I’m beginning to realize the hardest thing to do on the Monday after the NFL regular season kicks off is to not overreact to what happened over the weekend. And for me, this particularly pertains to the Denver Broncos.
What did I say when I was all juiced up with beer immediately after the Broncos’ gritty 31-19 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers? “No way anyone can beat the Broncos this year. Peyton Manning is definitely taking us to the Super Bowl. The Broncos are easily the best team in the AFC, if not the entire league.”
Perhaps a bit of an overreaction? Well, with an entire regular season ahead of us (plus the playoffs), I’d say yes. A big overreaction. Am I alone? Hell no. I was excited and sometimes excitement blurs the reality surrounding the outcome of just one game.
Overreactions like this started early this year, when the NFL season opened up on a Wednesday evening with a game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. I bring this game up because Cowboys fans are usually the best of all fans at overreacting both positively and negatively. It’s the nature of the beast, right? Everything is bigger in Texas.
Anyway, I’ve placed a few wagers with some boys down in Texas in the past, and leading up to the game, I could hear these fans practicing their overreactions to what may or may not happen in the Giants-Cowboys matchup. One guy – we’ll call him Cowboy Johnny – told me this would be the loss that will finally get rid of quarterback Tony Romo.
“Once we lose this game, the coaches will realize it’s time to find a replacement for Romo,” Cowboy Johnny said. “He’s our biggest weakness, and the sooner we realize this, the better.”
This was said before the game – a drastic pre-game reaction. Talk about a Debbie Downer.
And then there was Cowboy Jimmy, who was certain the Cowboys were going to be blown out by the defending Super Bowl Champions.
“This is going to be embarrassing,” Cowboy Jimmy said. “We need a new quarterback, a new defense…our offensive line is too slow. This isn’t going to be good.”
Of course, hearing the two cowboys’ gloom-and-doom predictions for the game, I put my money on the Giants. Seemed like easy money.
So when the Cowboys pulled out an impressive win over the Giants, 24-17, I was the one who was down in the dumps. And yes, the overreactions from these two were Texas-style over-the-top.
“We are back, baby. We are back,” Cowboy Johnny crowed. “NFC Champions for sure. The team has a chemistry we haven’t seen since the dynasty.”
“After that performance last night, I can see Romo as MVP this year,” Cowboy Jimmy said, with glee. “Romo has finally matured.”
Damn, I thought, these guys are drunk on one win. They should hear themselves. As it turned out, statements like theirs were made over and over throughout the weekend, after each team won or lost tis opening game. As Dan Patrick said on Monday, Week 1 of the NFL weekend should be renamed “Overreaction Weekend.” It’s true. Every fan, TV analyst, blogger, tweeter and sports talk radio host overreacted to something as it played out.
The Cowboys win was the first. Overreaction to the Giants – no way they’ll make another Super Bowl – was a big one.
How about overreaction to the Jets win over the Bills? “Boy, Tebow and Sanchez, they are a match made in heaven. Brilliant idea by the Jets.”
“Bills – the worst team in the league after that blowout by the Jets.”
OK, so maybe that overreaction wasn’t over the top; the Bills looked terrible.
Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s loss at home to the 49ers? “Oh, man, Rodger’s offense looks to be in trouble. Maybe his glory days are in the past?”
Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to be the case.
So you’d think after hearing countless hours of overreaction to Week 1 results that I would have the presence of mind to keep from overreacting to the Broncos victory late Sunday night?
The Broncos’ performance had me giddy. I was blinded by Peyton Manning’s efficient performance. The defense, although it struggled on third down at times, was as strong as we’d seen them last year.
Clad in home orange uniforms, we Bronco fans had something to be very happy about, and I was quick to overreact.
“What do you think Peyton Manning will say when he’s presented the Lombardi Trophy later this year?” I asked myself. “Think he will mention Indianapolis in his MVP acceptance speech?”
“Von Miller best Broncos defender of all time? He sure looks like it to me.”
Those were the kind of overactive questions I went to bed with Sunday night. Like all the fans before me that weekend, I was drunk on one win. Visions of the Super Bowl danced in my head.
But by Monday morning, reality had set in. Yes, the NFL season is long and grueling. Injuries happen. It’s a long road to the Super Bowl. No reason to get too excited now; disappointment lurks behind every snap of every game.
Still, though, there’s reason to be excited. Peyton Manning running the hurry-up offense in the oxygen-lacking environment of Mile High stadium? Boy, that seemed too perfect. I told myself that at least I’m not getting overly excited about the performance of Tony Romo. I’ll take my chances with Manning any day, over Romo.
Perhaps it’s not an overreaction to say the Broncos are Super Bowl bound? It could happen. They have the combination of offense and defense to do it. Yes, the Broncos are going to be good this year? It’s not an overreaction to say that. How good?
Well, let’s just say the 72 Dolphins should be nervous. From what I saw in one Bronco game, Denver could be the team to match their undefeated record.
Now there’s an overreaction…but it’s an overreaction I’m happy to stick with – until, of course, they lose.