Vince Young, being introduced as the new Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback, used the phrase “dream team” to describe the revamped Eagles squad. The media promptly began discussing it, asking if they were a dream team, and how they compared with other great NFL teams of the past and recent history.
Now, aside from the obvious problem of declaring your own team (or even worse in this case, a team you haven’t done any reps with yet) a dream team is that you heap tons of pressure onto yourself and your teammates. The media may use the phrase, but even then, they have to be careful when describing a squad that hasn’t actually done anything.
The Big Three of the Miami Heat drew together a very impressive squad which was often called “an excess of talent,” but even with the arrogance of “not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven,” the three of them didn’t go there and use the term “dream team” to describe themselves. The media did, often asking if they could beat the Bulls’ 72 win record, and asked how many championships they would win.
For crying out loud, no one on the New York Yankees has been arrogant enough to declare themselves a dream team.
The problem with Vince Young’s comment, and the media’s reaction to both that and the Heat’s assembly last year is that they are essentially crowning a champion without them actually playing, which again, puts increased pressure on the the teams themselves to perform. The media’s discussions about how well the Miami Heat were going to perform led to increased attention to every loss, every difficulty, and when they lost in the Finals, it did a huge disservice to the actual champions, the Dallas Mavericks, as much of the media was focused on the Heat.
Now, I will concede that the media is a business, and its goal is to make money, and as such they follow the stories that was get more interest. A lot of lines of discussion that may anger some people keep those people watching, and that translates into dollars. That said, I wish that more media figures would restrain themselves from falling into the trap of discussing teams that haven’t won anything in terms of epic past teams.
The only true dream team in, well recent sports history anyway, was the 1992 Men’s Olympic Basketball squad, which is why they were nicknamed the Dream Team; they slaughtered all opposition, winning by record amounts each and every game.
Finally, while the Heat do have an incredible group of players, and the Eagles this off-season brought in several great free agents, neither side should count their chickens before they hatch. The Heat have plenty more years to win the big one, and they came up a few shots short. The Eagles have to contend with not one, not two, but three division rivals seeking bounce back seasons, as well as the NFC West, whose teams are seeking to prove their worth in the NFL at large, and the powerhouse AFC East, where the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins are seeking to maximize their potential to overthrow the Patriots and seize the throne.
Let’s let the teams play, and let the play do the talking.
Finally, I want to take this moment to wish Brian Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan who was assaulted in Los Angeles by Dodgers fans, the best of luck in his recovery, and my thoughts go out to the fans who were shot at the Raiders-49ers exhibition game, and to their families. Sports is inherently competitive, but we should remember to be respectful and civilized too.