I watch a lot of sports media coverage. It's a sickness really. It also gets on my nerves a lot, but yet I continue to watch. The NFL talking heads love to make their predictions on what team in the best and I thought I would give it a go with just a little more explanation.
In the AFC, there is no doubt which team is the best - by record. The Patriots are at 13 and 2 on the season. That makes them the best team by record. But like every other team in the league, the Patriots have their problems. The Patriots defense, which much improved from the start of the season, can still be unpredictable at times. They are still very young and they still make mistakes. Teams can exploit their weaknesses and they have done so this year. Even though the Patriots have only lost 2 games, they came close to losing a few more. The Patriots though generally can find a way to win. It is what sets them apart from most other NFL teams.
There are other good AFC teams though. The Ravens, Jets, Colts, Jags, Chiefs, but they all have their problems as well. The Ravens have struggled on offense. The Jets have been inconsistent on both sides of the ball. The Colts have had devastating injury on both sides of the ball. The Jags have lost games they should have won. The Chiefs are young and inexperienced and they make mistakes. But all these teams have very good aspects and at times display actual brilliance. Saying that a team is the absolute best in the league or division is a huge generality and rarely tells the whole story. Teams can be the best at any given time or situation, but they can also all display faults that can lose them ball games.
In the NFC, the best of the best from the sports media seems to change on a game by game basis. It all depends on who wins and by how much, but that doesn't mean they are the overall best of the division. It just means they won that day. The Eagles were the best when they beat the Giants. The Falcons were the best when they beat the Packers. The Bears were the best when they beat the Jets. The Saints were the best when they beat the Falcons. But all of these teams have weaknesses. They can all be beaten and they can all experience the media turning on them in the span of a game. They are all very good teams and they can all win on any given day.
Football is part talent, part leadership, part luck, and part whomever makes the fewest mistakes. On any given game day, it can turn out to be any team that gets all those things going at the same time. It doesn't make them that much better than anyone else. In the NFL this year, parity has been the name of the game. Teams can't take any game for granted because you never know when a team is going to rise up and be the best for that day. The Saints found out that winning a Super Bowl doesn't get you much anymore because a few losses the next season and you're just old news. Football and sports media has become mired in the "flavor of the moment" coverage that affects every aspect of American news and culture. I'm sure this Sunday there will be a new "best" team - if only for a game.