Well, the NFL training camps are all but over and Week 1 of the NFL preseason has come and gone. There seems to be little or no doubt what the regular season holds for my favorite team, your favorite team, my cousin Billy Bob's favorite team, the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, et al.
The little or no doubt comes from the football gurus' annual overreaction and/or knee-jerk reaction to what a team accomplishes or fails to accomplish in training camp and how it plays its first preseason game.
Let's start with the Buffalo Bills. Other than players signing autographs for fans, the word is that they didn't accomplish much at St. John Fisher College. And they proved it by losing their first preseason game 7-6 to the Washington Redskins, who had a worse record (5-11) than the Bills (6-10) in 2011.
Not only that, but day after day, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and his receiving corps were only so-so.
How about the Giants? They opened their preseason schedule with a 32-31 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, a 5-11 team last season. So much for back-to-back Super Bowls, right guys?
Andrew Luck's first pass in an NFL game went for a touchdown, so does that mean the Indianapolis Colts are going to the Super Bowl and Luck will be both the NFL rookie of the year and the league MVP?
Then the New England Patriots defeated the New Orleans Saints 7-6, which means they both might finish 3-13 this season instead of both going 13-3, as they did last season. Are Tom Brady and Drew Brees both over the hill? Who knows!
On Monday night, the Dallas Cowboys managed a 3-0 triumph over the Oakland Raiders. These are two teams that finished 8-8 last season; the word is that both were semi-awful and have much work to do before the regular season starts.
Finally, the San Diego Chargers beat the Green Bay Packers 21-13. The Chargers were 8-8 and the Packers were 15-1 in 2011.
Whatever your team accomplished or didn't accomplish during training camp, are you wired to the hilt or a nervous wreck? Are you about to buy season tickets or take up bowling on NFL game days? All you Sunday couch potatoes out there, what does this preseason stuff mean for the 2011 contenders and the 2011 pretenders?
Well, the answer is ... absolutely nothing!
Sorry, footballers, but relying on training camp workouts and preseason games to tell you how a team's season is shaping up is like buying a Mega Millions lottery ticket and then going to work and telling your boss you're quitting your job.
Training camp is more about players learning and adapting than showing the coaches how tough they are. It's all about basics. That's why Bills quarterbacks wear red jerseys, which are the equivalent of signs that say, "Do Not Touch Me."
Not only that, but the players don't trot onto the field all fired up-except maybe for those who are borderline and are just trying to make the team. They'd never admit it, but training camp gets old with meeting after meeting, practice after practice. Or maybe the word is "boring."
Look, if we based our optimism on how the Bills looked in training camp or played against Washington, there wouldn't be any optimism. And as for all those other teams that either were swell or smelled last week, it'll be a whole different game when it means something.
Did anyone ever judge Muhammad Ali's boxing talent by how he looked against sparring partners? Derek Jeter or anybody else in batting practice? If you went to a PGA Tour tournament and had no idea who was who on the practice tee, you couldn't tell Rory McElroy from Richard Lee, based on how they were hitting the ball.
So enjoy the preseason. Just don't get emotionally involved. The games will get far more complicated when they count.
Some expert on TV the other day was evaluating one of the teams and noted how important it is that the team won't have to deal with too many injuries and use backups. That is true for every team in the NFL. Put Brady's leg in a cast and the Patriots have problems. The same goes for Brees in New Orleans.
As I've said before, key injuries notwithstanding, I believe the Bills will have a winning record and (hopefully) make the playoffs. The key is to play rock-solid defense, give Fitzpatrick time when he's back to pass and run the ball effectively when necessary.
Don't judge the Bills on how they perform against Minnesota on Friday night or against Pittsburgh and Detroit in the final two preseason games. Just get wired for the opener Sept. 9 at the New York Jets, OK?
Rick Woodson's column appears each Thursday on the Rochester Business Journal website at www.rbjdaily.com. His book, "Words of Woodson," is available at www.authorhouse.com/bookstore. Listen to his weekly program, "The Golf Tee," at 9 a.m. Sunday on WHTK-AM 1280 and FM 107.8/10/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email email@example.com.