Originally posted on ProHockeyTalk:
The Edmonton Oilers are going with a youth movement in their leadership group.
On Tuesday, head coach Ralph Krueger announced Jordan Eberle would assume full-time alternate captain duties while Taylor Hall would share the “A” with defenseman Nick Schultz.
“We feel it’s a good time for Taylor and Jordan to step up,” Krueger said. “It’s the passion they bring to the game, to our team and the city of Edmonton.”
It seems every year there is that one team, no matter the sport or level of profession, that just stands above the rest. In the 90′s it was the Dallas Cowboys for the NFL, in the 2000′s it was USC for the College ranks. Even beyond the decade structure and purely on a year by year basis, about half way through the given sport’s calendar, the dominant team sticks out like Dracula’s castle in the Transylvanian countryside.
Yet this year is unique.
It is unique not in the sense that there is a change of the guard and a new dominance is presenting itself, but rather in the fact the dominance is pretty….well pretty absent. We had a taste of this back in 2006 when the BCS team ranked number one changed from week to week, but who would have thought it was going to be a four sport epidemic? It started like a normal sports year but as we crept closer and closer to the end of baseball (which had produced a numerically dominant team in the Minnesota Twins but that turned out as it usually does) and the start of the football seasons, it was apparent; something was different.
Maybe it was the looming Collective Bargaining Agreement talks in the NFL, of course that was it. Let’s just play a few weeks and everyone will forget what all that greedy financial mumbo-jumbo means and everything will be normal. But as we approach week 6, it’s clear that’s not the issue. Maybe it’s the sanctions on USC in the NCAA and the fact every BCS supporter’s worst fears will be realized when Boise State becomes the next mighty College dynasty. But they still aren’t the number one team in the country, and there is still unease in the college ranks. Everyone is now starting to admit it like they knew it from the start, but there is an absence of dominance in sports right now. But is this really a bad thing? Should we fear this the way we get the implication we should when Chris Berman says in a deep, monotone worried voice that there is no dominance. Is the world really ending?!
Hardly. Our world is not ending. However the world of the major sports networls and advertising companies has gotten a bit gloomier. The collective dollar sign hearts of the heads of these corporations (which I ironically hope to work for someday) started out beating just fine week one of the NFL season. Brett Favre was back and playing the Saints in an obvious (yet purely genius) cash cow of a game. There was no major upsets the week prior in the NCAA standings ao that was all in order. Heck the Saints even ended up beating the Vikings so our dominant teams emerged yet again, shaking off that rust from the offseason. Everything was going according to plan.
Then Week 3 happened; The Saints lost.
A tremor was felt through the sports advertising world. The dominance was shaken, but not yet broken. These guys wouldn’t be in sports advertising if they weren’t quick on their feet. The Kansas City Chiefs were now the only undefeated team left so the stock was put in them. There was more stories about the Chiefs in weeks 3-5 then there was the past three years. Week 4 brought an even more comforting gift, Randy Moss was back with his original team. See everything was going to be okay after all.
Then came Week 5: Judgment week.
Not only did the Saints lose to the Cardinals and a no name QB, the Vikings lost, the BCS was flipped in its head and the Kansas City Cheifs, America’s new ray of hope…lost. Did you feel it? People will tell for decades, generations of the day the sports world imploded on itself and it’s advertising pimps. The shock wave effected not only football, but baseball too. No not because the Twins, who by the numbers had a dominant year, had lost; come one we all saw that coming. The Tampa Bay Rays had lost and the New York Yankees, the one safe bet in sports, found themselves losing to the Texas Rangers a team who had never made it to the ALCS in franchise history. The ripple effect mucked up the NLCS too as the Phillies, the sure bet to make it to the World Series from Opening Day, lost…at home…to the San Francisco Giants.
But is this really a bad thing? Sure the sports advertising world is just as lost as we are; so what? After all ESPN actually managed to accidentally come out on top and they rightfully so should act like they knew it all along. I mean they get Saints-Vikings week one, killer ratings. Then they had already planned the Jets-Vikings game in the summer, then the the Brett Favre scandal happened and then (and much to the pleasure of ESPN stockholders) Randy Moss got traded to the Vikings. The biggest sports story to hit Minnesota since…forever and arguably the biggest NFL story of the season had landed gift wrapped and ratings stuffed on ESPN’s lap. Man do they get some breaks or what?
But in getting back to the point, is it really bad that we don’t have that one dominant team in sports? This is more than just a season without a for sure winner, it’s the official changing of the guard for the new decade. Not only will we have one new dominant team, we will have a new one in each sport. It’s the age of the underdog and that tremor is being felt in more than just advertising offices.