarters in 2013, much of the second half against KC in 2019. Each team spent a half derping in the Rams game this year.

The Brees era ended in a 25-minute derp.

Hell, the Shula/Griese era ended with Griese forgetting how offense worked and Staubach/Landry dynasty was ended by a 28-3 run by the Steelers.

If it can happen to them, it can happen to anyone.

90 30 minutes, sure. But what…

30 minutes, sure. But what about the first half of the season? It's been odd. Not saying it's Bienemy's fault, obviously, but going from god-like to ordinary hasn't been such a common occurrence.

95 Defenses started playing the…

Defenses started playing the Chiefs differently. In the simplest narrative, they played a bunch of two high and the Chiefs struggled. This is likely a function of early issues with Brown at Lt, lacking a third wide receiver of Watkins quality, some decline in Kelce, and most importantly, a slow adjustment from Mahomes.

 

I also think 2021, some of the high wire plays started to swing in the other direction against Mahomes. By nature, these plays are ultra high variance and it's just one of those things where you take the good with the bad.

120 Of course

It happens. It has happened multiple times to Brady teams -- 28-3 was just the Pats derping the first half.

Of course it happens. You just can't tell this fanbase that anymore.

110 The attitude of the coach…

The attitude of the coach can totally effect the team in this way.  In 1984, the 6-2 NY Jets were facing the Patriots the week after Ron Meyer was fired as head coach after a player rebellion and Raymond Berry replaced him.  Berry was not on the Patriots staff, but he immediately brought back Rod Rust as defensive coordinator, whom Meyer had fired.  Jets head coach Joe Walton laid into his team the week before, telling them they weren't going to get him fired the way Meyer was fired, instead of talking about how to attack a team that was bringing in an outsider for a head coach on a week's notice.  The Jets lost that game and lost their next five games after that, including losses to the 3-13 Oilers and 4-12 Colts.

My source for this is Joe Klecko in the book Nose to Nose.

87 "Sometimes good teams go…

In reply to by OmahaChiefs13

"Sometimes good teams go totally derpy for 30 minutes" isn't an acceptable answer for most

That's weird that the KC fanbase wouldn't accept that, because that's been the story of their playoff lives under Reid and Mahomes. The only difference between the AFCCG vs. Cincy and several of their other games (including the  AFCCG vs. New England and basically their whole 2019 title run) is that they had their derpy period in the 2nd half and let Cincy come back to win. If you flipped literally the entire game so KC were the ones who couldn't find their butts before halftime, it would barely register.

119 Expectations have gone entirely off the rails

I don't disagree that the only difference with historical meltdowns is the timing of the meltdown, but this fanbase has developed a pretty wacky selective amnesia/cognitive dissonance thing. And what's weird is, it didn't even happen when you'd expect (right at the SB win)....it actually developed last year during the 14-2 run, but retroactive to the previous season.

Anything that happened prior to about Week  11 of 2019 (whatever week the Titans ate us at Nissan stadium that year) might as well have happened in the Stram/Dawson era...even though you're correct that some of those meltdown happened with this HC and even this QB.

In the brave new world, any non-dominant period must have an explanation...never mind a full half of derpy, this fanbase now largely believes that multiple non-productive offensive series in a row just are't possible with some Deep Dark Secret Reason single and systemic cause behind it.

It's been super weird to watch.

98 Total hit piece

In reply to by OmahaChiefs13

Taken down and not put back up (said they were revising it though) for a reason, from a (still) unverified account that didn't let everyone comment on the original tweet of it. For the love of God they said play calling was WRITTEN INTO HIS CONTRACT while the team still employed a former QB coach at HC. Completely and utter nonsense. 

But so many KC fans went for it (and still believe) because it's a self defense mechanism that many Packers fans have been using lately too. Who will be out first, Rodgers or Gute? Obviously Rodgers one way or another, "Rodgers is selfish! Trade him now for some mystery boxes! Gute's a genius for picking Jaire, Gary, Savage, Love and Stokes! He's never missed and obviously that'll continue too!"

