Nobody ever wins a Super Bowl title in the offseason, yet every March, NFL teams make splashy moves and title hype builds. It happened this past offseason, primarily with three teams: the Colts, Seahawks and Eagles. Keeping in mind that big names create ALL CAPS HEADLINES, those three teams instantly became sexy Super Bowl picks six months ago.
And guess what happened when the preseason arrived and it was time for folks to pick Super Bowl teams? The teams that made headlines six months ago with free agent signings were frequently picked to win it all.
While all those three teams could still get to the Super Bowl, they’re all 0-2 facing Very Important Games this weekend because since the playoffs expanded over 25 years ago, teams that start 0-3 have a 2% chance of making the playoffs.
March 10: Seattle Seahawks trade for New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham.
A month after failing to win the Super Bowl because they passed at the goal line instead of running Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks looked to improve their weak red zone touchdown percentage. Enter Graham, who had 85+ receptions for four straight seasons, and 46 TDs in that time span. With Gronk so often injured, Graham was the best tight end in the NFL for a good portion of those four years.
2015: Through two games, Graham has seven catches for 62 yards, and he’s on pace for a 56-catch season. These things take time.
March 11: Indianapolis signs Andre Johnson to a 3-year, $21 million deal.
March 18: Indianapolis signs Frank Gore.
The Colts spanked the Broncos in Denver to reach the AFC title game. Sure, they got destroyed by the Patriots (hello,DeflateGate!), but after three years and three straight playoff trips, it felt like Andrew Luck was closing in on a Super Bowl. So GM Ryan Grigson spent a lot of money on three players over the age of 30 who have had very nice careers – Johnson, the Houston WR star; Gore, the longtime 49ers bell cow & Trent Cole, the pass rusher who spent nearly a decade in Philly. I fell for the Super Bowl hype.
2015: Through two games, Gore has 23 carries for 88 yards and Johnson has seven catches for 51 yards. Neither has a touchdown. Cole has one tackle for loss and no sacks. These things take time.
March 10: Philadelphia trades for Sam Bradford.
March 12: Philadelphia signs DeMarco Murray.
Chip Kelly inherited a 4-win dumpster fire from Andy Reid and then proceeded to go 10-6 in back-to-back years. And he did it in seasons that his starting QB (first Mike Vick, then Nick Foles) got injured! But now Kelly gained total control over the team’s roster, and he wanted to go get the QB that was for him. And bolster his defense. And jettison a dance-happy RB for a downhill runner. It was a busy offseason for the Eagles. Yup, I bought the hype.
2015: Bradford is completing 66% of his passes through two games, but he has four INTs and just two TDs with a low YPA of 6.3. Murray has carried 21 times for 11 yards (with one rushing and one receiving TD). Alonso has seven tackles and a spectacular INT, but was injured midway through the 2nd game.