Often times we as people build events that haven't happened yet up in our mind so much, that really there is not point in doing/watching the actual event -- it will never live up to the dream.
Now, I am not saying that you shouldn't have expectations; The danger is setting them either so low or so high that they lose all meaning. Someone goes to work expecting to lose a dozen customers that day, only to be ecstatic when they "only" lose 8. Conversely, if you expect to add 15, you will be super disappointed when you "only" add 5. Seem silly? It may, but that is what many people do on a daily basis. What is worse is then the guy who expects to add 15 customers loses 8, and the guy who expects to lose 12 adds 5 -- obviously, their expectations were way out of whack with what was going to occur.
While it is great to be excited, sometimes we have to think about what we are attaching expectations to -- and if a neutral party with all the facts would see them as reasonable.
Sometimes, expectations coming in are so far exceeded early that people swing into the complete opposite of where they started.
Example: Flashback to 2006 -- Rod Marinelli was in his first year as a head coach. Very seldom to teams suddenly improve their record enormously with a new coach -- usually they stay the same or go backwards. Since new defensive and offensive systems were going in, this usually means backwards. The Lions won 3 games. About normal for a first time HC installing new offensive and defensive systems for a team on it's 4th head coach in almost as many years. (Morhinweg, Mariucci, Juron). Rod made a lot of changes in his first season, and even more his second off season with the team.
Despite the fact that the team showed improvement throughout the year, and the fact that the Lions addressed some needs in the off season -- it lacked flash in regards to FA, and the draft wasn't a super "now we're unstoppable". The general expectation I saw floated around most often was about 3-4 wins, 5 if they were really lucky. Anything more than that would be amazing considering the entire league knew the Lions had a weak secondary, made weaker when Bullocks went on IR.
Fast forward to game 8 last season against Denver -- the Lions locked up their 6th win with a blowout win unlike any that had been seen for a long time by the Lions. Their record was 6-2. For a fan base who expected 3-4 wins, they were already about double that!! As they racked up the wins, I saw expectations swing from 3-4 to 10 -11 and that the season was a total disappointment if the Lions didn't make the playoffs. This from the same people who looked at the team less than 2 months before and said 6 or 7 wins would be beyond their expectations!!
They were the guy who thought his pay was getting cut because business had been bad, and suddenly sees the company has swung into unexpected positive results and starts thinking he's getting a 20% raise! Then he gets disappointed when things even out, but are still moving in a strong positive direction and he "only" gets a 8% raise -- when a few months before he would have been excited just to keep his job!!
Posted by stickety on 03/30/08 at 9:36AM
Right on DetFan1979:
The average know-nothing fan did backflips when the Lions were signing high-priced free agents like Woody and Bly. They bought in completely when Millen and Morningweg boasted about the "young speed" they were going to bring to the team by drafting guys like Boss Bailey and Kalimba Edwards. They rejoiced when the Lions selected receiver over and over and over again in the draft. I cannot even count how many times I've heard idiotic Lions' fans parrot the crap they hear on the radio from the likes of the "Huge" one, Bill Simonson (last year, he said that the Lions shouldn't draft Joe Thomas because you can always get good offensive linemen in the late rounds of the draft - brilliant analysis).
If you look more closely, you can see that Rod damn near pulled off a miracle last year. The Lions were a few plays away from being a playoff team in spite of fielding a collection of stiffs on defense and a borderline pathetic offensive line. The Lions have had a tremendous off-season so far: they've improved their defense while actually dumping salaries.
Now, they need to seal the deal with a solid draft. I'm not looking for the spectacular. Just fill two-three holes with good players.
Whether they have to trade down or up or stay pat, I don't care. Just do what it takes to fill the holes at tackle, linebacker, and running back.
Do that, and the Lions will be significantly better next year.
Not saying I agree with everything Stickety wrote (specifically, agree Joe Thomas quality OT's are not going to be there in round 3, but I think you can build a solid offensive line with the right 2-4th round picks), but he makes some very good points.
Last season, I expected that the Lions were going to win between 6 - 9 games depending on how the ball bounced, and possibly sneak into the playoffs if they were lucky. They won 7. Pleasantly satisfied. Since they are still a young team (overall), and I don't know who they are drafting, right now I am expecting about the same. If the draft seems about right, I might switch to 7 - 10 games. But only if I think it is a real home-run.
As we start to fall into solidifying in each of our minds either who/what position we want the Lions to draft over the next month (some people are zealously there now), it would be best to remember to temper our expectations - up or down as the need may be. Many of the best player analysts don't do mock drafts -- because even if you know who is going in the top ten, there are 3,628,800 different combinations they could be picked in (10 factorial for those who want to know where I got the number). Factor in 224 picks, plus compensatory picks, plus trades, surprise picks, teams who "reach" (or essentially have a player rated differently for THEIR team than others do.") and you realize that predicting the draft is like predicting the weather -- you can come close in a general way, but it will usually be far from exact.
When I sit down to watch the Lions on Sunday afternoon, or Sunday Night Football, or MNF, I have one expectation: To watch an entertaining game of football. Sure, I enjoy when the Lions are winning -- it enhances the fun, and the odds I will be able to watch my favorite team into the postseason. But it is not the end of my world if they don't.
My expectation while watching the draft (yes, I do watch it. Drives my wife nuts) is that I'll be entertained and informed by doing so. I would like to see the Lions get 2-3 solid starters, and 1 -2 contributing rotation guy in this draft. Preferably at areas I think are needs, but since I don't coach or GM the team -- I don't presume that I know more about football than Matt Millen, and certainly not Rod Marinelli, and the entire scouting department and all of his coaching staff. Sure, they can be wrong but I don't watch the draft to be right, I watch it to see if I know my own favorite team well enough that I was right.
When I'm looking at the Lions, I do a lot of thinking about what they could do, or what I think they should do. But in the end, as the draft nears, I think most about what I think they will do -- taking everything else into account. They often surprise -- but that is part of what makes it entertaining. If I always knew what was coming, it would eliminate the point of watching or analyzing.
So my request is that as we start to get more into looking at needs, what positions will be available when, who will be available, who should be picked, trading up or down, trade partners, etc. -- or as we go into the off season, and into 2008; please keep one thing in mind:
We follow this stuff because it is fun, not because we have any control over the outcome.