Yesterday’s poll, asking whether I should stick to my guns and go down fighting for the Ndamukong Suh pick or go with the increasingly strong momentum toward Sam Bradford, has generated mixed results: equal votes both ways. But more telling than the vote cast, to me, was the relative lack of response, even for a lil’ RamsHerd poll.
I get the feeling that many Rams fans, regardless of how they feel on the issue, recognize that there’s not much more juice to be squeezed out of the debate. In a very real sense, the debate is over, so why ask the question?
But for all the Rams fans like me who had visions of Suh, Clausen, or even a trade down, there’s a difference between knowing and accepting. In a sense, our herd of Rams fans is moving through the five stages of grief, as they try let go of (or in some cases, hold onto more tightly) their pre-draft pick.
Here’s a quick sampling of recent tweets, coupled with some psychoanalysis from the Kubler-Ross model of acceptance, that shows us just how ready people are right now.
Stage 1: Denial
“Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of situations and individuals that will be left behind after death.”
Stage 2: Anger
To be honest, this is where a lot of Rams fans are happy to stay. 6 wins in 3 years leaves a lot of raw nerves, and there’s a catharsis in finding fault with the Rams. If that means sticking with your own pick after the choice has been made, and waiting for Bradford to bust so you can say “I told you so,” then so be it.
It is possible for Bradford to perform well enough over time to win over this anger, but it will take a jolt of immediate, obvious improvement, and an extended playoff run. For a quarterback taken #1, those are the stakes. If you can’t deliver, you shouldn’t have been picked, and this anger will be more than justified.
“Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.”
Stage 3: Bargaining/Rationalization
Not really the kind of bargaining that Kubler-Ross talks about, and I’m pretty sure there’s a whole ‘nother five stages of crazy if you want to see Thigpen in a Rams uni. But most fans in the Bradford camp are already hedging based on a bargain of sorts: “I’ll support Bradford, depending on how he does at his workout.” This caveat allows them to buy time to support a second choice.
Hell, the recent comments by Devaney himself could be characterized in this stage, if you take them at face value:
— Bernie Miklasz: “Two healthy relationships: Rams-Bradford, Khan-Kroenke“
“The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, ‘I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time…’ “
Stage 4: Numbness/Depression
Out of any of these stages, this one fits where I am right now. I’m a short step from acceptance, but I can’t really come to grips with trying to tout Bradford as the right choice. I recognize that the Rams need a quarterback of the future, and that my plan (trading for Kevin Kolb) just doesn’t seem likely. I am partially heartened by a general consensus among draftniks that says Bradford will at least be competent as an NFL starter.
I still don’t like the pick. But that doesn’t mean I can’t come around and like the player, once he’s wearing the golden horns.
“During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect oneself from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.”
Stage 5: Acceptance
Life is certainly sunnier on this side of the street. Hopefully I’ll get there someday soon.
But for the time being, it’s enough for me to swallow my pride and say: “With the first pick in the FanBall Mock Draft (Remix), RamsHerd selects QB – Sam Bradford (Oklahoma)“