Who leaves first; EB or Mahomes and/or Reid? Obviously EB (should been long ago), "It's Bieniemys play calling when things are bad and Reids when things are good! Trust me I go to the games! Mahomes can never do any wrong unless sabotaged! We're tired of only top 3 offenses, we need a fresh face but only at OC, Spags, Toub, Kafka if he were still here, would be fine to stay though. We would just replace EB with the freshest face of Matt Nagy please and thank you."

9 Turning on skill position…

  • Turning on skill position players as "divas" if they are too flamboyant on the field or Instagram; and

In the case of Antonio Brown, I think they were absolutely correct and he had lost what few marbles he had left.

11 Dolphins fans are more…

Dolphins fans are more traumatized by two decades of Patriots dominance than any other fan base. Bills Mafia has at least enjoyed recent success. Jets fans gave up for good circa 2011 and are now charming fatalists.

I would argue fatalism (and not of the charming kind) is proof of more traumatization, which makes sense since Belichick never had a chance to coach the Dolphins, and the only Dolphin quarterback to beat Brady for the division was cut by the Jets.

Also, the Jets delusion should have been that Joe Douglas needs to get fired in a year.  You should read Gang Green Nation more often.

19 Know your enemy and he is…

In reply to by BigRichie

Know your enemy and he is yours.  If Tanier is going to make Jets jokes, he should learn/steal from their rather pessimistic fanbase.

You're a Bills fan, aren't you?  Of course you wouldn't want to read it.

27 this much, anyway

The sack record TJ broke this year was Gastineau's, not Strahan's. With that hilarious joke of a sack 'gamer!' Favre gifted Strahan, that was as big of a joke record holding as I've seen in my decades of sports following. All hail Gastineau! (seriously)

28 Given that several guys had…

In reply to by BigRichie

Given that several guys had more sacks than that in a season in the 70s or before, I'm not going to hail Gastineau (and I prefer Klecko anyway).  My guy (Lance Mehl) was fortunate to play behind Klecko instead of the guy who kept taking the outside route just in case the opposing team decided to to throw even when leading the Jets by 30 points.

32 With that hilarious joke of…

In reply to by BigRichie

With that hilarious joke of a sack 'gamer!' Favre gifted Strahan, that was as big of a joke record holding as I've seen in my decades of sports following.

People bury the lede on this one. It wasn't that Favre 'gifted' Strahan the sack: It should never have been a sack in the first place. Everyone was run blocking - with no attempt to pass, it's a TFL and not a sack.

https://twitter.com/todayinsports3/status/1346805935294074880?lang=en

68 There's this thing called…

There's this thing called play action where the offensive linemen run block but it's a pass. It was a doomed play. Strahan was single blocked by a tight end, and Favre was rolling out to his side.

72 There's this thing called …

There's this thing called "Ineligible Receiver Downfield" which prevents offensive linemen charging up to the linebackers and blocking them on pass plays. Watch his offensive line hitting guys 3-4 yards downfield. Because that's what you do on run plays. 

The tight end's job was to seal block Strahan, since the run play was meant to go the opposite direction. Letting Strahan run upfield is fine because that would have taken him out of the play. 

What you see is what happens when a QB calls his own number on a naked bootleg, without telling anyone on his team. But that's not a sack. 

12 Delusion 1: The Lions won…

Delusion 1: The Lions won the Super Bowl because Matthew Stafford won the Super Bowl.

That's not actually the sentiment being expressed.

The true sentiment is closer to: "Celebrate like the Lions won the Super Bowl because Matthew Stafford won the Super Bowl, because this is as close as we're ever going to get."

13 But the alternative would be…

But the alternative would be rooting for the Vikings, which is too horrible to contemplate.

The Bears -- half of southern Wisconsin belongs to the Bears, anyway. (No one lives in western Wisconsin)

And the Bears are even funnier!

