Friday, December 21, 2012


The athletes in the National Football League are so exquisitely skilled these days that the only way to identify the truly preeminent defensive players is to watch film of every defense of play, every week. I have some friends who are close to doing this. Most of us avoid this arduous study by relying on NFL color man and sports talk show hosts to tell us who the best players are.

Just so you don't get fooled, of The Basin will now provide two absolute foolproof rules of defensive skill analysis in the NFL.  While they are foolproof, they are also pretty useless.

Rule one: at any given time, the best defensive player in the NFL probably has a name with which you are unfamiliar.

Rule two, and a corollary to rule one,: the very minute at which you identify someone as the preeminent defensive player in the NFL, that person has been overtaken for that distinction by someone you cannot yet identify.

Think about it. The minute Mr. Ware from Dallas was viewed as preeminent, Mr. Reavis from New York popped up. He was quickly followed by Mr. Matthews and Mr. Matthews is almost certainly currently eclipsed by Mr. Von Miller from Denver. Now that I've identified Mr. Miller, it is a virtual certainty that some as yet unidentified player has already passed him. And so it goes.

This is really more about the dissemination of information than it is about the NFL. Even the most hard-core of fans is at least one player behind at all times.   (If you watch really closely, you are far more likely to indentify this defensive star than an NFL color announcer.)

But the bright side is that is like there is always at least one unopened Christmas present under the tree, just for us. 


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