Organized team activities and mandatory minicamps are in full swing across America, which means it's time for to perform a civic duty. That's right: Time to fire off some Trope Alerts.
If you're a savvy football fan -- or if you heed the warning call of the Trope Alert -- many of the stories you'll read should come with a whiff of Déjà vu. Life is cyclical, as are the storylines of springtime in the National Football League.
Here are a few of our favorites hyper-familiar storylines of quiet season:
The trope:(Draft Bust X) Looks Like He's Ready To Turn The Corner
These articles are particularly entertaining when revisited in December.
The trope:(Widely Raw Rookie Y) does not need time to develop at all
If a player drops in a draft because he is deemed a raw commodity, it's usually for a good reason. These inflated expectations tend to work themselves out by about Week 3 of the preseason.
"Light years ahead" is not a thriving bit of parlance in the English language circa 2016. But it has impressive legs for players and coaches in the NFL.
The same goes for "night and day". This is Track 3 onThe Very Best of OTA Stock Quotes.
The trope: (OK Quarterback X) Reminds (Veteran Player Y) of Brett Favre
Every year, without fail, there will be at least one passer who will be compared to the inimitable Ol' Gunslinger. Which, when you think about, is just another way of saying, "This guy throws into double coverage way too much, but sometimes it doesn't end so badly." Brett Favre might be the last Hall of Famer I'd want to be compared to.
The trope: (Middling Team X) Will Shock The World
Stay tuned for more tropes to come, including:
Real football is coming. I promise.
Give me cheese or give me death
Say it ain't so, Aa-Rod: Aaron Rodgers the undisputed king of the cheeseheads ... has given up cheese.
A week ago, Rodgers explained that he'd moved away from his 80/20 rule for nutrition -- eat healthy 80 percent of the time and eat whatever you want with the rest (dammit, I had this flipped). This week, Rodgers revealed he's cut out dairy products -- read: CHEESE! GLORIOUS CHEESE! -- in favor of a near vegan diet. By the way, Rodgers got the idea for a more healthy lifestyle from none other than Tom Brady, the man currently hawking a $200 cookbook -- sorry, "nutritional manual" -- on his website. Hey, you gotta put Tom Brady IXV's great great grandson through space medical school somehow.
Rodgers is at his lightest in a decade and feeling great, even if it comes at the expense of a tumble down the Common Man Rankings, which -- somewhat oddly -- highly factors in cheese consumption.
Choose your words carefully, T-Rich
"Putting on a yellow jacket," he said, according to ESPN.com. "People wrote him off, he came back and did some amazing things. He always had the pedigree. He just had to get back to the guy that we know."
Oh, Trent. In this age of social media, you have to be careful with questions like these. If you would have completed your education at the Peyton Manning School Of Professional JockSpeak, you'd know you were being set up for 24 hours of of bad jokes by hacky sportswriters. This is how answer a leading question like that:
"Gee, I don't know where I'll end up, that up to the Big Coach Upstairs to decide. But my goal is to contribute any way I'm asked, be a good teammate and help my football team win football games in the National Football League."
That's it! No social media shaming! No headlines! You're off the grid! In the future, you can avoid stuff like this:
And this ...
And this ...
Conference title rings: Yay or nay?
On one hand, it makes plenty of sense. Winning your conference is a huge accomplishment and a Super Bowl season -- even if it ends in defeat -- should be respected and admired. But since when did we start giving out prizes for being second best in this country? Do athletes in the Olympics get rewarded for second place? Oh wait, bad example. OK, how about little kids who finish last in their soccer leagues -- are we giving them "Participation Trophies" now?
My point is, I find it hard to believe Cam Newton is strutting around the set of his Nickelodeon show flaunting this bling. Just like I can't imagine Bruce Smith shows up to fancy dinners in Western New York with a fist full of consolation prizes. It's much more likely these rings sit in a dresser drawer for decades, a forever reminder of the one that got away and the fleeting nature of youth. You know, like your high school class ring.
All Dabs go to heaven
Speaking of Cam, the quarterback announced this week he is retiring The Dab, the entertaining and controversial (absurdly so) touchdown celebration that helped define his amazing MVP season in 2015.
"I have to put that aside," Newton told WFNZ Radio on Thursday. "I have time. I have until September to find out (a new celebration)."
Good for Cam. You never want to be the band who has just one hit. That's how you end up playing country fairs. Like all the great ones -- the Beatles, U2, Kanye -- Newton is seeking out new ground and experiment rather than staying in a comfort zone. The Superman gave way to the Dab which will give way to the ...
Just another thing to look forward to in 2016.
Wade Phillips is just like your Dad
Notice the captions. This is a classic Dad move. When I text my old man, I almost always receive an answer that is three words or less. Wade is clearly the same way.
Neat! Don't you just want to hug him?
I found Doug Marrone, guys
That's Jaguars offensive line coach Doug Marrone sounding like every rowdy uncle who's ever attended a summer barbecue. He's referencing early-period Saturday Night Live sketches, wearing shorts, sweating profusely and yelling at everyone in sight. I guarantee you Marrone owns a VHS copy of Animal House and has one of those wrist guard things that serious bowlers wear.
What is Ryan Fitzpatrick up to?
BRO. LEAVE THE BOY UP THERE. JUST SIGN ALREADY.
Tweet of the Week
Quote of the Week
"I'll get a bunch of bibles in the mail I'm sure. Rightfully so."
Until next time ...