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.