By: Isaiah Blakely
The sports world tends to hit the “panic button” early on in the season, no matter the sport.
This year the Golden State Warriors were questioned early on when they were in third place almost 25 games into the season.
Super Bowl Champion New England was behind the Miami in the division going into Week 5 and there were questions being asked about they would fare this season.
Well the Warriors just clinched the one-seed in the NBA’s Western Conference again and the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl.
The new team to be questioned is the defending champion Boston Red Sox who are 5-9 are and near the bottom of the AL East. With a slow start comes immediate questions of what’s wrong with the team.
What if there’s nothing really wrong with the Red Sox, or the Patriots or the Warriors? Great teams figure it out. Sure the Red Sox have holes especially in their bullpen, but can we hold off on asking questions about what’s wrong with a team this early in the season?
On this date last year the Red Sox were having a hot start at 8-1. But there were some other teams that were playing great baseball in April as well. The Toronto Blue Jays (6-4), Los Angeles Angels (7-3), New York Mets (7-1), Pittsburgh Pirates (7-2) and Arizona Diamondbacks (7-2).
None of those teams made the playoffs and they all started with a .600 winning percentage or better. In the Pirates and Diamondbacks cases they were top of the division halfway through May and still missed the playoffs.
Today we live in a world of instant results because of technology. But when it comes to sports, people including myself, need to relax and let the process play out.
That’s what playing a professional sport is…. A long process starting in the offseason with a goal to win a championship.
People just ignore the process and are quick to tear down a player and or a team.
The Patriots are a prime example. Tom Brady has been “declining” according to several talking heads on networks such as ESPN and Fox Sports 1 for years. That declining quarterback has led the Patriots to the Super Bowl four of the last five years including winning three.
People are also too quick to crown teams.
This year’s Los Angeles Lakers for a lot of people including myself were an easy playoff team. Halfway through December they were a game out of third place. Then poor play and injuries derailed their season. In reality though, a team made up of guys not known for their defense or their ability to shoot the three very well should have never been considered a high seed. But we all bought into the LeBron James hype and were all very wrong as the Lakers didn’t even eclipse 40 wins this year.
Even in the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres were top of league and on a 10-game win streak in late November. It appeared this was going to be the year the Sabres finally return to the playoffs. Instead the only thing that returned was dysfunction and poor play. That led the Sabres to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference with 76 points.
Early season performances aren’t completely pointless but it’s not always an indicator of a team’s future success. At this point it’s getting ridiculous. Media people are just making knee-jerk reactions to get the most views or clicks on an article.
If a surprise team is over-performing, you have to take a look at how its winning and decide whether you believe that’s a realistic and sustainable way to be successful.
It’s rare that a talented group, especially a defending champion, has such a big problem the next year that can’t be fixed over the course of a season. That’s what makes a team great, its ability to adjust and overcome adversity.
I’m not saying no more “hot takes”. I enjoy the “Monday Morning Quarterback” type takes just like everyone else. But before we hit the panic button on the Red Sox in April or question if the Patriots dynasty is over hold off another week and save the panicking for everyone else.