Tonight’s Phinsider Question Of The Day is whatever happened to the honeymoon for new players entering the NFL that we and the players used to enjoy? And by honeymoon, I am speaking of years past, long past now, when diehard NFL fans understood that if you drafted a guy he was very unlikely to light up the world from day one. Running backs can usually make an impact right from the start but with time and further understanding even they improve as their career moves on barring injuries and really any position is a possible first-year big impact player if that player is just phenomenally talented and just happens to have the “it factor”. But sometimes those kids that come out like gangbusters in year one just seem to fall off a cliff in year two or three and never make it back to what they were in year one let alone what the fan base at one point believed they had. Rookies of the year sometimes just wind up as busts in the long run and the guy that no one even noticed in year one is the one that winds up in the hall of fame. Thus is the difficult dynamic of picking the right guys in the draft. Even the very best NFL GM’s have epic fails somewhere along the way.
Then there are those guys that come in with all the fanfare of a new baby in your family and they struggle. They struggle to understand the more complicated systems in the NFL, the struggle to catch up to the speed of the game in the NFL, and/or they just struggle physically to master the more advanced techniques of playing in the NFL as well as being able to read offenses and defenses and knowing their particular assignment based on these. Some, for whatever reason never do get it. They bounce around the league for a few years if they are lucky and then they are either out of the league and selling cars or show up on the crappy pre-pre-game show for the actual pre-game show on Sundays. Then there are those that after two or three seasons if they have had the good luck to be with the same coaches or at least in the same system, turn out to be either good to great players. Then there are the players that struggle like hell with their first team, are labeled busts, just flat out eventually cut by their drafting team or traded for a sack of peanuts, and then burst onto the scene as one of the very best at their position. I lost count of how many times this has happened to our very own Miami Dolphins.
But back to the question of the day. Why are fans these days so ready to write a player off after just their first season? The player could be coming in from a basic system and never seen anything as complicated as what the NFL serves up. Fans don’t care, if you struggle you’re a bust! The player is coming off a near career-ending injury? Fans don’t care....he's a bust! Maybe he just flat out struggles as many rookies do but he was the first or second-round pick, sorry, you're a bust buddy!
So why is it that fans have turned this ugly corner where we feel that a guy can go out, sometimes in as few as one or two games, perhaps struggle, as anyone being honest might expect, and yet still label them a bust? What has caused this? Is it the world that we live in where you can have anything you want in the blink of an eye? Hell, I can get online and order an 82-inch television, and Amazon will bring it to me within an hour or two and in some cases take it out of the box, hook it up and even mount it on the wall for me. Worst case scenario I can have nearly anything delivered to me the next day and it’s oftentimes free for the service of getting it to me so quickly. Is it the Madden effect that so many point to, where younger fans who have for years been obsessed with the game sometimes see the NFL as just a live extension of the game they play on their television or computer year-round instead of the other way around? Is it as some have claimed that the younger generations just expect everything and anything right now if it’s what they want? I don’t see that in my own kid who is in his mid 20’s or any of his friends who for the most part all work full time while also going to school, but I have seen it in that generation at times but also in my generation and my parent's generation so I dismiss that as the usual it’s them, not us blame game that society always plays between the different generations.
So what is it that you think has changed and changed the way fans see the game and the expectations that the fans seem to have of young or rookie players versus in the past? Give us your thoughts below!
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