Jacksonville Jaguars: Learning to Manage Expectations
The reasons to be optimistic this year are numerous – so numerous that it is hard not to find one’s self elated with every passing headline as the potential development of player X is bandied about by the professional media eager to turn every coach’s compliment into a sign of something potentially magical waiting to happen. This is a period where any kind of news is considered “big” news. It is also a time of year when most NFL coaches do their best impersonation of a politician soliciting handouts at a fundraiser offering player praise in exchange for favorable press coverage. Perpetually manipulating the press environment is an integral part of staying on the job and feeding them during the leaner parts of the year can payoff further down the road when press sympathy is needed.
As with every season, there are reasons to be both optimistic and concerned when looking over the roster. The key is to not view every news nugget through the prism of rose-tinted glasses thinking of only the best possible outcome in every scenario. Blackjack, successful tax evasion and football are all governed by empirical statistical law, after-all. Lady Luck is, more often than not, a judicious lass. No front office is a perfect gambler. Batting just .500 is considered a successful batting average in the world of NFL movers and shakers.
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I urge you to use caution when envisioning what this season might bring. It may seem unconventional that a writer, such as myself, would chasten his readers into adopting a more level headed approach to the offseason when logic would dictate that I have every incentive not to do so. In fact, at first blush, it would seem much more beneficial to this website that every fan were to show overwhelming exuberance in the comments section thinking that the Jaguars are about to win the Super Bowl with every passing Blake Bortles article discussing his improved throwing mechanics or changes to his early morning cereal eating habits (now with more fiber).
As much as we here at Black and Teal would love a more caffeinated mindset among our readers, it would be counter-intuitive to build such a community. No one wants a bi-polar fan base on a roller coaster ride of emotions as the season takes its inevitable twists and turns. “Pump and dump” is a strategy of hucksters, lazy sportswriters and shady sidewalk food vendors. Learning to balance optimism with common sense is the best way to partake of the news. Keep this advice in mind as you try to satiate your football appetite this off-season. Preparing yourself for the most likely outcome is not just a reasonable, cautionary practice but a healthy one. Managing expectations is one of the most rewarding life skills to master and there is no better realm to practice that skill within than football. Your quality of life depends on it.