One of the quickest and most consistent lessons that a fresh NFL season teaches us is that crowning champs after a single week is a quick and easy way to look a fool. Any man who places his bets based on what he witnesses in Week 1 typically ends up watching his hard-earned cash go towards paying the casino electric bill.
Alas, here we are, at the end of the NFL Week 2 set of games, and conclusions can now be made. The future Super Bowl Champions haven't revealed themselves quite yet, mind you, but some teams have already proven they aren't even up for the task of being in the conversation.
In nature, the sick and the weak tend to be the first in a herd to get picked off. So too is the reality of the NFL and its compact 16-game-regular-season. No 0-2 team has made the playoffs the past three seasons. In fact, since the NFL expanded the postseason to 12 teams in 1990, just 12 percent of the 0-2 teams have made the playoffs. And while any arrogant New Yorker can remind any moron silly enough to listen that their 2007 New York Giants recovered from an 0-2 start to bring home the greatest upset in Super Bowl history, in actuality no team without a victory at this point in the season is going to lift the Lombardi trophy.
Seriously, fans of these teams will get more enjoyment this autumn by stalking the twitter feeds of the NHLPA lawyers hoping for lock-out updates. Psychiatrists who find themselves within these cities limits would be wise to raise their hourly fees. Season ticket holders can confidently discard any "playoff ticket deposit requests" they likely received in the mail sometime in the middle of August, and begin counting the days to the 2013 NFL Draft in April. Your team will be pickin' early.
Some of the early victims are no brainers. The Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars never had any real shot at contention, unless you're the type that believes in Santa Claus or that Paul Ryan ran a sub three-hour marathon. There's not enough duct tape in the world to fix what's wrong with these three stooge franchises, though all three fanbases have reason for optimism in the near future... if only because they have nowhere to go but up (or in Jacksonville's case, west).
The demise of two other 0-2 teams, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans, won't be remembered as tremendous shockers, but most certainly as head-scratchers. Kansas City entered the season optimistic that a season of good health would produce better results, an optimism that has now proven undeserved. Matt Cassel hasn't been horrible, per say, but it has been four seasons since they brought Tom Brady's back-up in and it's reasonable to suspect this roster is ripe for significant turnover.
The Titans, meanwhile, have been suffering from a plethora of different factors, none more inexplicable than the sudden demise of running back Chris Johnson. The former Pro Bowler has made Vince Young's fall-from-grace appear gradual. The only thing comparable in the history of sports would be when a group of cartoon aliens stole the talent of four NBA All-Stars (and Shawn Bradley) in the thrilling historical documentary Space Jam.
Worth noting: Tennessee had the unfortunate destiny of facing New England in Week One, followed by a trip to San Diego for "Junior Seau Day." With Detroit and Houston up next, the Music City Men will be lucky to enter October with a victory, and there's little reason to blame them.
New Orleans seems the only winless team with even a slither of hope, a slither based solely on pedigree and recent history. Fans of the Browns, Chiefs, Raiders, Jaguars and Titans have had little to cheer for the past handful of years, whereas the Saints have been the NFL's ultimate feel-good story. Powered by a high-flying, spread-it-around offense and an (allegedly) cash-enhanced defense, the Saints have been amongst the NFL's elite for a half-dozen seasons, which stands alone as reason enough to believe they can force themselves off the mat.
But they won't. This team is coach-less and GM-less, an equation that has resulted in them being win-less. Losing to a mediocre-at-best Washington Redskins team and a division rival only deepens the hole. Not helping matters is the reality that the Saints are the only... only... team in their entire conference without a victory. Sometimes, when it's you-against-the-world, the world ends up winning big time.
Sure, one is allowed to continue on, to root and hope and pray for some inspirational turnaround. Sports are a funny thing. The Charlotte Bobcats could make the NBA playoffs, the NHL could end the lockout, and Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz could co-author a dieting book together called Getting Slim With The Jim's. Anything could happen. Just ask the Giants.
Each team has 14 games to go, so if you believe in things like "numbers" and "math," then yes, you may trick yourself into believing your two-loss team has a chance. But you'd be wrong. So please, use your Sundays for something more productive. Start training for that marathon you keep telling your bud's you're going to run. Go see one of your kid's soccer games. Re-organize your collection of LOST DVDs. And stay warm this harsh winter by repeating over and over again the greatest four words in the existence of sports fandom...
There's always next year.