Networks like CBS and ESPN have slurped up New England all season. Heck, when they were 1-0 they got the same amount of coverage as they do now at 13-0. The Cowboys have also been the media darlings. ESPN, which has its own resident Cowboy butt boy in Ed Werder, seems to think Tony Romo deserves mention in the same sentence as Peyton Manning. It's laughable, I know, but what else can we expect from a network that fired Gregg Easterbrook for daring to call Bill Belichick a cheater. Listen, I'm not Easterbrook fan, but his comments about Belichick undermining the credibility of the league were spot on. Press coverage for the 2007 season has really alienated many NFL fans who are, quite simply, sick of all the "undefeated" talk and all the Cowboy ball-washing. Fans know that a 16-0 season means absolutely nothing unless the Patriots win the Super Bowl, and if you know the NFL in the playoffs you know that it is very possible that NE will get beat down by a team that can run the football. Fans also know that the Cowboys play in the NFC, which is the JV conference in the NFL compared to the AFC. NE, Indy, Jacksonville, and Pittsburgh would all destroy Dallas in a Super Bowl. And let's not forget Dallas is coached by Wade Phillips, and any knowledgeable football fan knows Phillips will find some way to screw up his team's chances at winning their first playoff game, let alone a Super Bowl.
So, with all the coverage focused stupidly on New England and Dallas (the two teams "destined" to play in Super Bowl 42), it kind of makes the rest of us feel left out in the cold. And when fans feel left out in the cold, they tend to find other things to focus their attention on. Seriously, there are other interesting stories in the NFL besides NE and Dallas. Cleveland is in control of the #6 seed in the AFC.
I'll repeat that: Cleveland is in control of the #6 seed in the AFC.
This is a team that had a top 3 pick in the 2007 draft. Now, if they beat Buffalo this weekend, they will have a strong foothold on a wildcard birth. Buffalo is another team fighting for playoff life. Despite devastating injuries, the Bills fight and scrap and claw their way to wins. If they beat Cleveland this weekend, it's the Bills that are in control of the #6 seed. Meanwhile, Seattle won the West, San Diego just beat a solid Tennessee team to solidify their hold in their division, and Green Bay (who almost beat Dallas in Irving with their back-up QB) sits at 11-2.
And then, there are the World Champions. You know, the team that is 11-2 despite battling a gaggle of injuries and playing in the best division in football. The Colts have only two loses by a combined total of six points. Both those game should have been wins, but injuries and poor execution did them in. Now, the Colts are getting healthy, especially on offense. Their defense has carried them all season (Bob Sanders is the DPOY), and with the offense starting to click, it's amazing how they are getting virtually no airtime.
Injuries have also played a big part this season. Far too many high profile players were lost for either the season or significant stretches of time. So, because of these two things, the 2007 season really hasn't been a successful one for the NFL. I just get the sense, talking to many fans, that this year is a real dud. This isn't motivated by anyone's particular team doing poorly, and that poor play reflecting badly on the season. Look at my team. My guys are 10-2, and if they have to face Jacksonville or New England in the playoffs, I know they will beat the utter crap out of either team, and go on to win the Super Bowl. So, the play of my team hasn't affected my views. I just look around and see a very poorly covered league that's lost far too many good players. Many players are over-hyped (Reggie Bush, Vince Young, etc.) while others don't get the credit they deserve (David Garrard, Mario Williams, etc.) because they were not part of the initial hype machine.
It's unfortunate, and it's hurting football.