One fan’s wildly optimistic take on the 2018 Tennessee Titans.
I am a pessimist. I like to consider myself a realist, but when you strip away all the fancy words, you are left with someone who typically expects the worst. In my defense, the worst is usually what happens which is why my stubborn realist philosophy seems validated.
I have a few exceptions to my pessimistic personality, with a big one being my sports’ teams. When it comes to my teams, I am an eternal optimist. I always see the silver lining. I always hope and believe that the future will be bright, even in the face of all evidence to the contrary. My hope for this article is that I can balance both sides – the optimist and the pessimist. I hope that balance will make for a more nuanced and rational take on what has been an incredibly frustrating season for my favorite team – the Tennessee Titans.
Continue reading “The Tennessee Titans: A Glass Half-Full Examination of the 2018 Season”
Why do we love sports so much when it almost always ends up disappointing us? (779 words)
Perhaps the defining attribute of being a sports’ fan is the ever-present feeling of being let down. As fans, it is our burden to bear. We cheer on our teams, year after year, and most of the time, walk away disappointed. Of course, there are the occasional high points: The big win against a rival. The post-season run. Even, a championship if we are really fortunate. The truth is though, we are rarely fortunate in our fandom.
Two times in the past five years, Aaron Rodgers has been injured and unable to complete the season.
This year, his Green Bay Packers were 4-1 when he got hurt early in the game against the Minnesota Vikings. You could argue that with a healthy Rodgers, the Packers had as much of a chance to make it to the Super Bowl as any other team in the NFC. Now, the team is done – looking at another season down the drain due to an injury to their star quarterback. Before you feel too sorry for the Packers’ fans, it is good to remember that they have had great success for the past few decades and have won multiple championships in that time. Even so, that fan base feels the letdown. They feel as if they are cursed. It is the natural state for the majority of fans across the globe.
Continue reading “The Inevitable Letdown of Being a Fan (The NFL on REO)”
We take a quick trip around the league. (1, 061 words)
“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”
How amazing was the Colts vs. Bills game on Sunday? The records didn’t matter. The actual game-play didn’t matter. All that mattered was the snow. It was an ugly game for on-field execution, but is was a beautiful game for aesthetics. Seeing giant, super-human type athletes slog through the snow was about as fun as it gets. Seeing clouds of snow explode after every tackle or diving catch was mesmerizing. And even though Adam Vinatieri missed two field goals, watching him nail the game-tying extra point from over 40 yards away was one of the greatest kicks I have ever seen.
I hope we get a few more of these types of games this season. They make some of these less interesting matchups much more enjoyable.
Continue reading “A Look Around the League (The NFL on REO)”
Updated Power Rankings a look at sports in Nashville. (1,505 words)
I got some help this week for the NFL Power Rankings from fellow REO contributors Gowdy Cannon and Mike Lytle. I asked them to rank their top 15 teams. We then assigned a point value to each team based on where they were ranked and then added those points together to get the final product – The NFL on REO Top Ten. (Example for the ranking: A 1st place vote receives 15 points, a 2nd place vote receives 14 points, and a 15th place vote receives 1 point.) I’ve listed the total point value for each team so you can see how this all came together. For the tie-breakers, I listed the rationale for why one team was placed above the other.
1. New England – 45
Back when the Patriots were 2-2 with what was by far the last place team in defensive points given up, it looked like the rest of the league may have had a prayer of not having to deal with this constant playoff juggernaut this year. It was a testimony to how incredible the offense is that they were 2-2 since most teams would have been 0-4 giving up 38 points every week.
Continue reading “Two Tales of One City (The NFL on REO)”
Mike Lytle does the heavy lifting this week with an examination of parity in the NFL. (828 words)
It is pretty much universally accepted that the NFL wants parity around the league.
In 1992 the league introduced unrestricted free agency which gave every team access to the same pool of players. In 1994 a league wide salary cap was adopted. That meant that every team had the exact same limit on what they could spend on players. No matter how deep the owner’s pockets were or how much money the team generated from their fans the playing field was, at least theoretically, level. I don’t dispute these facts. I completely agree that the NFL wants every team to have a chance to compete for a Super Bowl. This is not like college football where teams like Alabama and Ohio State are simply more talented than just about every team they play and should compete for a title just about every year. While teams like Indiana and Vanderbilt will be lucky to post a winning record once every five years.
