Have you ever watched two teams, at the same time, locked in a simulation, a pantomime, or just a dramatization of a football match? Or with the full knowledge that they are trapped within the parameters of a social experience from which they cannot escape? Or are they unaware of the limits placed on them?
Once Trevor Lawrence’s ankle became the subject of an engineering class to be named later, both the Bengals and Jaguars’ seasons became meaningless, or at least meaningless. Oh, Bengals fans will put a lot of stock in Jake Browning’s nearly flawless performance. Jaguars fans will hold out hope that CJ Beathard has the experience and can fly a Cessna to at least Point B. They will know deep down that they are only trying to deceive themselves. It is an illusion to make sitting and watching the last few weeks, and even one playoff game, palatable and worth the time.
But this is the NFL and when a QB goes down for the season — as Joe Burrow and Lawrence seem likely to be — it’s usually curtains. Especially for rival teams, because they are generally rivals because of who plays for them. The team is designed for them and around them. Reserve QBs barely get practice time, especially as the season goes on.
That’s why the league has all these rules that broadcasters and fans bemoan when a call goes against them. “It’s not football anymore!” Well, it won’t be Bengals and Jags football for weeks on end. The league knows teams are going to watch an entire year’s work go up in smoke because of an errant tear in a ligament or tendon. She can’t protect the quarterbacks 100% of the time, but she will get as close to them as possible.
So there was Cincinnati and Jacksonville, playing the game, distracted by the pressure and intensity of the game. Helpful blinders for context. They’ll soon call it professionalism or a desire to “shock the world” or “prove the haters wrong,” the easiest clichés to get on the bottom shelf of motivation. But in reality, they were there because they had to be, because that match required 60 minutes. It wouldn’t fit into the larger narrative of their season. This is basically now just about injuries to their QB and the shot the rest of their teammates won’t get in January. Just a lot.
This is the NFL, though. For all the qualities usually associated with it, and how it is usually defined, the biggest one is its fragility. No other sport could cause an entire team to lose fortunes as quickly as Walker Little beat Lawrence. It’s a fragile thing for any team with real hopes.
Hey, regardless of the type of injury, when dealing with a franchise QB, couldn’t the Jags have dug up a cart instead of making him walk the plank for a quarter mile or something?
Or will Tony Khan grab the only wagon in AEW’s upcoming Death Match?
Toronto goes deep with Ohtani
Looks like the Shohei Ohtani derby has happened I entered a secret stage The Athletic said he met with the Jays at their spring training site in Florida. The Jays shrouded everything they did in secrecy, with general manager Ross Atkins changing the presser containing the media to a presser via Zoom in front of a plain white wall. Manager John Schneider’s availability has been rescheduled to Tuesday.
This all seems a bit silly. If you and I know that the Jays are pursuing Ohtani, and we do, then other clubs that do it probably do too. If they don’t know what the Jays are offering, Ohtani’s agent Nez Baleo will surely let them know quickly. If any Jays players were worried about losing AB to Ohtani at DH, it could probably be easily explained to them if they don’t get it already, and who the Lord is to help them if they don’t.
But hey, maybe it would be fun for these guys to play Bond for a little while.
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