The Seven Stages of Grief – NFL Draft Edition

The NFL offseason is an arduous trek through a quicksand of takes and trolling; a nightmarescape containing your innermost fear’s realization and manifestation. The vision any given franchise has set upon to implement is likely different than the one you desire, especially for a specific few.

Fan bases, specifically those driven majorly by analytics, have even more particular desires. Hours of number-crunching and In N Out-fueled arguing online lead to any number of outcomes that may put you in a bad place.

If you are here, it is because you are in that bad place.

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Your team drafted a running back in the first round and you have entered the seven stages of grief.

Denial:

The name is still resonating deep within your skull. Roger Goodell’s throaty utterance of the university cruel enough to have developed the prospect that cannot now populate a row on your favorite team’s online roster echoes back and forth between your earlobes.

The past four months have consisted of you slandering the good name of the running back position on twitter dot com; a teambuilding exercise bringing you closer and closer to your peers of the same belief.

There is no fucking way. This can’t be happening.

Guilt:

Everything that you posted on the internet – every sentence, every statistic, every EPA graph – it all drove the front office towards the precipice.

A drastic move of disastrous proportions that you believe rests solely upon your shoulders. A statistical Atlas who knows damn well what this move has brought upon the future of the franchise.

You know deep down that you weren’t the true catalyst behind this cataclysm, but you cannot be sure that you weren’t.

Anger:

“WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK THEY DRAFTED A RUNNING BACK IN THE FIRST ROUND I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS SHIT HOW IN THE FUCK DO THEY GET PAID TO KEEP DOING THIS I DIDN’T REALIZE ONE NAME COULD MAKE A HUMAN BEING SO ANGRY I WISH THANOS WOULD TURN ME TO DUST IT’S NOT FUCKING WORTH IT.”

-You, probably

Bargaining:

You attempt to establish a telepathic connection to your head coach. “Running backs don’t matter,” you feebly whisper with the mental fortitude of a wounded pigeon, hoping the NFL will allow the pick to be rescinded. “YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS.”

It’s too late and you know that it’s too late. But it doesn’t hurt to try.

In the end, all you can do is sit in your recliner, sipping kombucha through a twisty straw, repeatedly asking yourself “WHY.”

Depression:

*Dashboard Confessional begins to play in the background*

Testing:

As time continues to elapse and more thoughts fly through that noggin of yours, you begin to think that this might not be so bad. Running backs can be very valuable with surrounding competence and informed (and not completely ass backwards) playcalling.

You understand that with an incoming staff comes newly realized infrastructure and that new car smell that can jump start an offense. The track record is there to indicate that running backs are a bad bet in the first, but your team realistically could be that exception.

Acceptance:

You are all aboard the hype train. This guy is dynamic; a true playmaker that can transform an offense from a heap of triceratops dung into a moderately serviced 2003 Volkswagen Jetta. Your emotional investment has turned into that of the financial sort; you need – nay, DESERVE – to purchase this monolith’s jersey to rock on a weekly basis come August.

It is impossible to alter the past nor the mounting evidence that this was shit-stupid drafting in terms of process. The only matters of importance now are that the dude can ball out and help the team score greater than or equal to (fuck you Arizona) the number of points their opponents score in both the short and long terms.

Despite your mental and physical anguish, you have accepted that your team has drafted a running back in the first round. A painful happenstance indeed, but you’ve managed to journey through the razor-edged foliage unscathed.

You know that you’re going to relive all this shit – the emotional agony, the deep-seated torment – just a few short months from now.

And that’s because you’re a masochist.

Just like the rest of us.

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