I wish the media were like King Hippo in Mike Tyson's Punch-Out...punch 'em in the gut a few times, pants fall down, KO. Let me be very clear: I hate the media. I mean, how does Heath Evans have a job? Have you read the AFC East blog on ESPN? I have no idea and God, I hope not, are my answers. Sports information is not what it used to be. I used to play hookie from school just so I could watch the same episode of SportsCenter a dozen times in a row. I'd rather watch National Geographic and Honey Boo Boo now. I sincerely thank Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, Jesus, or whoever is responsible for DVR (I suppose the actual human being who created DVR should be thanked also). Without it, commercials would have been my downfall. And it just seems to get worse over time.
I never thought I'd say this, but: please talk about Tim Tebow and stop talking about the Dolphins! The media, from news to advertising, rely on spectacle, simplification and exaggeration to grab and hold audiences. The Dolphins fall into that "exaggeration" category and it's starting to make me feel very uncomfortable and, well, cynical. Is it weird to think that a media endorsement is a jinx on the Dolphins outcomes this season?!?! As much as I love my team, and I probably have a more optimistic and lofty outlook on this season than most...but when Bucky Brooks and James Walker are jumping on board, it kind of makes me cringe. Even the more subtle media analysts have Miami as the "closest challenger" to the Patriots in the AFC East. Ryan Tannehill is the next up-and-coming QB according to at least 5 media outlets. EVERY SINGLE ANALYST who writes about the NFL or AFC East has the Dolphins in the salutatorian position behind the valedictorian Patriots, and some of them think the Dolphins can raise the grade just enough to unseat the geeky Massholes. I don't know about you, but it makes me worry and shake my head. Most of me knows that the Dolphins deserve to be in that breath, but most of me also knows that the media is usually stupid. It's hard to reconcile.
I would much prefer to fly under the radar than be basking in the spotlight. There's something about teams and players that play with a chip on their shoulder that promotes outcomes over expectations. Being in the spotlight can have that opposite effect. I know we haven't been handed anything, but we are expected to make the playoffs and strongly contend for the AFC East division. What happens, based on these expectations, if we lose to the Browns? What if we open up 1-4 before the bye? Teams sometimes respond to the pressure, and other crumble and point the finger. It's impossible to tell how the 2013 Miami Dolphins will respond, but I hate being in the position in the first place. Every amateur psychologist knows about the self-fulfilling prophecy, but every amateur psychologist also knows the dangers of falling short of a goal and feeling the subsequent pressure. As the old adage goes: pressure is what turns a piece of coal into a diamond. Pressure also causes you to shit your pants. Where do the young 2013 Miami Dolphins stand on this spectrum? Only time will tell. The media isn't making it easy on us. Eventually, we were going to have to rise up, win games, and be expected to make Playoff runs. My worry is not that we have expectations, it's that the media is helping define them, in fact, embracing them. I don't want the media talking about us until December!
Most of the time (pretty much my whole life), I am clamoring for every tidbit of information about the Dolphins, because it's usually lackadaisical at best. This time around, I wish the media would just shut up. The Dolphins are too trendy for my taste. My only hope is that we play with a chip on our shoulder despite all the media elevation. And frankly, I don't like how the media is predicting the Patriots downfall either. The last thing we need to win a division crown for the first time in a long time is to play an angry and motivated Patriots team. Just let sleeping dogs lie. And quit blowing sunshine up our ass. The combination of the two (promoting the Dolphins while demoting the Patriots) is like Alpha and an underage (insert ANY animal species here): it's bad news, friends.
About two months ago I felt like we had the pieces in place to overtake the AFC East division THIS year. Now that the media is on board (or at least a healthy percentage of them), I'm starting to backpedal. And it's for no other reason other than the media is usually wrong in their predictions. I love my team...not so sure that I want the media feeling the same way. Let's hope the team stays focused, ignores the hype, keeps their nose down (and out of trouble), studies the playbook, meshes together, and rises to the occasion. I sure wish the media would shut the hell up...you will go to sleep, or I will put you to sleep. You're in my world now, media. (Easy "rec" goes to the person who identifies the movie I was playing off of in those last two sentences).
But in all seriousness, I think the biggest obstacle we have in reaching our lofty goals is not our chemistry, our talent, our schemes, or our schedule. It's how we deal with the expectations of being anything other than mediocre. If we rise to the occasion, then I believe we can have sustained, long-term success...for if we do it this year, the following year will undoubtedly have the same expectations, and then there would be no reason to doubt our ability to meet our goals since we will have the same nucleus and already proved ourself. However, if we do not rise to the occasion, I'm afraid of what might happen. And the media is only contributing to the frenzy. If it were just we the fans coming up with the expectations or just the guys in the locker room, it would have an altogether different feel. But when the national media is in our corner, ugh, I don't know what to think.
What do you guys think?