When’s it time to say goodbye?

The quarterback is the most important position on the field. If your a fan of the NFL you probably remember the disaster of Brett Favre’s last few years, where he couldn’t figure out if he wanted to still play or just do commercials. That is the perfect example of “when it’s time to say goodbye” and the packers couldn’t of handled it any better. Let’s take a look a little deeper into a couple of the most recent goodbyes to franchise players.

  Brett Favre is undoubtedly one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. However those guys behind the scenes over there in the land of cheese are brilliant. They knew around year 14 with their quarterback that they should start looking for his replacement, and instead of waiting until he was gone they did it the correct way and found that next guy sooner than later. In 2005 they drafted this 6 ft 2 stud from Cal and his name was Aaron Rodgers. Coming into the NFL most guys want to immediately become “the guy” and lead his team to the promised land, however more times than not it doesn’t work out that way. Just for example Peyton Manning, another all time great did absolutely horrible in his rookie year(at least compared to the rest of his career). Aaron Rodgers ended up sitting behind Brett Favre for his first three seasons and became the starter in 2008. While behind Favre he sat their like a sponge and soaked in as much knowledge as he could from the future Hall of Famer and it clearly paid dividends because in 2010 Rodgers led the Packers to a Super Bowl victory and was then named SB MVP. Every seasons since then Rodgers is in the top 5 in practically every category and in the running for league MVP. If you look at the teams that are year in and year out competing for a playoff spot they have something in common, a leader at the helm, a solid quarterback. Also vice versa the teams competing for the worst of the league have something in common, a suspect quarterback who either doesn’t have the talent around him or was thrown into a terrible situation without the luxury of learning from an all star who was their before him. 

 Another reason you might let go of your franchise quarterback who’s in his mid 30’s is because of injuries. Let’s be honest, will you ever get your future gun slinger off the free agent market? Not if he’s any good. You never see a top 10, or even top 15 guy out there because teams hold on to the good ones for dear life.You don’t let go of someone who has the talent and the right mindset to lead you to playoff victories, you just don’t. A few years ago though, we saw one the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game out on the market no strings attached. That guy’s name is Peyton Manning. He led the colts to a super bowl victory and led them to the playoffs more times than not. Then old father time set in and Manning had a couple neck surgeries that sidelined him an entire season and the colts won 2 games that year just showing how important Manning was to a playoff team the year before. The colts were now sitting in a challenging position, do they get rid of the guy who’s filled their seats for over a decade and delivered them a victory in the Super Bowl or do they pay him millions and millions of dollars unsure of what he can actually produce on the field. What made their decision a little easier was the 2012 quarterback draft class including Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. As we all know they decided to let Manning go and draft their future guy Andrew Luck. When the colts let him go, the feeding frenzy commenced and for awhile there ESPN had their hands full with rumors and teams going crazy. For awhile we heard the 49ers, Seahawks, Broncos to name a few, not including all those teams with under .500 records begging for a gift from god to make Manning come to their city. It just goes to show you how a player of that caliber never makes it to the market. Anyway, he ended up with the Broncos and has led them to a Super Bowl appearance and a few of the best years they’ve had since the Elway days. The Colts and Andrew Luck didn’t have the luxury that Aaron Rodgers had, or Brady, or Rivers and that’s a proven guy ahead of him to learn from. Like I said before when you get thrown into a situation, with extremely high expectations more times than not you fail, or at least not meet the standards that are expected. What Andrew Luck has done is simply unheard of. With a suspect defense, and a subpar running game he has led them a couple of division crowns and a few playoff wins, including that hell of a game against the Chiefs a couple of years ago.

In the end, what matters most in the NFL is having some under center who can control the offense and win you ball games. If you have an aging quarterback, especially one that has injury problems you need to think of the future. It’s never too early to find a backup that way you can groom him to be just what you want all the while he gets the best hands on training available in the game and thats a proven quarterback.

Sports Fans: What makes us, us?

