Some fans root for teams to go undefeated. Ryan Bradley’s more interested in who might go winless. He was sorely disappointed by Week 10.
For some, the most interesting storylines of a football season are of success. The Kansas City Chiefs have been the talk of the NFL as they remain, with a bye in Week 10, the only team in the league without a loss.
But sometimes I find the most intriguing stories to be those of utter and complete failure. Not out of morbidity, but I’m talking beyond an Eli Manning level of disaster here, who, despite the Giants win, threw another pick six this week. I see the interest in wondering if a team can complete an undefeated season, but, for whatever reason, I just don’t, not even if a team is, as with the Chiefs, undefeated past the halfway point. No, in fact every year I wonder the exact opposite, if or what team will go the season without winning a game.
No one has been surprised by the lack of success in Tampa Bay or Jacksonville, yet I’ve followed their lack of progress from week one, wondering which team would be worse. Does that sound rude or mean? It’s not meant to be.
In Week 10 the Jaguars went to Tennessee to face the Titans. The Titans are by no means a powerhouse, they fall squarely in the mediocre category, but they have been largely inconsistent. You never know which version of the team will show up, which quarterback will be starting (or even healthy), and if Chris Johnson will be on his game or not.
Jacksonville managed to come away with a win without even throwing a touchdown. In fact, Chad Henne’s quarterback rating was 26. He threw for as many interceptions as the team had offensive touchdowns. I don’t know for sure, but I bet that’s a pretty rare feat for a winning team.
So, the Jaguars were no longer winless and the ball was in Tampa Bay’s court. I’m sure neither team has looked at it this way, but I see their failure as a chess match, a fight to see who will be the worse team.
Inexplicably the Buccaneers were given a Monday Night game, and whether or not they’d find a way to match the Jaguars was the most interesting storyline of the game in my eyes. Of course, the Bucs were fortunate to be facing the Miami Dolphins, a team in complete disarray, if not on the field, then in the locker room and behind closed doors.
Neither team looked good, but it was a battle. An ugly one. At one point Jon Gruden praised Tampa Bay’s quarterback, Mike Glennon, which struck me as a thing to do for the sheer sake of trying to find something positive to say. Glennon barely completed 50% of his passes and his quarterback rating was only slightly higher than Henne’s was at 29.8. He did throw for a touchdown, which accounted for those three extra points—both on the scoreboard and in his rating.
So there will be no winless team in 2013, but still I find both Jacksonville and Tampa Bay fascinating, especially in their front offices’ refusals to shake things up. In fact, when Jacksonville won their game I thought, well, Tampa Bay’s got the first pick in the draft now, but the Buccaneers refused to take that one stroke of luck for the season. They might not be seeing their seasons the way I am, but I bet they aren’t as entertained by them as I have been, either.
Photo: AP/Mark Zaleski