17 Really?!

Are you a Wisconsin boy, Aaron?

No one in Milwaukee roots for the Bears. And no, don't even think of trying to shift Milwaukee into 'central Wisconsin'. Not even American school graduates are that bad at geography.

Southern Western Wisconsin fans were the Bears' biggest Wisconsin fans, thanks to the Platteville training camps. They loved the Bears, adored Walter Payton and detested Jim McMahon. So they were sophisticated, too!

23 I've got family surrounding…

In reply to by BigRichie

I've got family surrounding Lake Michigan, including in Lake Forest, Milwaukee, and Green Bay. Also went to a college that primarily pulled from Detroit, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis. In the western UP, both people are Packers fans. But of the students, you heard more from the Lions and Vikings fans; the Milwaukee kids weren't hardcore Packers. But that's also representative of how Brewers and Bucks games against Chicago teams tend to be outnumbered by road fans -- Milwaukee is the northern limit of the Chicago suburbs.

30 grrr ...

A diaspora'd Milwaukeean here. Call me a Chicago fan?!? grrrr ... 

Seriously (to the extent this actually merits such), when the Mighty Pack was so unmighty those 20 years, the Bears gained some fans south of Milwaukee (Racine, Kenosha, Beloit). Especially during the (pretty short, actually) Ditka glory years. With the resurgence of the Bucks/Brewers/Mighty Pack as of late, good luck finding any Chicago sports team fan under the age of 30.

71 As someone who has lived in…

As someone who has lived in Chicago for 90%+ of my life, no way is Milwaukee the northern limit.  I'll give you Kenosha, since there is a Metra line that runs from Chicago to there, but it's pretty rural between there and Milwaukee, thus breaking up the string of what I'd call suburbia.

Also, the Brewers and Bucks aren't overrun by local Chicago fans, it's just that it's easy enough to drive the 1.5-2 hours to get up there.  And the Chicago MLB and NBA franchises have much stronger brands, so to speak.  The Brewers and Bucks aren't comparable to the Packers, who have one of the strongest brands in the entire NFL.

94 I've spent large chunks of…

I've spent large chunks of my life taking I-94 north/south and I-81 east/west.

It's not that rural. When I used to traverse through Chicago and up past Milwaukee, I would get gas in Mequon, because by that point I had escaped the Chicago/Milwaukee traffic. The Mars Cheese Castle was the inner keep of the gridlock.

38 "No one in Milwaukee roots…

In reply to by BigRichie

"No one in Milwaukee roots for the Bears. And no, don't even think of trying to shift Milwaukee into 'central Wisconsin'. Not even American school graduates are that bad at geography."

Never underestimate regionalism and geographic ignorance.

I'm a New Englander and I once horrified my wife (who is from California) by referring to Wisconsin as being "way out west"...  Similarly, she has been known to refer to Chicago as being "practically on the East Coast".  

 

 

63 I grew up in Platteville, I…

In reply to by BigRichie

I grew up in Platteville, I worked for the Bears (OK usually for the University but it was to work at the training camp) 5 summers. Walter Payton was in my living room once when I was a kid. My middle school best friend's dad gave McMahon a traffic ticket, my childhood is laced with memories tied to the Bears. My older brother by 2 years (who also worked for them multiple summers) is still a die hard Bears fan even though he's lived in Boulder, CO now for over 20 years (and I've been in KC, MO for nearly a decade myself). My dad, who actually grew up in north western Illinois, was a die hard Packers fan though and bonding with him sealed my allegiance to the Pack even though I could take joy in the Bears Super Bowl win and the celebrations our little town had. If it wasn't for my Dad I likely would have ended up a Bears fan too. I mean we grew up Cubs fans because of my Grandparents we went to Wrigley at least once a year for decades. Brewers fandom wasn't all that strong in that part of the state either.

