What NFL Pivots Mean to the Game

It’s no secret that the NFL is a copycat league. Teams will do almost anything to gain an advantage over their opponents. This year alone, we’ve seen a number of new tactics and new strategies pop up. While some of these changes may be positive, there’s one huge problem: They don’t belong here. These are tactics that don’t translate well to the NFL and will actually hurt your chances of winning.

New Off-Season Training Practices

One of the main things that set the NFL apart from other sports is that the off-season is longer. Typically, teams in other sports leagues are done with their off-seasons by the end of April at the latest. In the NFL though, a lot can happen between now and then. Teams will often hold training camps and work out throughout the off-season. Many times, these practices don’t end until June or even later. This allows teams to really work on their weaknesses and to improve their game.

This year, we’ve seen some of the off-season practices in full swing. For instance, the Chicago Bears held training camp last month, even though the season hasn’t started yet. This is a huge advantage for them as they get to work on their game while the grass is still green. It also allows them to continue practicing in the rain which is something the NFL doesn’t allow during the season.

No Locker Room Tensions

Another big difference between the NFL and other sports is that there’s no such thing as a locker room fight. If two players get into a fight during a game, it’ll only end up in the referees’ hands. For the most part, players aren’t going to drop the gloves with each other and fight. This is especially true given the NFL’s obsession with preserving player safety. When this happens during a game though, it can lead to some seriously crazy antics. You’ll often see players get into fights with each other during the offseason, especially in July when free agency opens. These fights are rarely bad, especially since participants are usually willing to fight through teammates’ attempts to break them up. The fights usually just lead to coaches and teammates trying to break them up. This enforces a sense of teamwork and trust that typically doesn’t exist in sports other than the NFL.

Increased Mental Preparation

This year, a lot of focus will be on the mental side of the game. This is primarily because the NFL is a harder sport to play well mentally than physically. Anyone who’s ever played fantasy football knows that there’s a lot more to winning at fantasy football than simply having a good year. It takes a lot of preparation and mental focus to become a better player each week. This year, the emphasis is going to be on making the right decision quicker, which will lead to more effective play on game day.

The Rise Of The Underdog

It was previously stated that the NFL is a copycat league. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to the offseason. Every year, there are multiple underdogs that rise up to surprise everyone this year. Sometimes, these underdogs end up winning the Super Bowl. In 2019 though, there’s no team that’s more surprising than the Arizona Cardinals. The team was picked by many to win the NFC West last year and they shocked everyone by finishing 8-8.

When you have a team that’s supposed to be good but hasn’t performed well in the past, it’s easy to see them as underdogs. In the Cardinals’ case, they’ve got a lot of former first-round picks and Pro Bowlers on their roster. Many consider this team to be one of the best in the NFL. The majority of the roster is made up of future Hall of Famers and Pro Bowlers. This year though, they’re underdogs. No one expects the team that went 10-6 last season to repeat, especially with their losses coming at the end of exceptionally long and draining games. This is a sign that this team is mentally unprepared for the coming season. The schedule is stacked against them. It’s hard to play well when your opponent knows what’s coming. This may explain their early exit from the playoffs.

At first glance, it may not seem like there’s anything wrong with the above examples. After all, they’re all professional football players and the NFL is a respectable sport. To the contrary, there’s a lot wrong with all of these examples. The first and most obvious problem is that they don’t belong in the NFL. If a sports psychologist has analyzed the above scenarios and concluded that these tactics will make his or her patient perform better at football, he or she is probably a fraud. These tactics don’t belong in the NFL because they don’t promote teamwork and collaboration on the field. They promote fighting and mean-spiritedness off the field.

To put it simply, these are the seven ways that the NFL is different from other sports. By understanding these differences, you’ll have a better sense of what it means when people say that the NFL is a different animal. The good news is that there are ways that you can play football without using these tactics. You just have to find them.