Kriens: Sports hype, reality clash

Travis Kriens

Travis KriensSports Genius

As football fans, we wait all offseason for a new season to begin. It gives us hope that this year will be the year when our favorite team finally wins it all and gives us a lifetime of memories over five short months. But then the actual games get played.

In baseball, they say that it is a “marathon,’ not a “sprint.’ In football, it is a 50-yard dash to the finish that is over before it barely began.

Only two weeks into the NFL season and you can already count out a quarter of the teams fighting for the playoffs. Since 1978, 233 teams have started the season 0-2, and only 26 were able to make the playoffs, just over 11 percent.

Two teams that fit this mold are the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings. Trendy picks to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, both Dallas and Minnesota have seen their offense disappear. Each team has one more game before an early bye week to try to get their first win or risk being the most over-hyped teams of 2010.

Meanwhile, SDSU started the season 0-2 with 0-3 all but a formality as they play at No.6 Nebraska this Saturday. This is the third time in the last five seasons that the Jacks have started 0-2, they started those two other seasons at 0-3.

It would be easy to count the Jacks out and give up on the season after two lackluster performances and the high expectations following their first playoff appearance in 30 years. However, those previous two seasons also resulted in a 7-4 record with SDSU winning seven of its last eight. With the FCS playoffs expanded this year from 16 teams to 20, SDSU could be in the discussion with another 7-4 finish.

In this day and age, fans want instant results. The players and coaches put in hundreds of hours during the offseason to get better and improve off of last season’s mistakes. Losing is hard enough, but it is even harder for it all to be for nothing before the first month is even finished.

With only one game a week, each drive of each game is examined so much by fans and critics. It’s not like baseball. In baseball, if you make a mistake you get to play again the next day to try and make up for it. Football players have to live with their shame or glory for an entire week. They get to listen to how great they are when they win or how their fans would have done it differently when they do not.

For as long as the offseason lasts and as much anticipation as there is for the kick off of a new season to get under way, the season itself may seem even longer to the teams and their fans that finish last in the sprint.