I was definitely in a minority in high school as a Packers fan because the Bears did bring so much to that little town. The Platteville ties to the Bears are not dead yet either. I doubt the current high schoolers are majority Bears fans anymore but there are still a lot of kids who grew up with their parents rooting and having childhoods like myself and my brothers that were filled with memories of the Bears and got their rooting interests from them. But how far outside of Platteville that effect is, who knows. Even if the fandom is strong the population of southwest WI is tiny maybe 125,000 spread over 5 counties. Dubuque, IA is the major port city on the Mississippi in that area and the mining that built most of the towns in SW WI dried up in the late 1800's not all that long after WI became a state. It's all agriculture now. UW-Platteville employees a good chunk of people too.

It was not a bad place to grew up in the 70's, 80's, or 90's (don't know about now) and people like their sports and get into their fandoms for sure, but it's not a significant market in any sense so even if it's the last Bastion of strong Bears fans in WI after the Favre/Rodgers years it's a small enclave at best.

108 Not even American school…

In reply to by BigRichie

Not even American school graduates are that bad at geography.

My senior year at West Point (about an hour north of NYC), I had a roommate whose father was in the Army and stationed at Fort Myer, Virginia (Arlington, just across the river from DC).  Easter weekend we were both driving home to see our parents.  He was giving me a hard time for not going home more because I "lived so close" (Rochester, NY).  I told him he actually lived closer (at least by driving route).  He didn't believe it so we made a bet and agreed to record our odometers for the door-to-door drive.  I won by several miles.  And this was an Army brat who had lived in multiple states and countries.  So yeah, we can be a geographically ignorant lot, but we're not unique.

In 1990-1, I attended the Portuguese Army Staff College as an exchange student.  My sponsor, a Portuguese Army officer, was going to the US Army Command and General Staff College (located in Leavenworth, KS about an hour NW of KC) as an exchange student himself in the following year.  In talking about what he wanted to visit in the US, he mentioned New Orleans.  He planned to drive to it "in an afternoon."  Americans have no corner on geographic ignorance.  Yes, it was a foreign country vs. his own country.  But I also had Portuguese classmates (aged 35-40) who had never been to the NW interior of Portugal (roughly the size of Indiana) before our class visited there as part of an effort to get them to know more about their own geography.

 

14 when decent to excellent…

when decent to excellent teams such as the Chargers and Bengals have money to spend.

The delusion here is that Mike Brown will spend money.

15 Cards

"Having never interacted with any Cardinals fans, I honestly have no idea what their delusions might be."

Don't you ever read the comments section on this very site? There is a certain DIVISIVE commenter who thinks that Kyler Murray's first three years have been way better than Russell Wilson's first three years. Delusion enough?

20 I'm assuming Tanier thinks…

In reply to by LyleNM

I'm assuming Tanier thinks that poster who exists for only half the NFL season is an anomaly.  He may be right.

18 'I come to bury'

This reads like:

1), an article churned out by someone who, facing a requirement to come up with a written article within the next 24 hours but with no ideas as to what, churned out a 'stream of consciousness and hope nobody notices that aspect of it' article; and,

2), analysis by someone who knows the NFL in breadth and its fan bases in breadth like few to no others actually know those two things.

Outstanding article, Mike. Outstanding. Starting with the opening Lamar mea culpa.

Just outstanding.

26 Trubisky, who could end up…

Trubisky, who could end up being the Panthers quarterback in exchange for a McCaffrey package, also had his stans right up to the bitter end

Trubisky is a free agent, no need to bother with a trade

31 Ravens fans delusions

My frustration with fellow Raven's fans Harbaugh bashing is well known, but can we expect anything less when this shirt, which I have posted previously on FO actually exists.  Can you imagine that a football fan at any point in his career thought that Joe Flacco is elite?  

 

47 The big difference with…

The big difference with Flacco was that he was trending up(if you squinted) and his playoff run, I mantain, is still the best postseason QB run I have ever seen. I thought the Ravens receiving core was terrible that year too with only sure handed Anquan Bolden(who could get 0 separation at that point), a solid Dennis Pitta,  and a motley crew of one trick speedsters in Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones.

