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From the Press Box: Teamwork and Distractions

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From the Press Box: Teamwork and Distractions

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald by Mark J. Rebilas—USA TODAY Sports.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald by Mark J. Rebilas—USA TODAY Sports.

As I have been doing the last few years, I returned to coaching youth football this fall.

It's a lot of fun and a great way to be close to the game we all love.

This week we've been preparing for the playoffs (yay, us!). We finished the season with a 7-1 record for which the kids worked very hard. We are all very proud of that.

Well, almost all of us. This week, two kids quit because they weren't getting enough touches. Or rather, their fathers thought they weren't. Both boys got plenty of passes and carries, but apparently not enough for the helicoptor dads.

A 7-1 record, playoff berth and the chance to win a championship wasn't enough.

I bring this up to highlight that, even at the lower levels of football, people have completely jacked up ideas of what a team is.

Larry Fitzgerald on the other hand, gets it.

You see Fitzgerald—one of the best receivers in the NFL, even though he is in decline—calls not getting enough targets on a winning team a "champagne problem."

As he told the Cardinals website:

“We all care about our touches and looks, don’t get me wrong,” Fitzgerald said. “We just don’t put our touches and looks in front of what we are trying to accomplish as a team. There is a distinct difference. You are playing ball your whole life, you are in the NFL, you’ve been ‘The Man’ your whole life, so you have to put that aside and focus on what is best for your team. I think everyone has a good grasp of that.”

It makes me a bit sad that the fathers of two of my players don't get this. I'm pretty sure the kids don't care, although I suppose they might have complained. More than likely they want to be out there Saturday, trying to advance in the playoffs, not sitting at home.

But that's where they'll be.

Perspective is a helluva thing to lose. I've always been a fan of Fitzgerald, and this only makes me appreciate how much class the man has. Plenty of other players have it as well—we just lose sight of it with some of the idiots who get headlines.

Speaking of which...

My former BR collegue Mike Freeman recently touched on some of the background issues behind the surprising Percy Harvin trade to New York. Surprising more for the fact that it never happens in the NFL (mid-season trading is scary!) than for the fact that Harvin was indespensible. After all, the team was using him sporadically anyway.

However, some of Harvin's teammates were less than thrilled with the trade. Freeman did some digging and it seems like there was a bit of a locker room divide.

Whether the heart of what Freeman writes—that it was about Wilson's race (or not "being black enough") is true is besides the point. Really it's a sign that despite the talent the team still has, they are no more free of the distractions which tear apart many Super Bowl teams.

It's hard to repeat. Almost impossible. Some of that is because players (like Golden Tate) leave. But some of it is also because after winning the Super Bowl, priorities change and it is hard to keep everyone hungry and on the same page.

Can the Seahawks rebound? It's hard to say but the reality is that the team has a tough schedule and is in a very hard division.

It looks very much like they will fall victim to the same problem many other champions have before.

Which only leaves the race wide open for a new NFC team to grab a shot at the championship.

 

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Amanofthenorth's picture

Bears, jets. ... The problems almost seem impossible to fix. Reminds me of 75 packers. No draft choices, no quarterback, no hope and 20 more years of mediocrity. Be thankful.

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