By Steven Keys

We’re 1/3rd the way through NFL 2017 and only the Kansas City Chiefs’ mark remains, like that rare high school mug, unblemished (5-0), having skillfully avoided the deflating though brief malaise that will accompany that first loss of the season to keep the hopeful if naïve notion alive that ANYTHING is possible (16-0).

Five games in is when you’ve had enough ball under the belt to get a good idea of what’s working and what’s not, but not so late you can’t right the ship after a couple losses have begun to blow the vessel off course.

Since the 1960s, only the Miami Dolphins (72) and the New England Patriots (07) have managed to make it through the entire regular season Clearasil® clean (no losses), New England finally breaking-out (succumbing to the Giants in SB42) while the Dolphins bested the Washington Redskins in SB7 to stay Stridex® sound (undefeated). So in all likelihood, every team will post a pimple (loss) at some point early in the season. Eek.

It’s how a team HANDLES losing that’ll prove the biggest test.

Here’s what some famous people have had to say about winning, losing and how lemons can get turned into good old lemonade (gulp):

.......Mansfield.Katherine.ArchivesNewZealand.thickskinnedtoady(TSEliot).wc.5.8m.1915+I believe the greatest failing is to be frightened: New Zealand (London) writer, Katherine Mansfield (Kathleen M. Murry, 1888-1923)*

You can learn little from winning, you can learn everything from losing: New York Giants baseball great & WWI veteran, Christy Mathewson*

What separates winners from losers is how one reacts to each new twist of fate: Donald Trump*

It is not enough to conquer, one must also learn the art of seduction: Voltaire*

Okay, so that last one’s a bit bawdy for football but you get the idea, i.e., there’s more than winning. Holding onto power can be tougher than taking it.

But to handle a loss, even one that embarrasses, a good team with a champion’s constitution must have thick skin, enough to withstand the burning remarks of critics. After the pain subsides, a mind-set for learning from the miscues that led to the collapse in confidence and play.

Who needs thick skin at this juncture? Prit near everyone, but those with a contender capability might be having their’s tested the hardest.

Arizona Cardinals (2-3)

Pre-season hopefuls, the Desert dwellers have had their skin tested in the next best (worst) manner, serious injury to a key cog, that being MVP-caliber running-back David Johnson who went out in W2 with a dislocated wrist.

.....thickskin.Rhino.AdventureTravelExploration.1909.wc.953kDallas Cowboys (2-3)

The Pack are always contenders for the Halas trophy (George must smile up there when someone ties his name to the Green & Yellow) with the likes of Rodgers under center, but giving ’em 20 points in the 4Q, at home in a game you had in control from the get-go has to burn the Boys skin bad.

As to some folk’s notion that last Sunday’s tussle (GB 35-31) constitutes NFL17’s game of the year, I say ‘Oh brother.’ Besides being premature (W5), any game where 30 points are allowed in the closing quarter can’t rank too high. Defense still has to count for something in today’s offensive-minded game of football.

Los Angeles Rams (3-2)

Looked to be the surprise team of 2017 and might still fill-the-bill. With Wilson, Wagner, Kam, Thomas, Wright & Carroll, Hawks, like GB, are NFL Elite who own their Division, now that AZ has degressed. As such, there’s no shame in losing a close one to Seattle, even in LA. And when was the last time a Rams v Jaguars game seemed worth a look-see?

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)

Ben’s talk of his demise is disheartening. Ever since Tomlin did his $100K (fined) turkey-trot on T-Day (13), I’ve hoped for better leadership to utilize best the final years of Pitt’s future HOF quarterback. No such luck. But here’s more advice from the sage Giants pitcher: You must have an alibi for why you lost. If you haven’t one you must fake one. Your self-confidence must be maintained. But keep it (alibi) to yourself, where it belongs.

.....cherries.wc.cca.3.3m.B.Kua.6.1.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFL Cherry Picks Week 6

Eagles @ Carolina: 10.12 CBS 8:25: Panthers
Packers @ Vikes: 10.15 Fox 1:00 GTW: GB
Detroit @ New Orleans: Fox 1:00: Lions
Patriots @ New York Jets: CBS 1:00: Patriots
Buccaneers @ Arizona: Fox 4:05: Cardinals
Los Angeles Rams @ Jaguars: Fox 4:05: Rams
Chargers @ Raiders: CBS 4:25: Los Angeles
Pittsburgh @ KansasCity: CBS 4:25: Steelers
New York Giants @ Denver: NBC 8:30: NYG
Indianapolis @ Tenn: 10.16 Disney 8:30: Colts

Record: 16 – 11

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: Rhinoceros, India, wc.cca, Brehms-Life-Of-Animals, 1895; Katherine-Mansfield, Archives-New-Zealand, wc, “thick-skinned-toady,” T.S.Eliot-critique, 1915 (+/-); Rhino-thickskin, Adventure-Travel-Exploration, 1909, wc.cca; Cherries, B.Kua, 6.1.08, wc.cca; WillieWood, Topps NFL, 1970.
Posted: 10.12.17 @ 10:01pE; Copyright © 2017
References (*): Mathewson: 1001 Fascinating Baseball Facts, Nemec & Palmer, 1994; Pres. Donald Trump, Google; Mansfield, Wikipedia; Voltaire, Wikipedia.

Filed under: Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers

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