Jimmy G on the other hand was still throwing telegraphed ints to linebackers on his run to the sb.  

74 his playoff run, I mantain,…

his playoff run, I mantain, is still the best postseason QB run I have ever seen.

Crazily Josh Allen was on pace to obliterate it until, well, you know. 

 

And yes, I fully see the irony in me bringing this up when that was explicitly called out by Tanier above. 

34 Anyone else having trouble…

Anyone else having trouble reading this because ads and other sidebar nonsense are covering up a few columns of text on the right side?

58 I'm sorry the ads are…

I'm sorry the ads are interfering with the story. When you see that, please take a screencap and send an email to:

fo-support@edjsports.com

And let us know your OS and browser. That's the easiest way for us to fix it. Thanks!

60 The Eagles have a "semi…

The Eagles have a "semi-viable franchise quarterback"??

I found another fan delusion!

Yes, the 2021 Eagles were fun and all, but Jalen Hurts is not a semi-viable franchise QB. He ended up with a below-0 DVOA and a 48.8 QBR. He's worth sticking with for a bit until they've cleared a few more players, but let's not pretend anyone actually believes Hurts is going to deserve a $30+M/yr contract.

I mean, Mike, you spent the article saying of course Lamar Jackson has risk (Hurts has more!), Wentz needs to be gone immediately (he had a better year passing than Hurts!), obviously Mitch Trubisky was the problem and not Ryan Pace (Trubisky had a better sophomore year passing than Hurts!), obviously Cousins is a limiting factor (waaay better than Hurts).

And obviously the "Howie Roseman sucks" is a bit far, but you're setting the bar impressively low. The only thing good about the Eagles right now is their draft picks for next year. Their cap situation still sucks, they've got a WR they hope is a star with a QB who's an extremely limited passer, they've still got an absolute truckload of cash locked up in vets well over 30 (over $100M guaranteed in Johnson (32), Cox (32) , and Graham (34)), and their best player's certain to retire soon.

Yes, of course, the draft picks are great, but if they end up being the next Derek Barnett + Jalen Reagor + Andre Dillard, there's legit nothing to be excited about with this team.

62 Hurts graded far better than Trubisky ever has

14th/37 QBs in fact, even with the bad postseason against the defending champs (that they themselves lost to the eventual champs) included. 

And Minshew graded much worse too, fun fact. 

66 Trubisky's 2018 and Hurts's…

Trubisky's 2018 and Hurts's 2021 are interesting test cases for grading vs analytics. Trubisky's 2018 graded really low but the analytics were wacko high (including the insane QBR 3rd in the league). Hurts is basically the reverse, grading well but analytics are poor. Worked out for grading in Trubisky's case, but there are plenty of counterexamples

Regardless obviously anyone would prefer a high grade and high analytics.

70 its always interesting to…

its always interesting to look at Process vs Outcome and see who is succeeding in spite of their situation rather than because of it. If the coaching staff calls 2 yard QB sneaks on every single play, efficiency metrics will say you’re trash but grading will reward you for executing your assignment.
 

A more realistic example would be a guy like Snacks Harrison, who is great at stuffing runs but doesn’t play on passing downs. So he’s only getting graded on doing the thing he’s really good at, even though it doesn’t add up to being particularly valuable in the grad scheme of things. 

99 Yeah, I think it's halfway…

Yeah, I think it's halfway between with Hurts. Coaching staff isn't going to let him be aggressive because he doesn't see it yet, but he's making good decisions, just not good plays. I think he tops out at a high end backup.

That's not an insult, mind you. It's just not really an asset for Philly. You like up units on a team against their opponent, Philly's not going to have an advantage except versus teams that should be tossing their QB. He's just borderline.