We all know that one guy, you know that fan of their favorite team who knows “everything” about his team. He could tell you every highlight from his team’s most glorified season. He subscribes to ten apps that send him notifications of whats going on in the sports world, even though they’ll all say the same thing. I’ll be honest, I am that typical fan who’s absolutely crazy about his teams, although I am no longer 18 so I don’t really have the time to still follow 5 different sports so I mainly stick to NFL and my San Diego Super Chargers! ( most glorified seasons is a toss up between ’94 and ’07). Anyway back to the topic at hand and what makes us so crazy about our teams? Why do we plan our lives around a team that we have absolutely no affiliation with? Is it because we are ultra competitive and have a serious need to connect to similarly minded people and use it as a way to “fit in”? Is it a way to fit in with the local community? The possibilities are honestly endless but I am going to just dive into a few different possible reasons.

Let’s start off with a bang and dive into the most obnoxious, committed fans in all of sports. Oakland Raiders fans. I know they went to a super bowl not all that long ago, but what have they had to cheer for this past decade? To be honest, nothing, they’ve gone through more Quarterbacks than Adam Sandler’s gone through bad movies. However year in and year out, there stadium is packed to full capacity, roaring and making it difficult for any team that comes to the bay area. Outside of having an actual personal connection within the organization and those fans that have been around since the glory days why is it this way? I think especially with the Raiders it has a lot to do with identity. What I mean by that is wanting or needing to be a part of something bigger than yourself, have a strong identity that you can relate to with thousands of other people around the United States. We as humans since the early days have always stuck together in groups of people who are similar to us whether it’s our standards or interests and I think the same reasoning applies here. When you become part of a group, not only do you have an identity, you have a common goal and in this case its that Lombardi Trophy and that is another reason we tend to spend hundreds of dollars every year if not more on tickets and our teams gear. Don’t worry Raiders fans at least your not Bills fans who probably still have the words “wide right” stuck in their heads, at least you have something to look forward to (Derek Carr, and the retirement of Peyton Manning).

Another reason were so crazy about sports, which I think is my probably my favorite is debate. Who doesn’t love a good debate about who’s point guard is better, or who has a better defense, or heck even who has a tougher schedule? Whether your at home with your friends on a Sunday night or at the local bar, or at school, or work you can strike up a debate with one sentence and it could go on for honestly hours. For example when I was in the service back in 2010 on one monday, one of my old SSgt’s(boss) came in and knew that the previous friday a few of my friends and I had talked a lot of trash about who’s team is better and my team the Chargers were playing the Packers and I had said how Rivers was better than Rodgers and said we would win. Turns out the game was a barn burner and the Packers won on the final drive and the score was something like 45-38. So all he did was come in and say, “Go Pack Go” and at the time I just lost it! In a non threatening way and we talked literally all day long and I tried to convince everyone that the chargers should’ve won, and to this day my SSgt will message me and make a comment about that day.(Rodgers won the MVP that year) maybe even the Super Bowl as well! Just my luck.

The last point I am going to make is that sports tends to be a release or even a escape. If you have ever been to a professional sports game you have felt that adrenaline pumping through your veins, ready to explode at the drop of a dime, having the time of your life not caring about the $200 you just spent on your ticket. At the end of the day, its entertainment and nothing beats a great sports game. For some people it can be a release because they were that “if coach would’ve played me in high school I’d be pro” and they need to stick to their fantasy. Or for the more normal person it allows you to do something that I can’t wait to do in about 4 years when I am able to teach my son, Ryan how to throw a football and what better way to do that then to show him my favorite team. Not only do I get to teach my son one of America’s greatest past times, I get to try and convince him to hop on and join me as a fan of my favorite team(not mom’s). Sports can be a release for some because of so many different reasons good and bad. You might be depressed and the only way for you to get excited is to see your favorite team throw a no hitter, or to go see your favorite player sign autographs and get a picture. You may have relationship problems, might want to escape from your real world problems for 2-3 hours, or just want an excuse to go crazy every Sunday!

At the end of the day, do what makes you happy, live life to the fullest, and if that means go crazy for a few hours then so be it! Go Chargers!