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It doesn't always take a legend to walk through that door

Many moons ago, Rick Pitino stood at the podium after another Boston Celtics defeat. The team was pretty damn sorry, the media was prepared to pepper Pitino with pitiful and predicatable questions and Pitino was ready for them.

The man was frustrated. He understood why the fans were upset, why the media was coming at him, and why the pressure was so tense. At the same time, he realized there are some things that are out of everyone's control.

What came from Pitino was a jewel that has been immortalized to be an answer to fit any situation when people live in the past and carry the expectations of them that just aren't meant for a team's current situation:


Harsh as it was, Pitino was right. Larry Bird wasn’t going to walk through that door. Neither was Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, and anyone else tied to the championship glory days of the Boston Celtics. It was going to be a process, an ugly and painful one that the Celtics would endure before they returned to the championship discussion.

Similar things can be said about the NFL. Currently, there are three undefeated teams left. Now we all know it’s only three games into the season. However, all of these teams are playing inspired ball, confident ball, smart ball, and it’s contributed to them being where they’re at right now. In the case of two of the teams, it's especially sweet considering their recent history.

When you think of the glory years of the Buffalo Bills, Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Darryl Talley and other names are prominently mentioned, and for good reason. Those four helped the Bills reach Super Bowls throughout the ‘90s. Since then, the Bills have had some moments, but the great ones have been few and far between.

Well, we can look at 2011, and the resurgence is evident. Ryan Fitzpatrick out-dueled Sir Thomas Brady last Sunday. Fred Jackson is running like a grown man, and Stevie Johnson continues to make strides as a possible top-15 receiver in football. David Nelson is playing out-of-his-mind right now, and Drayton Florence, already playing good ball, picked off Sir Thomas last Sunday and took it back to the house for good measure.

Their top pick from last year, CJ Spiller, is off to a slow start, but it's certainly not going to last, which means they're bound to be even more explosive. Joslin and the rest of the Bills fans are excited as ever, as they should be. The team is playing well, and they honestly deserve all the good that’s happening to them.

As for the Lions, shoot; where do we start? This is the same team that recently lost every freaking game they played in a season. Regardless, the strides they made were obvious. They just had to get over the hump, and three games into the season, they’re doing just that. Plus, when you've seen a team reside in football hell for so long, you eventually want to see them do well (that is unless you hate them, which, at that point, is understandable.)

Fans know all about Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh. Jim Schwartz is doing a great job getting his team ready to play each week. Brandon Pettigrew played like an All-Pro against the Vikings, and Kyle Vanden Bosch is back from the dead as well and leading the team in sacks. The team is playing hard, they’re showing resilency, and they’re beating teams who, at one time, more than likely had their way with them. They have four players with at least 14 catches, which shows Stafford shares the pill at will, and for a defense that’s playing well, they’re still without their top draft pick, Big Nick Fairley.

The Lions didn’t wait on Barry Sanders, Herman Moore, and Robert Porcher to suit up, or Wayne Fontes to walk through that door and coach them up. They’re going out there and getting the job done. The Bills didn’t wait on their legends either. They've taken their bumps and bruises, but talent, hard work, and a little luck is the tried-and-true remedy for success in the world of sports.

It’s still early, but they can say what 29 other teams can’t say. As of right now, the number in the L column for the Bills and Lions is zero, and they have every intention on keeping it that way as long as possible.

Be easy.
-K. Masenda
www.edthesportsfan.com

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