101 This is broadly speaking an…

This is broadly speaking an issue that extends far beyond Snacks Harrison. We really only measure players in the situations the coaches have decided them to play in. Conversely, adverse situations can easily exacerbate one's poor grades compared to favorable circumstances.

This was really driven home for me with pressure rates. The best ways to avoid pressure are to either be way ahead or way behind(yes way behind!), because in both cases, pressure becomes a secondary issue for the defense. And the reverse is also true as well.

If its true for pass rush/pass blocking, it has to be even more true for secondary play. Yet all we can do with the secondary is grade on what we observed vs the thousand other iterations of what might have happened. To me, this makes reactive positions the worst to judge in terms of quality. 

Its why I used to love PFF grades and now I find them OK to some extent, but I ultimately gave up on the idea that we can ever parse true player quality for most of the positions that do not touch the ball. 

102 Ben Muth brings this up a…

Ben Muth brings this up a lot when a play obviously goes wrong because someone did the wrong thing, but states that without knowing what the play was supposed to be, he can't tell who screwed up.

106 I tried experimentally to…

I tried experimentally to adjust for things like down and distance when I did my pressure rate numbers.

Not only did it cause huge swings in the adjustment, it felt a little icky to be punishing offenses for being so good as to avoid bad pressure situations. On the other hand it feels really unfair to punish offensive lineman when their offense continually puts them in terrible situations.

I remember watching the Bears against the Browns which was Justin Field's first start. It was the perfect microcosm for a game that naturally inflated Cleveland's past rush numbers but also made Chicago's look so much worse. When the offense becomes that discombobulated, you can't just look at the face value numbers and claim that the offensive line was horrible. But I suspect that's the takeaway most people will have.

100 High ADOT (combined with…

High ADOT (combined with poor volume) is often an indication of poor receivers, which I definitely agree with. I just don't see indications that he'll get better with better WRs. Not saying it's not possible, just don't think it's likely.

124 It's about as insane as you…

It's about as insane as you thinking that team was led to the playoffs by Jalen Hurts when there's absolute top-end talent on the offensive line and they were the best running team in the league. I mean, Kelce's a Hall of Famer and Johnson's just a tick below. But sure, it's the second year QB and not those guys.

I have no confidence that Hurts will develop into an asset for the Eagles. He's not a huge liability right now, but keeping him past rookie contract would be a massive risk.

128 You're just spastic

You said you were out on Fields 2 starts in. No wonder you can't understand that Hurts is the reason they run so well. But yes give the old guys all the credit. 

Literally no one said past his rookie contract but you're delusional if you dont see how cheap a starting caliber can be an asset or semi viable when they literally made the playoffs before the last game with him as the starter.. Then again you were arguing for Minshew for whatever reason.

129 No wonder you can't…

No wonder you can't understand that Hurts is the reason they run so well. But yes give the old guys all the credit. 

Yes, it's amazing that I can't understand Hall of Fame level talent having an effect. I guess the offensive line just effin' stands there.

Literally no one said past his rookie contract

You're in the wrong conversation, then. The discussion was regarding Hurts as a semi-viable franchise QB.

Of course he's a semi-viable quarterback on his rookie deal. Absolutely. Not a franchise QB though.

130 You dont give any credit

To the running QB that intiates the them running the ball well. You gonna give all the credit the Baltimore OL? 

Oh look pat playing semantics again as if that changes anything in a league that's about to pay Carr 40m.

Still dug in because he continues to disregard Hurts been tasked to throw deep and run to the tune of a top half grade at QB. But yeah I'm sure Minshew, that didn't grade as well behind a guy that apparently isn't anything worthwhile, will garner that comp pick in return. Great on them for wasting capital on a backup for next year, instead of helping their awful starter. Make sure to bring up why you were out on Fields 4 games in despite not watching anything in college. 

131 You gonna give all the…

You gonna give all the credit the Baltimore OL? 

So... we're comparing Hurts to Lamar Jackson now. OK, got it.

