Most of them played football, many of them coached football, they’ve all been around the sport their entire lives and now they make a living predicting the sport.
Football analysts must know exactly what they’re talking about, right?
Let me qualify: These analysts probably know more than us, simply because it’s their job to know more than us — and they have all kinds of connections close to the teams.
The point I’m trying to drive home is even if you know boundless amounts of things about professional football, it is incredibly hard to predict. Every year you have at least one team that defies everyone’s expectations, perfectly proving this point.
This year we have three teams that clearly no one told they were supposed to be bad.
In the ESPN.com preseason power rankings the Bills, 49ers and Lions were ranked No. 31, No. 26 and No. 18 respectively.
These teams are now a combined 13-2 on the season, in first place in their divisions and ranked No. 4 (Lions), No. 6 (Bills) and No. 9 (49ers).
The Bills and Lions have a couple of the most explosive offenses in football and the 49ers have one of the best defenses. This is usually the part of my column where the advanced statistics are brought into play, but advanced football metrics are not my specialty (that’s baseball).
The 49ers are second in the league in points allowed and 13th in yards allowed, both very impressive numbers for a team that completely revamped its defense and installed an entirely new coaching staff in the offseason.
The Bills are third in the league in points produced and 12th in yards produced thanks mostly to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and running back Fred Jackson.
The Lions have been an all around great team thus far, being fourth in the league in points produced and in points allowed. Matthew Stafford and Megatron (Calvin Johnson) on offense, and Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch on defense have propelled this year's Lions team into the spotlight.
All of this, of course, lends credit to the saying “hindsight is 20-20.” These teams have performed well above expected levels, so now we can go back and see why. Why can’t we (especially analysts, with their resources) predict things like this before the fact?
In my years of watching sports, possibly the most important thing I’ve learned is you can’t predict what’s going to happen.
Any given day the worst offense in baseball can explode for 18 runs off the best pitching staff in the league and any given Sunday (or Saturday) the worst team in the NFL can beat the Packers.
So what exactly are these analysts there for if they can’t predict every last little thing? For the fun of it, of course.
We like to get angry with that stupid analyst that thinks our team is going to get crushed. We absolutely eat up every word uttered from an analyst that thinks our team is the second coming of the 1972 Dolphins.
The best analysts out there will even admit that all they’re doing is making semi-informed wild guesses because that’s the best any of us can hope to do.
So enjoy the various analysts out there on the TV and the Internet, but at the same time remember that these sports we all enjoy so much are beautifully unpredictable.
That’s why we love sports so much – every week creates a new reality.