The League

Anthony Stalter
National Blogger

Anthony Stalter

Senior Sports Editor for The Scores Report

Perception and expectations


The term "overrated" has always been humorous to me.

Michael Vick is overrated. The Dallas Cowboys are overrated. Van Halen with Sammy Hagar was overrated, but not with David Lee Roth. (Even though VH never won anything with Roth. I'm pro Sammy all the way...)

I'll let you in on a little secret: We're the reason why a person, place or thing is overrated. And by "we" I'm referring to the fans and media.

Think about it for a second. When Vick came into the league there was a large portion of people that thought he would revolutionize the way the quarterback position would be played forever. There was also a large contingent that thought he wouldn't live up to the hype.

Those that said and wrote that he would revolutionize the game were the ones who ultimately made him overrated. When Vick was in college he was an athlete playing the quarterback position. And when he got to the NFL, he was an athlete playing the quarterback position.

The only variable that changed was that fans and some in the media built this larger-than-life player and there was no way he was going to live up to those expectations.

And thus, Michael Vick has always been overrated.

The Cowboys are no different. When they won three Super Bowls in the mid-90s, all of a sudden they became "America's Team." Now that they've struggled for the better part of a decade, they've morphed into "the most overrated team in football." Every time they lose, non-Dallas fans are quick to point out that they're overrated (especially when the 'Boys look as pathetic as they did Sunday night in Washington).

Here's the ironic part: if Vick goes on to play well this season, people will appreciate his talents even more because now he's not expected to "revolutionize the quarterback position." He's a backup, with backup expectations.

If the Cowboys spent the next five years in the cellar of the NFC East and stopped choking toward the ends of seasons or in the playoffs when they're perceived as pre-season contenders, people would eventually change their outlook on them too.

It's all about perception and even more so, about expectations. A person, place or thing is only overrated because we make them/it out to be. When the expectations change, so does the perception of that player or team.

As far as the Cowboys are concerned this year, they'll be fine. It was a bad opening night, but it's something that Wade Phillips and his coaching staff can learn from. It was clear that the Cowboys were trying to do too much offensively, which is what led to Tashard Choice's stupid decision to try and plow over 11 Redskins on his way to a 69-yard touchdown instead of just falling down. The entire team stepped in quick sand and instead of staying calm they panicked and eventually sunk. It happens.

I still think the Cowboys win the division this year. I know the Giants were impressive on Sunday, but Matt Moore did everything he could to ensure New York's victory, so let's wait and see how the G-Men fair Sunday night in Indianapolis before we crown them.

As far as the Eagles, Kevin Kolb was shaky and even though Vick looked good, don't forget that the Packers hadn't game planned for him - they game planned for Kolb, a more traditional passer. I think Philly and New York will vie for second place behind the Cowboys in the division, even when you consider Dallas' awful showing on Sunday night.

By Anthony Stalter  |  September 14, 2010; 9:21 AM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys , Michael Vick , New York Giants , Philadelphia Eagles , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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