Saturday, November 10, 2007

Don't look ahead...

When the National Football League season was announced last spring, there was much sadness among fans of the Buffalo Bills. Fans looked over the week-by-week lineup and said the Bills looked like a candidate to capture the first overall draft choice for the spring of 2008.

Then a funny thing happened. Teams started to play games.

Here we are at the midpoint of the season in Buffalo, and the Bills are 4-4. They aren't going to the Super Bowl, but they are on the fringes of playoff contention. So what happened?

People used the 2006 as a way of predicting what would happen in 2007. And that never works. Teams go up and down the ladder quickly these days, what with injuries, free agent movement, etc.

In the Bills' case, Buffalo has beaten the Jets twice. New York was a playoff team last year and looked too strong for the Bills in April. Now the Jets don't look too strong for anyone, except for maybe the Dolphins and Rams. The Bills also beat a weakened Ravens team, playing without its starting quarterback and some other key people, and a Bengals team that seems to have an arrest every few days (I exaggerate, but not much). That puts Buffalo at 4-4, and it hasn't even played the Dolphins yet.

I know football fans need something to do in the spring -- witness the popularity of the run-up to the NFL draft, even though one trade can change the entire mock draft order -- but let's keep the ups and downs of teams from year-to-year in mind before writing off a season.