The bright (and dark) sides of this NFL season   

Updated: September 6, 2007, 6:19 PM ET

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NFL fans are divided into two groups this time of year: optimists who believe this is the year their favorite team goes all the way, and pessimists who fear the season will consist of loss after loss.

Every fan, regardless of rooting interest, falls into one of those two categories at the beginning of September. (Except for Eagles fans. They are arrogant and resigned to failure at the same time.)

Here's how the optimistic and pessimistic fans view their teams as the 2007 season is set to begin.

NFC EAST

Terrell Owens

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

T.O., were you watching the same game as us?

Dallas Cowboys

Optimistic Fan: "If our quarterbacks coach is on HGH, just imagine what our players are on!"
Pessimistic Fan: "The team will not be able to overcome the distraction of Terrell Owens not creating a distraction."

New York Giants

Optimistic Fan: "Eli Manning is finally starting to show some leadership. His stamp will be all over this 4-12 team."
Pessimistic Fan: "I have a feeling that Tiki Barber is going to lead the team in rushing again."

Philadelphia Eagles

Optimistic Fan: "I don't know if the team will be any good, but maybe this is the year we can beat a Cowboys fan to death in the stands."
Pessimistic Fan: "I won't be the one who delivers the fatal blow."

Washington Redskins

Optimistic Fan: "Last year was nothing but a blip, an anomaly, in the coaching career of Joe Gibbs. Same with the year before that. And the year before that."
Pessimistic Fan: "Our star running back is injured and may be a transvestite."

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears

Optimistic Fan: "We're going back to the Super Bowl! As long as the NFC continues to really, really, really, really, really, really, really stink, of course."
Pessimistic Fan: "Not only can't we win with Rex Grossman at quarterback, it's not even safe to go to games anymore with all the errant passes flying into the stands."

Detroit Lions

Optimistic Fan: "We're going to record our most wins all decade. Here we come, 7-9!"
Pessimistic Fan: "Even Calvin Johnson isn't worth cutting an eye hole out of the paper bag I have on my head."

Green Bay Packers

Optimistic Fan: "Since the Packers are a publicly owned team, maybe I have the authority to cut Brett Favre."
Pessimistic Fan: "If this team had a face, it would be A.J. Hawk's."

Minnesota Vikings

Optimistic Fan: "No one's ever heard of anyone on our team. That means we'll be tough to develop a game plan against."
Pessimistic Fan: "A few of the Vikings invited my girlfriend to a boat party."

NFC SOUTH

Joey Harrington

AP Photo/John Bazemore

Atlanta fans will surely be delighted by Joey Harrington's play this season.

Atlanta Falcons

Optimistic Fan: "The only thing new quarterback Joey Harrington ever killed is his new teammates, with hilarious tales of what it was like to play for the Detroit Lions."
Pessimistic Fan: "Not only will we be bad, but the home halftime shows will be a lot more boring without the dogfights."

Carolina Panthers

Optimistic Fan: "I might walk in on two of our cheerleaders in the bathroom."
Pessimistic Fan: "They will be going to the bathroom."

New Orleans Saints

Optimistic Fan: "We're going to the Super Bowl, and with all the media coverage that will receive, perhaps FEMA will hear that we were hit by a hurricane two years ago and send some help."
Pessimistic Fan: "Our defense is so bad I think we should trade Reggie Bush for Mario Williams."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Optimistic Fan: "Jon Gruden will duct-tape together Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Bruce Gradkowski and Chris Simms to form one slightly above-average quarterback."
Pessimistic Fan: "We're so awful that I might storm the Raymond James Stadium pirate ship and fire on the team."

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals

Optimistic Fan: "Matt Leinart will treat opposing defenses like a bastard son."
Pessimistic Fan: "The Cardinals are who we think they are."

Seattle Seahawks

Optimistic Fan: "I am the 12th Man! I am valued by the team! They totally see me as their friend and not some faceless, nameless seat-filler who can be roped in with trite marketing efforts!"
Pessimistic Fan: "Shaun Alexander is past his prime. At least I hope so, because I passed him up in my fantasy draft."

