By Julie Buehler
The Colts got their face caved in by the Buffalo Bills.
The Vikings were embarrassed on Monday Night Football by the Niners. Teddy Bridgewater was nearly sacked by his owner player.
The Eagles offense was more diesel Volkswagen than Ferrari.
The Steelers defense was more “Shower Curtain” than “Steel Curtain.”
The Seattle Seahawks kicked their own arse and offered the St. Louis Rams an opening weekend win.
All these teams will be in the playoffs. And all these teams will look back at their Week 1 loss and chuckle.
Because losing badly in Week 1, with expectations so high and hopes irrationally perched beyond reason, is a benefit to teams with enough talent to play in the post season.
The expectations must be dashed in order for a team to realize its weaknesses and improve.
Now a coach has film to refute the self-aggrandizing of a player in their locker room.
Now they have the strength of argument known as fact to point to if a player puffs out his chest.
Getting embarrassed Week 1, for a team that’s poised to excite a fan base to new heights, is one of the greatest gifts a coach can receive to reign in those lofty, and generally unreasonable, ideas.
And there’s a big difference between the Week 1 demolition of the Colts and Buccanears, or the Raiders and Vikings.
And that is, few of the Week 1 losers have the pieces in place to steer the ship past the iceberg. Some of them don’t even realize they’re in cold water, let alone see the ice floating around the ship.
But the smart coaches, the Chuck Paganos, the Mike Zimmers, the Chip Kellys and of course Pete Carroll, they are who they are because they utilize every ounce of motivation to see their team succeed and offering their squad an NFL-sized helping of humble pie can go a long way in directing their team to the post season.
Case in point: the New England Patriots. They are this decade’s most winning franchise. Losing Week 1 in 2014, their first opening weekend loss since 2004, and then getting curb-stomped on national television by the Kansas City Chiefs were some rude awakenings to a franchise that clearly needed fresh motivation.
They got that.
And another Super Bowl ring.
So while most are looking to cast judgment on a franchise after the showing in Week 1, stick with your picks. It’s a long season and the smart coaches know how to capitalize on bad losses to get great turnarounds.
Julie Buehler hosted the Coachella Valley’s most popular sports talk radio show, “Buehler’s Day Off” every day for 3 years, but now she can be exclusively seen on KMIR sharing the coolest stories in sports. She’s an avid gym rat, slightly sarcastic and more likely to recite Steve Young’s career passing stats than American Idol winners. Tune in to KMIR’s nightly news or KMIR.com for her sports reports.