Table of Contents

    Who’s the MAN? Are you the MAN?

    Probably not, because you’re a person and not a narrative, but who knows?

    At The Poolside, a MAN is the “Most Absurd Narrative.” As football fans, we know nothing gets eyes on games better than a juicy narrative (other than betting, of course). Is it a player’s “revenge game” against a former team? A rookie coach competing against his former mentor? An inspiring comeback from a severe injury? All candidates for each week’s MAN.

    Not all narratives are absurd, of course. From a storytelling standpoint, a narrative is important. It keeps the audience interested in the characters, keeps the story flowing, and provides a satisfying beginning, middle, and end. From its inception, professional football has woven this concept into every facet of its existence from the jump. The original television broadcast of the first Super Bowl was manipulated to portray the stadium’s attendance as packed in like sardines, with only tight shots of the crowd. In reality, it was the only Super Bowl to *not* sell out, filling only a little over 60,000 of its (then) 100,000-seat capacity. The NFL has been manipulating, if not outright creating, its stories for over 75 years.

    This isn’t wrong, of course, because we *love* the narratives. It’s just important to understand and identify them for what they are. Some of my all-time favorite narratives include:

    Manning vs. Brady


    Odell vs. the Net

    He’s Definitely Our Starter

    It’s Not That Serious

    He’s Ready to Go This Week

    Without further ado, let’s dig into the latest MANs! 

    Josh Johnson-For Comeback Player of the Year

    Look, the guy did great against the Cowboys. A night’s work of 16-23-172-2 is a hell of a day at the office in this league. No matter what your situation, there is no argument here.

    That said, there’s a pretty significant impediment for JJ getting meaningful regular-season reps:

    (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

    Ol’ Russ has missed exactly three games his entire career, so. Oh, and also, there’s this:

    If the dude was gonna ball out, somebody would have figured it out by now.

    All that said, I love preseason underdog types; The journeymen, the third-string career guys, the people with the support systems that allow them to keep pushing for this nigh-impossible dream. It’s f*ckin’ inspiring, without a doubt. In this case, I’d say the narrative is self-generating, and I hope Josh turns the 2022 preseason into a three-year, $8M cushy clipboard job and retires a wealthy man. He deserves it, that’s for damn sure.

    Patrick Mahomes Is Tackled, Fire Andy Reid

    Inspiration for this one, I have to admit, came from one of the greats:

    As I said in my previous article, the preseason is a funny duck. Who plays and doesn’t is a narrative that carries various amounts of STRONG OPINIONS entirely based on the specific player, coach, team, or situation. If the guy is “injury-plagued,” fans and analysts have the terrible habit of freaking out if there’s game action before the regular season. Counterpoint: how do you know if you’re genuinely recovered from an injury without full-speed game contact?

    Nobody likes preseason injuries, full stop. Getting hurt in exhibition games isn’t fun for anyone involved, but it’s also intrinsic to the entire concept of football and cannot be prevented, only managed. Should Patrick Mahomes be playing in Week 1 of the preseason of a year he’s got the second-best odds to win MVP?

    Guess what? The only two people who get to answer that question are Mahomes and Reid. The rest is just narrative.

    This Week’s Trivia Question

    Among active coaches, New England coach Bill Belichick currently has the best winning percentage in the NFL playoffs. What other active coach isn’t far behind him in second place?

    Remember to respond with your answer to to be entered in our drawing.


    What's On Tap: BMW Championship


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    About Author

    Matt K

    Matt is the Social Media Manager at RYP and currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. He has experience managing social media accounts with agencies, small brands, and large companies. He’s a diehard New England sports fanatic, and if he’s not watching the Celtics, he can be found roaming around Boston discovering all that the city has to offer.

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