21

March

NFL Free Agency and Training my Dog

Nnamdi Asomugha

Remember how free agent Nnamdi Asomugha was going to deliver the Lombardi Trophy to Philly?

For some reason, my dog acts like a crazed maniac whenever she’s on a leash.

Matilda is a near-perfect dog in any other setting, but when we put on her leash and walk her around the neighborhood, she goes nuts. Lunging at other dogs. Eating leaves and rocks. Chasing cars. She’s completely out of control.

My wife is working with Matilda to correct this behavior, which makes my wife a much better person than I am. I don’t have the patience to deal with a dog that treats bikers and pedestrians like the fake bunny rabbit on a pole at a greyhound track.

My attitude toward Matilda is kind of like the attitude most NFL fans have toward free agency. I don’t want to put the time and effort into re-training my dog. Most NFL fans don’t want their teams to put the time and effort into building through the draft.

I want Matilda to magically get over her leash craziness. NFL fans want their teams to magically get better by signing a bunch of free agents.

Check out the reaction to Miami not signing Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn. They’re getting trashed. How about the Dream Team moniker and the euphoria over the Eagles after their spending spree last season? People thought Philly would roll to a championship.

Signing a bunch of free agents doesn’t lead to a Super Bowl. There’s a small, but loud, segment of NFL fans and analysts that repeat this fact every offseason, but few people listen. I see this segment getting louder, but not larger. Why?

Are people not listening? Do they not care? Are most NFL fans just plain stupid? Is it impossible to re-train fans to favor draft and development over spend and splash?

Sabermetrics became mainstream in baseball. Advanced analytics keeps getting more popular in basketball. Fanbases in other sports embrace new and innovative ways to build a team. But most NFL fans would rather see their teams go the same old route of stocking up on high-priced free agents and other “name” players.

They’re like Matilda on a leash. They want off that leash so they can chase after every shiny object, whether it’s good for them or not.

I know it’s easy for me to sit here as a fan of a team with a franchise QB and tell everyone that building through the draft is the only way to go. That’s not what I’m saying. Free agency can be helpful in some circumstances.

But it’s not the best way to win a championship. Until someone re-trains NFL fans the way my wife is re-training Matilda, fans will continue being frustrated every time a big-name free agent signs with a team other than their own.

As a Packers fan, that’s fine with me. As an NFL fan, it’s annoying.

I’d like to see offseason discussion evolve beyond senseless bickering and 24-7 coverage over missing out on free agents. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening any time soon.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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4 Responses to “NFL Free Agency and Training my Dog”

  1. PackersRS says:

    My dog is exactly the other way around. For what’s worth.

    What’s that? Point of the article?

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  2. Pete Kliman says:

    You are absolutely right that’s why I like TT. However,when there is a great need and a player available that fills that need ; you have to pull the trigger. I’m not that worried about the center position because we can fill that through the draft. However,finding immediate help for the pass rush is another story. We tried to be thrifty last year and it failed miserably.Filling that need while drafting 28th should be interesting.

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  3. Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

    Matilda must be a Jets fan…

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  4. Zack says:

    Good article and I agree in general… with the exception of a QB. If a quality QB becomes available there should be a major sense of urgency to get that QB (if your franchise needs a franchise QB)… I understand some of you don’t believe Flynn is a good QB. That’s fine but you have to admit that he has the potential from what we’ve seen of him. Whether he can perform that way long term has yet to be seen but the quest for a franchise QB is a tough one and for the dolphins I’d still contest that he was their best chance at finding one this off season. They really dropped the ball in my opinion and now they have David Gerard… not trying to bash him simply recognize him for what he is, a good backup QB. The dolphins didn’t make a strong play for Flynn and the seahawks got him for a steal. Is he a sure thing? He’s the best bet as far as FA QB aside from manning (and there’s even an argument that he’s a better bet than manning because manning could get hurt in the first game and then there goes the 90mil that you invested in him) and they let the Seahawks sign him for chump change.(i know 7mil a year is alot of money but it’s not a lot for a starting NFL QB.) It’s not an over reaction to see dolphin fans protesting in favor of firing their GM.

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