The times, they sure are a changing. Growing up in the 80's it was a bad thing to be labeled a nerd. So bad actually they made movies about the revenge they would get when they ruled the world and boy have they ever. Many of the four eyed, pencil pushing, book worms that the jocks and cool kids tortured back in the day are now some of the most successful and wealthiest people on the planet. While many of the popular individuals peaked in high school, many of the nerds blossom once they reached the private sector.
Although I have always loved sports and was an athlete, I also have some nerd like tendencies. I excelled in school, loved math, enjoyed writing, and liked to read, especially Marvel comics. This was very nerd like behavior back in my day, but not anymore. Everybody loves anything Marvel nowdays, whether it be their movies, video games, or comics.
Another guilty nerdy pleasure growing up was syfy. Everybody was a fan of Star Wars or Star Trek, maybe both, but you had to have a favorite. Now science fiction movies and series are more popular than ever, whether it's Fox Network's The Orville or Netflix hit show Stranger Things.
I gave you a little backstory in hopes that it would help explain my current dilemma. I really think I am trapped in the Upside Down World from Stranger Things. For those unfamiliar with the series, the best way I can describe the show is imagine the kids from the Goonies movie join the cast of the X-Files series. Now in the show there is a alternate parallel universe called the Upside Down World, where everything is messed up and doesn't make sense. If you haven't seen the show I realize my simplistic description probably doesn't paint an vivid mental picture, but that's all I have to offer at the moment.
I have been watching ESPN and the NFL Network lately trying to keep up with all the free agency transactions. As you already know, it has been a wild ride of record setting contracts and mind blowing trades. However, the size of the contracts and the magnitude of the trades isn't the reason I fear I am in a parallel universe. It is because of the statements and predictions being made by the expert panels and guests.
Since the turn of the century, four NFL franchises have won multiple Super Bowls. Current champions, the New England Patriots, just won their sixth title. All six have been this century and ties them with the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl titles all time. The Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, and the Baltimore Ravens have each won two titles in that time frame. That's the list. Out of the last 18 Super Bowls, those four franchises have won 12 of them. Quite the impressive feat for those franchises and worthy of respect one would think. If so, one would be dead wrong.
Suddenly, the New York Jets are going to challenge the New England Patriots because of some high priced talents they acquired in free agency, such as Le'Veon Bell and CJ Mosley. I understand the concept. That is what free agency is for, to provide each franchise with the opportunity to build their team and compete for a championship. If that's not the goal then what's the purpose? I just find it funny these experts try to sell the idea that a team led by a second year QB, a RB coming back from a yearlong self imposed sabbatical, little receiver talents to speak of, and more holes in the roster than a pack of swiss cheese are ready to compete for the AFC East title. The Patriots own that division and I can't imagine that changing as long as Tommy Boy and Hoodie Bill patrol their sideline, with or without Gronk. For heavens sake, the Jets haven't won a Super Bowl since Broadway Joe was wearing pantyhose.
At least the Jets have won a Super Bowl. The media darlings Cleveland Browns have never won a Super Bowl, they haven't ever even played in one. But if you listen to the prognosticators the Browns are odds on favorites to win the AFC North, with the AFC title and Super Bowl sure to follow. That's great, any team that has had a top three pick pretty much every year in the NFL draft since the turn of the century should be ready to improve, and heaven knows the Cleveland faithful have been patient. I just find it somewhat disrespectful to immediately write off the Steelers and the Ravens, two proven winners, and annoint the anything but proven Browns as the class of the division. The Browns have added some talented individuals to their roster lately, that is true. However, they are a volatile group of explosive personalities that have yet to take the field together. To paraphrase the late Dennis Green, "You can crown their a** if you want to." but it remains to be seen if "They are who we thought they were."
Finally, the so called experts were taking the New York Giants to task for trading away the seemingly irreplaceable OBJ. They accused the Giants of having no plan for the future. They made them sound like the new version of the Cleveland Browns. But here's a thought for you. What if the Giants paid close attention to the AB situation as it played out and realized they very well could have been next with OBJ. Move the problem child before he has the chance to destroy his trade value. In foresight, that would be a brilliant move. It's not like they were going to win anything with him anytime soon.
Hopefully now you can understand my confusion. I turn on the tv and see AB looking normal again, acting all humble, hugging Derek Carr, and proclaiming that he leads by example. The Raiders are suddenly a hot commodity. I must be in an upside down world.