As I have mentioned before I group the football and baseball teams that I follow into “stables.”
This stabling of teams usually allows for the weaker teams to be carried by the stronger teams and almost always ensures that I have at least one team to follow deep into the playoffs.
Of course that is what usually happens but this year a funny thing happened in the stable as many of the teams that are usually carrying the banner never really got out of the gate and others seem to be limping into the final stretch of the regular season.
As a reminder the teams in my football stable are the Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos.
It should be noted that the Baltimore Colts were in the stable until that March night 30 years ago when the team’s owner moved them to Indianapolis in the dead of the night.
While it is easy to understand my fandom for most of the NFL teams that I follow based on having lived in the areas near the teams at one point in my life (Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Jacksonville Jaguars) it is a mystery as to why I first started following the Broncos since I have never lived in Colorado and was a Broncos fan long before I ever stepped foot in the state.
Speaking of stepping foot in Colorado, if one ever has the chance to travel to the Four Corners region it is worth the drive for the opportunity to step foot in four states at the same time.
So while the origin of my fandom of the Broncos remains a mystery best solved by the likes of Mulder and Scully, it is those very Broncos who are carrying the stable this season.
The Broncos started out of the gate strong and despite a few missteps that showed they are mortal they stand at 11-3 with a playoff spot locked up.
The Ravens are the next team in the stable who still have postseason play within their sights. A win tonight over the Detroit Lions would give the Ravens an 8-6 record and allow them to capture the division title if they win the rest of their games.
Even without winning all of their remaining games though the defending Super Bowl Champions are still in line for a wild card spot which very well could have them facing the Broncos for a rematch of the first game of the season.
So while the Broncos and Ravens are in control of things, the same can definitely not be said for the Redskins, Buccaneers, and the Jaguars.
After going to the playoffs last year, the Redskins are a miserable 3-11 this year.
The Redskins have benched their starting quarterback who they gave up many draft picks to get last year and will likely be embarking on yet another head coach search at the completion of the season.
While a season this short on wins would normally mean a high draft pick it will be years before the Redskins have a first round pick again after giving up their picks for the right to pick early last year.
Off the field the Redskins are also once again battling for the right to keep their name as a rising storm of opposition organizes against them.
While there is no one area that can be pointed to as a cause for the collapse of the Skins it is certain that the season has failed to live up to the expectations of those in and around the Beltway.
The Redskins will remain in the stable despite the poor season but here’s to hoping that next year brings better results.
Things are not much better in Florida where both the Jaguars and Buccaneers went through the first half of the season winless.
After each starting the season 0-8 the Jags and the Bucs have managed four victories apiece in the second half of the season including a two-game sweep by the Jags of the abysmal Houston Texans.
Much as I wish for a better season next year for the Redskins I will hope the same for the Jaguars and the Buccaneers. It appears that both Florida teams in the stable are definitely headed in the right direction after such a slow start to the season.
As for this year there are still the Ravens and Broncos for me to cheer for. I am hoping that they each go deep into the playoffs, or at least as deep as they can go until they collide in a game where only one of them can move on to face the best the NFC has to offer which will likely be Seattle or New Orleans.
Ironically both the Seahawks and the Saints had stable membership at one point or another before I settled on a stable of five teams a few years back and they were left on the outside looking in.
Even though they are not official “stable” teams I still routinely cheer for the Seahawks and the Saints.
Who knows maybe it is time to invite them both back in from the cold and make some expansions to the stable.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Monday Night Football to get ready for and some stable expansion blueprints to commission.
Copyright 2013 R. Anderson