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National Football League
Draft King Analysis

September 14, 2011
Lou Pickney,

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What was feared yesterday came true, with Steelers right offensive tackle Willie Colon going on injured reserve yesterday after having surgery on a torn triceps muscle in his right arm. It was nice to finally read which arm was injured; on Monday I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to hunt down that information. I tried Google news searches, sports blogs, even Steelers message boards... but no dice. It's like when a player tears the ACL in one of his knees and the report lists "he tore his ACL" as if he has only one. This might be nit-picking, but it's relevant information that is all-too-often left out.

Noteworthy out of week one: the only incumbent teams (meaning the same HC, OC, and QB) to lose were those facing other incumbent teams. This didn't happen by chance; with such a limited off-season, teams with continuity entered the 2011 season at a distinct advantage. Take a look at the results:

GB (yes) over New Orleans (yes)
Houston (yes) over Indianapolis (new QB)
Jacksonville (new QB) over Tennessee (new HC/OC/QB)
Baltimore (yes) over Pittsburgh (yes)
Chicago (yes) over Atlanta (yes)
Cincinnati (new OC/QB) over Cleveland (new HC/OC)
Buffalo (yes) over Kansas City (yes)
Philadelphia (yes) over St. Louis (new OC)
Detroit (yes) over Tampa Bay (yes)
Arizona (new QB) over Carolina (new HC/OC/QB)
San Diego (yes) over Minnesota (new HC/OC/QB)
San Francisco (new HC/OC) over Seattle (new OC/QB)
Washington (yes) over NY Giants (yes)
NY Jets (yes) over Dallas (new HC)
New England (new OC*) over Miami (new OC)
Oakland (new HC/OC) over Denver (new HC/OC)

I put the asterisk next to New England since, while they did hire a new offensive coordinator for 2011, they didn't even have one in 2009 or 2010, and in reality Bill Belichick is the one calling the shots on offense for the Patriots.

Remember though that the NFL is an overall very balanced league, with the pursuit of parity being a time-honored tradition dating back to the early days where large market owners were willing to share national television contract revenue equally with small market franchises. This is why a franchise in Green Bay, Wisconsin in the midst of the worst recession in many, many years was able to be financially viable and have a team strong enough to win the Super Bowl in the 2010 season.

I mention this because it's easy to overreact after the first week of action: that's another time-honored NFL tradition. Clearly some of the great teams are still great, while others have regressed. To me, the Colts in 2011 vs. the Colts in 2010 reveals just how truly valuable Peyton Manning was/is to that franchise. I believed in 2010 that Peyton Manning deserved to be the NFL MVP; Tom Brady might have been the MOP if such an award existed, but there's is a difference between most valuable and most outstanding that is, unfortunately, lost on many who follow the NFL.


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