My grandpa was a very wise man. He taught me lots of life lessons.
"Patience is a virtue, sure, but unless you get me a beer in the next minute, I’ll lose my buzz."
One can surmise a couple of things from this tender lesson:
1. My grandpa probably didn’t own sleeves.
2. My grandpa probably spent a lot of time cruising around town on a riding mower, seeing as how the state took ownership of his license.
You’d be right in assuming that both of the above statements are true. My grandpa had a beautiful Frankenmower, a homemade grass devouring monster that needed to be filled up more frequently than Honey Boo-Boo’s oversized gullet. You could regularly see him terrorizing the sidewalks of our small southern Illinois town. He would constantly complain about what the "sumbitches" at the state did to him, and how one day he’d be behind the wheel of that beautiful Grand Marquis that was sitting in the garage. He could hardly wait. What does this have to do with football? I’ll get there. My grandpa had his license suspended for a year. He never once drove his car in that time. Would it have been easy to? Sure. He could’ve gotten away with it. But he was a man who knew the value of patience. He knew that his year of mower-dom would make him appreciate the leather interior, the V-8, the 8 track deck, and the freedom of the open road. For him, the process was worth it. Were there smarter men? Absolutely. Wiser men? That could be debated.
We, as a fan base have to remain patient. We’ve been starving for so long, that the 7-8-1 record is a hamburger to a fan base that’s hungry for filet mignon. Is it tasty? Absolutely. Is it the last meal you’d request on death row? Probably not. Stay patient.
This next year is important, to be sure…not just for the franchise, but for the future of Sam Bradford, the city of St. Louis, The EJD, and the fact that I’ve really perfected the Rod Stewart karaoke songbook in anticipation of getting on American Idol.
This is the year guys.
My point is this: Let’s say that Sam’s numbers progress similarly how they have so far in his career, he’d throw for approximately 60%, just shy of 4000 yards, 25 tds, 10 picks, and a QB rating of close to 90. Let’s suppose that we have a runner (whomever it may be) step up and surpass 1000 yards and 8 tds. Presume our defense stays where it was this year, a high pressure, bend but don’t break, hard hitting unit. With all of those assumptions in place, I ask a question.
Is the natural progression of Sam with a steady running game and stout defense enough to get to the playoffs in the NFC, specifically the NFC west? This year we have a tough out of division schedule (yet again), and play in a division with two of the better teams in the conference. Is it enough? Looking at the financial/personnel situations of the 49ers and Seahawks we can only assume that they’ll stay where they are, if not get better…barring injuries, of course.
This is all hypothesizing here, but let’s say that the braintrust decides to shed some of the heftier contracts (Mikell, SJ, Hunter, the Dahls, Hunter, etc.) and replace them with younger, cheaper alternatives to develop. If they do that, and we take a step back record-wise, to 6-10 or 5-11, will we be okay with that? Can we, as a fan base see the forest for the trees? Would we accept 2013 as a year of getting younger and better in hopes of a sustained playoff run in the coming years? Was 2012 that year to you? Is the time now?
I hope so. I remember the look on my grandpa’s face when he fired up the Grand Marquis for the first time after getting his license back. We got in the car, and with a Johnny Cash 8-track playing, and a smile on his face, my grandpa drove right to the local liquor store for a sixer. He enjoyed that car ride because he’d been patient enough living without it.
Maybe he was just a drunk. Oh well.