Expectations can be a brutal thing. They often set the table for success or disappointment before a player or team take the field or before any event takes place. Consider this, two player are drafted, one in the first round, one in the seventh round. Both put up the same stats, lets say (for a wide receiver), 34 catches for 500 yards and 4 touchdowns. Was that a successful year? More likely than not, the first rounder will be viewed as a mild disappointment, as those aren't game changing numbers, whereas the seventh rounder will be seen as a saving grace, a diamond in the rough if you will.
But how can that be if they both put up the same stats? Expectations.
Not to get all philosophical on you, but how a player is judged isn't solely on the field, but by the yardstick we measure them by. When we expect more, we are less willing to accept mediocre or average performance. Likewise, when we expect the worst, average performance is often seen as success. It's a tough two-way street that often leads to different views and opinions on players and teams.
That's where we, as fans, differ.
We all have differing expectations for each player and each team. Some may expect Josh Freeman to have a 65% completion rate, and a 2:1 TD:INT ratio while others will be happy with a 1:1 TD:INT ratio. No one is right or wrong, but if Freeman hits 1:1, one fan will be happy, the other will be disappointed.
Which leads us to the 2010 version of the Bucs. Coming off a disappointing season by almost anyone's standards, 2010 is a chance to right the ship. At the end of the year, some fans will be pleased with the outcome, some will be apathetic, and others will be disappointed, and it all comes down to what we expected. Now, the obvious antidote to being disappointed is to set the bar low. Not gonna happen. We're fans, not pragmatic individuals who separate the fan from the person. Most of us will go in to the season with what we feel are realistic expectations and wait for the outcome.
But how will you define success this year for the team? Personally, as I've mentioned about 392 times, I'm looking for progress this year on all fronts. From the front office all the way down to the water boy. I expect some rough patches and unfortunately some losses, but 3-13 is not acceptable. I'm ballparking us between 5 and 7 wins for now, though I reserve the right to change my mind (prior to the season starting of course). Now, another team would say "6-10, that's awful" and they'd be right. But in the grand scheme of things, doubling the win total while also putting the players in the best position to win games will be a huge step forward.
We've seen many players and teams be washed aside just by expectations. While we want it all (Lombardi Trophy), be careful where you set the bar, you may ultimately be the one who gets washed away.
As a blog, we're gonna set up a post closer to the season to detail what our predictions are for the season, both for the team and for certain players. At that time (not in this post) we'll ask everyone to detail their predictions for as much or as little of the topics as they want. We'll compile a spreadsheet with everyone's name and predictions and see how close we are. At this point, no prizes or anything will be awarded, but that may change. But for this piece, where do you set the bar for the 2010 Bucs? What will define a success for this team in your mind?