San Francisco 49ers

Optimistic Fan: "At the end of the year, Alex Smith will be holding the Lombardi Trophy in his delicate little hands."
Pessimistic Fan: "Mike Nolan likes to wear dark suits on the field because leading this team is like attending the funeral of his coaching career."

St. Louis Rams

Optimistic Fan: "Not only are we playoff-bound, but Georgia Frontiere is the hottest owner in the NFL. We should be renamed the St. Louis Cougars."
Pessimistic Fan: "That swirl pattern on our helmets? It's not horns. It's a vortex of suck-itude that we are getting pulled into deeper and deeper every year."

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills

Optimistic Fan: "This is the year J.P. Losman finally puts it all together. He will become as great as Jim Kelly. And maybe even as great as theoretical Rob Johnson."
Pessimistic Fan: "This is the year J.P. Losman finally puts it all together. And I mean a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of ponies, because he's going to have a lot of free time on his hands after getting released."

Miami Dolphins

Optimistic Fan: "Trent Green has forgotten more about football than most NFL quarterbacks ever knew. No, seriously -- that hit he took last year made him forget pretty much everything."
Pessimistic Fan: "This team is going to lose. A lot. And it will be hard to keep morale up without the mellow contact high Ricky Williams provided."

New England Patriots

Optimistic Fan: [Something loud, annoying and boastful, but ultimately indecipherable because it was said with a thick Boston accent. Possibly a New Kids On The Block lyric.]
Pessimistic Fan: "We don't get any respect. Everyone talks about Barry Bonds as the biggest HGH cheater. What about Rodney Harrison? He has won two championships. Bonds has won none. That's so disrespectful."

Eric Mangini

AP Photo/Tom Mihalek

Will Eric Mangini look like a genius in Year 2?

New York Jets

Optimistic Fan: "Nothing is better than Mangenius! No, I said Man-GENIUS, not Man-GI … look, I'm not into that, OK? Pervert."
Pessimistic Fan: "The Patriots added Adalius Thomas, Randy Moss, Donte' Stallworth, Wes Welker and about 14 other good players. We added a Bears running back who very well may be a carrier of whatever Rex Grossman has."

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens

Optimistic Fan: "This is the year our offense finally reaches its potential. We're coming for you, 50-yard line!"
Pessimistic Fan: "We're screwed if Roger Goodell decides to apply his discipline policy to crimes committed prior to his tenure."

Cincinnati Bengals

Optimistic Fan: "A Bengals player told me the team is looking good while he was robbing me this morning."
Pessimistic Fan: "Marvin Lewis doesn't know a thing about defense. Criminal defense, maybe. But not football defense."

Cleveland Browns

Optimistic Fan: "With Brady Quinn in the fold, we're going in the right direction. Now we just need to get the service academies added to our schedule."
Pessimistic Fan: "Right when our offense finally starts clicking, I bet Kellen Winslow gets deployed back to Iraq."

Pittsburgh Steelers

Optimistic Fan: "No team has reached the Super Bowl with a white head coach in more than 19 months."
Pessimistic Fan: "Although the line was discontinued in 1996, there are still more than 10,000 Chrysler New Yorkers on American highways."

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans

Optimistic Fan: "The David Carr Era is over. It's time for a new soul-crushing era to begin."
Pessimistic Fan: "If I'm not mistaken, all of our offensive linemen have at least one prosthetic limb."

Indianapolis Colts

Optimistic Fan: "We're a good bet to repeat, and Peyton Manning has agreed to film a commercial promoting my garage sale next weekend."
Pessimistic Fan: "Our starting quarterback shares DNA with Eli Manning."

Jacksonville Jaguars

Optimistic Fan: "Hi. I'm Jacksonville's optimistic fan. We have one other fan. He is pessimistic. You will be hearing from him right after me."
Pessimistic Fan: "I think the team will struggle to adjust to Byron Leftwich not being out there. They're used to playing without him for 14 games, not 16."