Anyone who follows the league knows that on average there are six new playoff teams each year (out of twelve). And each fall just about every fan base feels like their team has a chance to do something special if things break right for them. It is one of the reasons that despite negative publicity and a recent drop in the ratings the NFL is still the highest rated sport in our country by a pretty wide margin.
If we left it at that I think we would all agree that there is parity in the NFL and most would agree that that is a good thing.
Continue reading “The NFL and the Myth of Parity (The NFL on REO)”
Highlighting some of the most interesting Quarterback stories in Week 6 of the NFL. (796 words)
I will readily admit that I did not expect Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles to be this good this quickly. Wentz burst on the scene last year and had all the East Coast media hyperventilating. He came crashing back to earth in the second half of the season but the buzz had been built and the media declared him one of the up-and-coming Quarterbacks to watch in 2017. For once, the media was actually correct. At least, the signs appear to be pointing in that direction.
Through six games, Wentz has thrown nearly 1,600 yards, 13 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions. He has a passer rating of 99.6. If you look a little more closely at his numbers, his improvement seems to be pretty easy to pinpoint: He protects the ball better than last year and he is making his completions count more. His completion percentage is actually almost 2% points lower than his rookie season, but he is throwing for a much higher TD% and a much lower INT%. Also, his Yards Per Attempt is substantially better in 2017. Eagles’ fans have to be excited about the future with the growth they have seen in year two for Wentz.
Continue reading “Quarterback: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (The NFL on REO)”
We have new Power Rankings! (669 words)
Phill’s Quarter-Season Power Rankings!
We should probably call this edition: “Not Available.” That will make more sense in a bit. This season has been unpredictable, which is one of the reasons the NFL is so much fun. Contrary to some opinions, there have been some really good games this year and we are once again shaping up to have a good number of new playoff teams in the mix. As you will see below, the Top Ten has been invaded by many new faces this time around. And that’s a good thing. I don’t know if these teams will be able to keep it up for the next 12 games, but so far, they have earned their spots on my list. Feel free to tell me I’m an idiot in the comment section below. I can take it. (You can view the first Power Rankings right here.)
Continue reading “Quarter Season Power Rankings (The NFL on REO)”
The Regular Season is here! We rank all 16 games and we give our staff predictions for the Tennessee Titans’ record. (947 words)
It’s game time baby!
The NFL season kicks off tomorrow with the defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs. I am so excited, even if this first game includes my most hated team in the history of all sports – the Patriots. It’s real NFL football for the first time in over half a year! What is better than that?
To commemorate this momentous occasion, here is my interest level for each game this week. We’ll start at the bottom.
Continue reading “The NFL on REO: Game Time!”
Recap of the 2017 NFL draft, and a few other points of interest.
An Exhaustively Researched Hypothesis
The NFL just concluded the 2017 draft. As usual, it was three days full of excitement, drama, and way too many opinions. It also helped confirm in my mind a little hypothesis I have been developing for some time: The NFL is the girl in high school that is socially oblivious, dumb as a box of rocks, kind of a jerk, but is pretty hot. Allow me to elaborate. That girl from high school had no problem getting dates. All the dumb, hormone driven, high school boys could easily overlook her lack of intelligence, her meanness, or her propensity to say or do publicly embarrassing things because…hotness. All those other negative qualities did nothing to lessen her popularity with the guys. That’s the NFL.
The NFL draft is three days of the NFL showing off, patting themselves on the back, and doing it all in the most bombastic and cringe-worthy manner possible. And we still watch. Because hotness. The NFL is hot, has been hot for a long time, and will be hot for many more years to come. It will be hot until all the negatives about the sport finally surpass how attractive it is to fans. And believe me, that time is coming.
Continue reading “The NFL on REO: The Draft”
We recap the first preseason game of the year for the Tennessee Titans.
When Mike Mularkey was hired as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans earlier this year, he described the kind of team he was going to build: Physical. Tough. Smart. He also used a phrase to describe the offensive philosophy and system the team would be implementing going forward: Exotic Smashmouth. What did he mean by that? Simply put, the Titans are going to be a run heavy team with a healthy splash of creative play calling that will highlight their talented and physically impressive rookie QB, Marcus Mariota. It’s a throwback system and philosophy with a new paint job and a few new wrinkles.
Continue reading “Titans Tuesday: Exotic Smashmouth”