You know? There's been far too much depressing shit going on over here for what seems like far too long lately. This team has many times in its history tested my ability to continue with a rooting interest in their success. I've truly invested all of my being in this squad for as long as I can remember. I mean, I still look at the picture of me with Dan Fouts when I was four at my mom's house with fondness and wonder. I look at my old autographs and behave like a juvenile little child still to this day. I'm a fucking full grown adult. What's wrong with me?
Nearly two years ago I halfheartedly quit the football team. That New England debacle in January on our field sent me off of the wagon. It took me all of last season to muster up the ability to care about the team again. I didn't want the letdowns to plague me anymore. The team didn't feel familiar to me and the people running the team I was not particularly fond of. It wasn't difficult to put a little distance between us. I walked around knowing full well that the season would be a failure and that only winning football games would surprise me. So of course, when they got their act together and strung together victory after victory and then left the playoffs a tremendous disappointment yet again, I wasn't surprised. I was just sad. Sad that it happened. Sad that it happened again. Sad that it was further cementing our legacy as a failed squad.
Enter 2008. Expectations for the squad still at all time highs. Fan loyalty brimming with confidence. Super Bowl talk dominated the offseason national landscape. Everyone was on board with Bolts. It was nearly a foregone conclusion that this year, this was our year. I wanted more than anyone to believe. I even think I tried to convince myself that I believed. Yet nothing really has changed. Yes, I know there are injuries, Shawne, LTD, Antonio, everyone is seemingly hurt. But this team was sold to us by A.J. who had built the depth of the squad through the draft and he is a damned genius so Super Bowl be ours. They told us about the depth of the team so often, that it's amazing to me that it's so quickly forgotten now. If not for injuries it's for schemes, the defense isn't effective but Teddy isn't doing anything differently than he did last year, and I'd agree. He's doing nothing differently than he did in the series of losses that mounted up last year. And well, let's not forget the head man in charge, he of the losing regular season record, a legacy of disappointment in Oakland, and I'd rather not even repeat some of the good things they say about Norv in Washington.
What now? What now fellas? I'd almost pay to hear Mr. Canepa weigh in on the subject of the worst pass defense in the league, an ineffective at best running game, and the overall continuing lack of leadership that permeates the organization from top to bottom. Suffice to say that all stadium issues aside (Good Luck Spanos, with that publicly funded job now.) that there are issues are slightly more prevalent. I'd run down the list for the umpteenth time in this space, but really, I don't have the desire, and you probably don't want to hear it.
Funny thing is, I don't feel as awful as I have in the past as a reaction to the crushing disappointment. It feels so familiar to me anymore, you know, the leadership gaffes, the disappointing play, the familiar underachieving, all of it. I'm hardly even surprised it's happening yet again. I didn't even care to watch the afternoon session of the NFL yesterday. I took a walk instead.
I've made that halfhearted attempt to quit this team in the past. I don't think that will happen again. I don't want to quit on purpose. But it's slipping away, a legacy of disappointment and failure and loss after loss after loss in big situations adds up. At some point it will become insurmountable. I find that I just won't allow myself to care that much anymore and it's taking less effort than ever.
Perhaps this is the wake up call the team needs. Perhaps this is the point in which the season turns itself around and everything comes up platinum roses. There is still a lot of football to play and the division is surely not out of reach. Just color me a bit skeptical that this tiger can change its stripes when it's shown no propensity to do that, well, ever.