Between the Christmas party and popping New Year’s corks, excitement is high in the NFL these days. In the last two weeks of the season, everything is on the line for quite a few teams, which puts enormous pressure on many players. Especially those who have something to prove!
The Duden describes narrative as a temporally connecting “meaningful story” that commonly occurs in many areas of life. It has long since become a household word, not only in politics, where pale talk show guests often throw foam around with it, it is also used in sports on both sides of the Atlantic. After all, each team carves out its very own story every season, which gets bigger and bigger every year. It also applies, perhaps even especially, to individual players who stand out as individuals from the mass of camisole wearers. The top players, the captains and the big stars are examples of success and failure. And sooner than you think, there it is, the story.
In the NFL, it can be associated with an exorbitant amount of pressure if you are not one of the particularly talented Olympus, where only selected names like Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes are allowed to frolic on pleasantly soft clouds. They have already proven that they are winners, that they can win titles for their team and that they are among the greats in their field. For those who will stand the test of time, to borrow a phrase from a rather mediocre, yet entertaining Brad Pitt sandal movie. A look at a professional who is also known as a player shows how extremely fragile a reputation and the narrative associated with it can be in the National Football League.
In the NFL, a reputation must be nurtured
Aaron Rodgers knows a Super Bowl bling on his finger, but it almost seems a little dusty these days when you want to indulge in such an outrage. Of course, the MVP trophies from “A-Rod” certainly don’t do the same, but somehow, it’s often whispered behind closed doors why the Packers’ mega quarterback just couldn’t bring more titles to Green Bay. However contrived or unrealistic some of these narratives may be, it is difficult to rewrite them. “When the reputation is ruined”… you know. In the fast-paced business of the NFL, however, the turnaround can sometimes come faster than you think. A few weeks and a few games are enough to make Fortuna smile again.
For Aaron Rodgers, it probably won’t anymore this year, despite a remarkable late-season spurt, though he should still make the playoffs with his Packers. But there are a number of players who have something to prove and an opportunity to dictate their own narrative in the final two weeks of the NFL regular season. The famous turning point in those cases is, of course, the battle for the postseason, which not a few of the protagonists commit for the first time.
Tua and others want to make the NFL playoffs
For example, there would be a Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins. Although he has taken a significant step forward this NFL season, benefiting from one of the best receiving duos in recent years, the form curve is heading south in the right direction. What would a late collapse mean for the young signal caller? Definitely a backpack full of doubts that he would travel with on his well-deserved vacation. Other quarterbacks have it easier. Trevor Lawrence of the Jaguars or Jets hopeful Mike “F’n” White, for example, wouldn’t hear any accusations even if they missed the playoffs, though the latter is probably fighting for his athletic existence as a starter in the NFL these days.
Other quarterbacks are certainly a step ahead of Tagovailoa in terms of their postseason viability, after all, everyone now knows that players like Kirk Cousins, Jalen Hurts, Dak Prescott or Lamar Jackson can lead their teams into the tight field of the postseason. Here, especially the last two names will be watched with eagle eyes, after all, they have so far not proven that they can really tear anything in the playoffs. The only way to get rid of this mark is to shake it off yourself with brilliant performances and a couple of wins in a row. It is not easy and sometimes maybe a little difficult for them as part of a whole team structure, but in the end they get a lot of compensation for this kind of pastime. In Jackson’s case, this year’s playoffs are probably about them.
The Bills and Josh Allen want the NFL crown
Be forgotten if the current headline is not the one you want.
Incidentally, the same applies not only to the throwing guild, but also to the men who watch them from the sidelines. Sean McDermott has bred the Bills crew into a real powerhouse, but in doing so he has also turned up the expectations. Mike McCarthy in Dallas is also familiar with these kinds of specs, especially when he sees a missed call from Jerry Jones on the screen. After all, a certain Sean Payton is somehow already sitting on packed suitcases. But there is still a long way to go at the moment, for everyone involved it is the here and now that counts. With all its possibilities.
Among other things, with the ability to tinker with his own narrative. Or maybe even something far more important to do…