HURTZ IS TE AWESOME PAY HIM $100M/YR

JUSTIN FIELDS IS EPIC TRADE ALL THE THINGS FOR HIM

132 Being obtuse

Do you know why the Ravens have a good run game? You think Miles Sanders is driving the Eagles? Lol but go off with your strawman.

Good to know you given up on Minshew after that foolish belief that he'd garner a comp pick and that you dont watch college.

64 Technical Issue: I'm…

Technical Issue:

I'm watching on a laptop and the banners, DVAO ratings and twitter feed are all blocking the view on the right side of the screen

82 Mahomes

Mahomes was actually on a trajectory to best Flacco's SB run until that inexplicable 2nd half against Cin. He had 190 and 307 DYAR the first 2 playoff games and about 180 in the 1st half of the 3rd one. Man KC really screwed up their legacy, I think they would have beaten LA.

89 Steelers Subtext

What subtext are you guys talking about? Are you inferring there are racist undertones to the complaining about players being divas? If so, you and your writers need to stop with the woke virtue signaling and quit insulting people who criticize players who sometimes deserve it and sometimes don’t. Either way your subtext is embarrassing for your publication. 

105 Given that he led by saying…

Given that he led by saying that their "delusion" is that they think it's still 1977, I get the impression that the "subtext" he meant was that the Steelers assume they will always win because they're the Steelers, no matter how many guys they lose or cut. It seems that Tanier thinks the Steelers are in for some hard times now that Big Ben has left the building.

107 "What subtext are you guys…

In reply to by 6lacker

"What subtext are you guys talking about? Are you inferring there are racist undertones to the complaining about players being divas? If so, you and your writers need to stop with the woke virtue signaling and quit insulting people who criticize players who sometimes deserve it and sometimes don’t. Either way your subtext is embarrassing for your publication."

You took a pretty big leap there from ignorance to certainty.  Note that "either way", though, usually follows after you provide at least two possible alternatives, not one.  Nice exercise of preemptive outrage, though, just in case it was required.

104 Hey LOOK! Walkthrough is Trolling Fan bases!

Your mailed in Saints blather doesnt even mention Jameis Winston...or that the Saints are just plain smart to do everything they can to keep an excellent roster and coaching staff in place (because it's almost impossible to re-assemble one...a concept far too advanced for this column...) 

Oh, and in New Orleans, it's not ramen , it's Ya-Ka-Mein...but your mailed-in provincial cliche list wouldn't know that, either.

We're HAPPY to eat Ya-Ka-Mein and pay the electric bill to keep this group in place. Ride that horse till it dies.

Enjoy your "Marty Graw Gumbo Party" 

114 The horse isn't dead, it was…

The horse isn't dead, it was injured last year & still almost made the playoffs, despite setting a league record for the number of different players starting a game in a single season.

And despite playing most of the season without a decent / "proper" QB (although Taysom Hill went 4-1 as a starter but let's not mention that as it doesn't fit the FO narrative).

And despite missing Alvin Kamara for a number of games.

And despite probably their best player missing the entire season (and who WON'T be getting cut or traded as his contract was renegotiated today along with Ryan Ramczyk, clearing $26m of cap space in 2 simple transactions).

As for Tanier's summary, no Saints fans think the cap situation is great or won't be challenging, but they aren't screwed and Mickey Loomis and Khai Harley have worked bigger miracles with the cap than this before.

With the NFC South looking weaker following Brady's retirement, the division title could well be within reach for the Saints this year, so don't be surprised to see the Saints be competitive in 2022 rather than curling into a ball and going 4-13 or so like certain experts seem sure will happen.

 

113 Bears fans get three…

Bears fans get three delusions! Suck it, rest of the NFL!

I do think that at least by 2020 the vast majority of Bears fans (even the ones on sports radio) had reconciled themselves to the fact that all three of the troika were crap, and the debate began "who is the most responsible for the mess we're in?" Particularly between Nagy and Pace, because none of us believed management would actually dump both of them. 

