Why you should never read too much into Week 1
Ahh the first week of the season. 16 teams' message boards blow up with trolls deciding it is the end of the world and who they want to pick with the first selection of the 2013 draft. And the other 16 teams' boards have a mixture of the realistic and the blindly optimistic.
Truth is boys and girls, Week 1 is just too small a sample size to make a realistic prediction. Remember 2003 when the defending Super Bowl champions opened Philly's new stadium with a 17-0 shutout on Monday Night? It only took six days for things to all begin to fall apart for Jon Gruden's apparent world-beaters who were on their way a 16-0 unbeaten mark after one game.
Or going further back into the annals of Buccaneer history, 1987 and Ray Perkins' first game. That was 48-10 over Atlanta and the only lasting success of that win was the grief I have given their kicker Mick Luckhurst ever since it happened.
So the Bucs beat Carolina and looked a lot better than they did in the 2011 season finale in Atlanta in doing so. OK so that was probably the easiest goal achieved in NFL history but it was still a win. But does that make Tampa Bay playoff threats and division contenders? Bill Simmons and several of his ESPN colleagues have been on the Buccaneer bandwagon for a few weeks now simply because there is a lot of talent on this team and Raheem is no longer coaching it. Throw in all the bad karma around New Orleans and you can see more of an improvement in the win column than anything Pro Football Weekly could ever comprehend.
I was impressed with so many things from the victory over Carolina, not least TJ Rives' hour-long attempt to get something worthwhile out of Coach Schiano during his Monday radio show. The discipline on the defense was something to behold and if NFL GamePass ever get their bloody coaches' film option working, then I can really get into the nitty-gritty of how they did it.
But Week 1 is just Week 1 and only 6.25% of the season. Every fantasy baseball player knows about Tuffy Rhodes, the former Cubs' outfielder who hit three home runs on opening day in 1994 and saw him signed overnight to every league. He hit 10 more his entire three-year major league career.
The NFL example is the 1989 season when the Cleveland Browns went into Pittsburgh and laid a 51-0 shellacking on the Steelers on their own turf. By the end of the season, the Browns won the division by half a game from the same Steelers who won the return match in the Dawg Pound pretty comfortably.
Weeks 2 to 4 see teams assert their mettle, find their true level and some sense and normality return to proceedings. That Griffin bloke will come back to earth playing a team that doesn't have half its front office suspended, Miami will still look crap and the Giants will probably exceed the Panthers' Week 1 rushing output on the first play of the game.
But right now your Tampa Bay Buccaneers are tied for the division lead and actually the NFC lead based on divisional record. Can we just stop now and go straight to New Orleans?
You've been great, enjoy Adam Ant.