What a fun adventure Sunday in the NFL has become.
Now, I realize there are those among us--the Packer fans of Vince Lombardi, those who worship Bill Belichick and the almost perfect Patriots of a couple of years back, and Don Shula and the '72 Dolphins who were perfect through the course of the season--who shudder at the thought that there apparently is no dominant team in the NFL.
Even, going into this week, the 6-2 Giants were considered the class of the NFC, before New York was shredded by the formerly 1-7 Cowboys, 33-20, in just another of a series of Sunday head scratchers.
This week the Bills finally won their first game, beating the Lions, who are 2-7. Last week, the now 7-2 Jets beat the Lions, in overtime, and this week, those same Jets won their seventh game beating the 3-6 Browns on the last play of overtime, 26-20 (the clock ran out before the point after could be converted).
Who have the Browns beat then? Ok, we will give them the 2-7 Bengals, but how about the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, at 6-3, or the strong looking 6-2 New England Patriots, who will match up later tonight (Sunday, or last night at press time) against Pittsburgh, also 6-2.
So, the Browns are 3-6, but who beat the Steelers? Well, the Ravens who are 6-3, but who lost to Atlanta last Thursday 26-21, and those Patriots who were beaten by the Browns, 23-20. And then those 2-7 Bengals beat Baltimore.
As for the Steelers, they also lost to the same Saints that the Browns beat.
So, trying to keep track of who can beat whom in the NFL is like trying to figure out who is sleeping with whom in a soap opera. And, the more we look at each team's schedule, and the results, the weirder it gets.
Last week, when trying to make some kind of sense--which at this point is impossible by definition--out of this, I noted that the last time every NFL team had lost two games going into Week 9 was 1959.
That was not just 50 years ago, but, at that time there were just 12 teams in the entire NFL, as opposed to the 32 teams that now comprise the league. That means there are almost three times as many teams now, and mathematically, one would think that even though each NFL team will likely lose two or more games by season's end, that occurance at the midway point is simply crazy. Which it is.
Personally, I think this has become as much fun as can be. The old addage of "On any given Sunday" really does have new meaning, and while I certainly don't expect the Cowboys or Browns or Lions or Bengals to even make a Wild Card run, every thing else is so wide open at this point that every game from now on out seems to have playoff implications.
And that makes the game as much fun as anyone can hope. It means when the Lions take the field against the Steelers, well, Pittsburgh player throw everything they have at Detroit or they will wind up as last year, losing six in a row, with as much shame as the Cowboys wear this year.
It also means the Sunday Night matchup between the Steelers and Patriots became a huge game, and ostensibly an even one, as either could emerge the theoretic cream of the AFC.
Of course, all that could fall by the wayside when those crazy 5-4 Raiders face the Steelers this coming week, for the Raiders unexpectedly whipped Pittsburgh last year.
This certainly means the Thanksgiving games when Detroit and Dallas host at their respective homes, the adventure will become more curious and hopefully convoluted.
How much fun is that?