Vince Young

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

We're guessing Vince Young's done battling with teammates now.

Tennessee Titans

Optimistic Fan: "Vince Young is going to redefine the quarterback position just like Michael Vick. Only Young fights teammates, not dogs."
Pessimistic Fan: "You know that movie 'Remember The Titans'? That fictional team full of child actors had better receivers than we do."

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos

Optimistic Fan: "Jay Cutler will be the greatest quarterback ever. The only thing I worry about is that in the thin Denver air, he might accidentally throw a ball right out of Earth's atmosphere."
Pessimistic Fan: "Travis Henry is going to impregnate my wife."

Kansas City Chiefs

Optimistic Fan: "This may be the Brodie Croyle-esque bangs hanging in front of my eyes blocking my vision, but I see us making the playoffs this year."
Pessimistic Fan: "HBO will approach the Chiefs about doing a comedy special about the 2007 season."

Oakland Raiders

Optimistic Fan: "JaMarcus Russell didn't throw an interception all preseason!"
Pessimistic Fan: "I'm in my mid-40s, I dress like a 10-year-old on Halloween and I root for one of the worst franchises in all of sports. I shouldn't just be pessimistic. I should be suicidal."

San Diego Chargers

Optimistic Fan: "This team is right on the cusp of greatness. All we need is -- what are those guys way out on the outside that run out of Antonio Gates' way? Wide receivers? Yeah, wide receivers. All we need to do is get one or two of those wide receiver guys some year and we'll be unstoppable."
Pessimistic Fan: "The weather's great, the surf's up, we've got the best player in football -- what do I have to be pessimistic about? What? We hired Norv Turner? Oh, #&*$!"

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN the Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book – "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck" – is on sale now.


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2007 NFL PREVIEW

In our 2007 preview, 'Secrets of The Game," we take you inside the NFL, with stories on the playbook, video preparation and a peek at Peyton Manning's passing camp.

THE BASICS

• Team-by-team previews, more
• Power rankings: Pats clear No.1
• For your ears only: SB predictions, more
• Our experts' picks... | ...and yours

SPORTSNATION

•  Vote: And the Super Bowl teams will be...
•  Vote: NFL 101 | Week 1 Pick 'em
•  Rank 'em: Teams | MVP favorites | QBs

DAY 1: Mystery of the playbook

• The NFL's sacred diary of trust
• Scouts Inc on go-to plays: AFC | NFC
• Inside an '04 playbook | 10 pages from it (PDF)
• Playbook stories: Lost, found, confused
• Pasquarelli: How different are they?
• For your ears only: Talking X's, O's
• Scout-speak: A glossary

DAY 2: Tales of the tape

•  Breaking down the game with Matt Hasselbeck
•  How teams collect, dissect video
•  Merril Hoge's all-game tape team
•  Film room: 'Holy land' of the NFL
•  Video: Hoge, EA Sports on tape study
•  Future film study could be like video game
•  Clayton: Five sleeper teams
•  Scouts Inc.: 10 unnoticed contributors
•  Jeremy Green: What I learn from tape Insider

DAY 3: Inside Manning's passing camp

•  Behind the scenes with Manning & Co.
•  Football joy at Manning Passing Academy
•  Milestones: Favre, others approach marks in '07
•  Brett Favre Zoom gallery
•  Scouts Inc: 5 passers of near future
•  Scouts Inc: 5 passers of distant future

...and in ESPN The Magazine

Season preview: NFL players spend the entire offseason looking forward to September. Then poof! A star QB (hi, Mike) is indicted and a marquee DT blows out his knee (that's gotta hurt, Booger). Winning the Super Bowl isn't easy. Ask LT, who's trusting his my-way-is-the-only-way GM to take him all the way.
On newsstands Wed., Aug. 29

...and on ESPN

Watch the season debut of the award-winning "Sunday NFL Countdown" on Sept. 9 at 11 a.m. (ET).