Pre-emptively, however: Whatever happens in 2022, it is NOT Justin Fields's fault.

117 Aaron Rodgers Misinfo

Was Tom Brady “King Whineypants” when he wanted out of New England because Belichick totally forgot how to draft? After Rodgers last Insta lovefest message, we’re still gonna label him as grumpy? It seems the entire world (Mike included) came down on the guy when his team and teammates knew exactly what his vaccination status was, & when most of the vulnerable people who may’ve somehow came across the Aaron Rodgers-game-of-cooties-telephone were vaccinated already so they were essentially in no trouble. Tanier took the Magrary “we’re negative & fun, right?” beat & classed it up a bit. But don’t pretend you’re the joyful one after we just came out of 2 solid years of fearful scolding by most (media) people.

118 Alright, Mike

I think I gotta go. It made no sense saying McDaniels wouldn’t enjoy a rebuild (when that’s exactly what he did in Denver, jettisoning the diva established QB & drafting half the Super Bowl team), especially when NE is basically rebuilding with McDaniels not in charge.

But the reason I gotta go is you essentially called Pittsburgh fans racist for not wanting to keep Le’Veon Bell & Antonio Brown around. So the fanbases of New York, Kansas City, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Oakland, & New England are all racist too, right? (Ok, I may cede that last one ☺️) You’re implying things in your column while also (unwittingly?) implying keeping Bell & Brown were the moves. Wtf?

You're one of the best analysts alive, but the constant gaslighting of 75% of football fans is fucking absurd. At least you admitted early on in this column (vis a vis the Browns) that the very theory of the website you work for is…basically a delusion too.

122 How did you pick just one delusion for Pats fans?

At various times this season, they've believed the following:

  1. Tom Brady isn't "coming back"—he's already here, courtesy of Mac Jones!
  2. They were the best team in the conference.
  3. The dynasty never ended: it continued by proxy when Brady won the Super Bowl with the Bucs, and it was going to keep continuing under Jones, because ...
  4. ... Buffalo's Super Bowl window was already closed, because ...
  5. ... that MNF win had nothing whatsoever to do with the weather. When they were finally disabused of that notion courtesy of a no-punt game against Belichick, they shifted to ...
  6. ... they would have totally won that game had JC Jackson not dropped an interception!

And all it took to get them off that last point was for the Bills to put up a second consecutive no-punt game--in fact, a seven-touchdowns-in-seven-drives game--against Belichick.

Don't believe me? Go surf the Boston Globe's sports section sometime. It's three reasonable people drowned out by a sea of ignorant homers.

126 that MNF win had nothing…

  1. that MNF win had nothing whatsoever to do with the weather. When they were finally disabused of that notion courtesy of a no-punt game against Belichick, they shifted to ...
  2. ... they would have totally won that game had JC Jackson not dropped an interception!

And all it took to get them off that last point was for the Bills to put up a second consecutive no-punt game--in fact, a seven-touchdowns-in-seven-drives game--against Belichick.

It's pretty wild. The Bills had 17 drives against New England in non-hurricane winds. Results: 11 touchdowns, 2 field goals, 2 end of game kneeldowns, 1 end of half drive that sputtered to nothing, and a turnover on downs at New England's 1.

 

The Pats win in the hurricane game was earned, but it also called up the weird double-standard around rushing yards. The Pats outgained Buffalo by 11 yards, scored 14 points, and required two red zone stands to secure a 4 point win. Yet, because they rushed for 200 yards, it was a "dogwalking", a "mudstomping", and several other things that wouldn't be allowed under the TOS. Rushing yards are cool and all, but they are still just yards. Points win games.

127 The only reason they could…

The only reason they could get away with that gameplan was because Buffalo did nothing on offense. IMost of the yardage came on one long run which inflated the ypa. 

You can point to that game if you want and say, well, run enough times and you'll eventually break one, but most teams and game conditions will rarely afford you the opportunity to waste a bunch of drives en route to that one long run.