The NFL, more so than any other professional sports league, is based on perception, or what the fans and media think about the players. Obviously, perception is big in all sports, but in the NFL, it’s a matter of life and death.
Tim Tebow led the Denver Broncos to the playoffs, and after bring replace by Peyton Manning and traded to the New York Jets, Tebow never started another NFL game and he’s out of the league. Why?
Well, Tebow isn’t very good, at least in terms of conventional quarterbacking. But, most importantly, Tebow is perceived to be a distraction around the league and nobody wants that media frenzy he creates. Tebow is polarizing. Fans either hate Tebow, or they love Tebow. There is no in between.
The media also loves polarizing players because they’re instant news. Turn on ESPN this summer and there’s a story about Johnny Manziel. Unfortunately for Manziel, he just can’t stay out of trouble.
Perception leads to expectation, and expectation can have drastic side effects when things don’t the way fans, players, and coaches plan.
Bringing it back to field, every season, certain players are expected to have good years based on perception. What the team did in the offseason, what that player has done in the past, what the media is saying, and a number of other factors build these beliefs, and we convince ourselves that certain players are going to have good seasons.
In nature, most fans are optimistic and set unrealistic expectations for their favorite players and teams before the season. Unfortunately, not all players live up to the hype every season. They’re human, and at some point, there is some regression. What goes up must come down, as they say.
What players perceived to have a good 2014 will be a disappointment and let their fans down this season? I’ve narrowed down the top five.
Remember this is not a list of the worst players in the league, by any means, just a list of players who are expected to do well but won’t.