All great stories have one thing in common; great conflict. When great conflict is woven into the story correctly the result for the viewer is a true work of art. When looking for these great stories I would love to go back into one of my loves and that is movies. Specifically lets talk about Predator one of the key action movies from the 1980s. The conflict starts off as a simple assignment as a rescue. One side is Dutch and his crew that don't have time to bleed. They see some troops that look like they were gutted but end up at the enemy compound and take care of business. The director did a good job of using Alfred Htichcocks "Bomb Theory" which states that two people are having a conversation around a table and talking about something trivial, lets say the New York jets, that's trivial enough. A bomb goes off and everyone has a few seconds of shock. But what if five minutes before the bomb went off it was shown to the audience. The two people are still having the trivial conversation about the New York Jets but the audience is now feeling scare, in suspense as they know when the bomb is going off but the people talking have no clue. This idea was used in Predator as the audience knew something else was out there, they didn't know what but they knew where as Dutch and his crew did not. The conflict was real, the feeling was real.
So when we look at Conflicts in cinema, we can look at Casino as Nicky meets his end and the audience if they knew anything about the real life story was based upon can see the death coming.
How about the conflict in the Dark Knight and suspense as Batman and The Joker finally met in the Penthouse of Bruce Wayne. The suspense was there and finally Batman had met someone who he could not rationalize as Alfred so eloquently coined "Some men just want to see the world burn".
Last example of conflict is from The Hunt for Red October. Captain Ramis hands of the submarine to the Americans and just as that happens a Soviet sub launches a torpedo. Ramis turns his sub into the torpedo and the conflict between Ramis and the Americans are tense. But there are of course in controleld because both Captains are Captains and getting into a shooting match like we have seen in the latest Star Trek films is not what Captains behave as it isn't gentlemanly. Amazing conflict.
I bring all of these examples up to show you the new NFL conflict and rivalry. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. This is the conflict the NFL hsa been waiting for ever since Brady V. Manning. Have they tried others? Sure, but the Seahawks and 49ers fizzled out. Brady V. Big Ben, Steelers just couldn't beat New England in anything significant. No, it is now Mahomes Vs. Allen. The conflict we can feel. Both teams I believe have a great respect for each other but there is no love loss. Both are the two most physically gifted QBs in the league. Both QBs are overall good guys. Both can make plays that simply put, no one else in the league can make.
So why is the NFL jumping for joy that a new conflict is here to be celebrated? Because without realistic conflict the story is kind of crap. Its like saying Kirk Cousins is going to challenge Aaron Rogers. Nope, that isn't going to happen. Need a movie example? Rey from the new Star Wars trilogy. Where is her conflict? She schools Han Solo on how to fix his own ship. She ends up saving them when they're supposed to be rescuing her, she stands up to Kylo Ren in a lightsaber battle when he's been working with the force for much longer (Not to mention he acts like a child with a temper tantrum so often, not as stoic as Darth Vader) she proves to be a better Jedi than Luke Skywalker. She legitimately LACKS CONFLICT. Where as Luke started as some kid who didn't know anything and needed guidance and his friends to save him the first time, a mentor to help him to use the force, to be trained by Yoda, he still had conflicts and lost his arm. Conflict in any story is needed. The NFL is thrilled because right now they have conflict and I can't wait to see how this story plays out.
Random Bills Thoughts:
1.) Here at NFL Musings and Observations we have always said when technique meets talent is when results are shown. Well, Groot is showing that this philosophy is true. He may not be the most physically gifted and he was seen as a work in progress but his ability to set the edge and under leverage is really coming along. I believe that the Bills have found their starting DE for the foreseeable future.
2.) I'm very curious as to how the Bills utilize their safeties against the Chiefs. I believe that they want to keep them up in a 2 high shell and keep the Chiefs from scoring on bunches. This can be dictated by the Bills offense if they have some success. The Chiefs are at their heart a big play offense. If the Bills can stop the run without Hyde or Poyer in the box they will have success.
3.) One of the big thing this weekend is Chris Jones is in the line up against the Bills. He was out when they met earlier this year as well as Melvin Ingram after he was traded. The Chiefs DL will be stronger than even last year. How do the Bills counter? A few thoughts is to play a faster pace and really start to feature the quick passing game. The Bills have an advantage with the WRs (If they're not held) and if JA17 can have the ball out fast it bodes well for the team.
4.) Dawson Knox is a top 10 TE! I know some Rumblers will had me writing this as he has made some mistakes and drops but please, someone, list 9 TEs that we know are better.
5.) The emergence of Singletary and an efficient running game coupled with the Bills having a better offense is no coincidence. Note, the Bills don't want to be the Titans because they have Josh Allen. But the efficient running game has allowed the Bills to get strong 6-10 yard runs. But lets ask a question, can short passes to the running backs be considered part of the running game? Yes! Many say that if you want to get a team out of zone you have to run the ball. This is true but the fact that you can achieve the same objective with short passes can't be forgotten. In the end the Bills want man to man coverage so they can run crossers. It is their staple play. Josh Allen throws crossing patterns better than anyone else but it is harder against zone. By forcing teams to play man and putting a safety in the box the Bills have pretty much allowed JA17 to throw the best route he can.
Random NFL Thoughts:
1.) The NFL is becoming more and more about continuation and philosophy. A team needs to have a philosophy for success and then a continuation from GM and HC to all scouts and all coaches as to how to achieve this end. I bring this up because I feel like shot gun wedding style hires for GM and HC from owners are going to become less common. I believe more owners are looking at the Bills and saying, alright Beane and McD are from the same organization (Panthers) believe the same thing, they're my teams future.
2.) Bruce Arians fined 50K for hitting his own player, good. The days of the old ball coach hitting a player is over. Grabbing the jersey and any of that nonsense is done. As it should be, if you need to hit someone to make your point then you need to work on your communication. I couldn't imagine Coach McD hitting Poyer or Hyde. Maybe yell at them but even then I don't see McD yelling a ton on the sidelines.
3.) As teams are looking for their future head coach I have a few suggestions:
1.) Are they a communicator: Anyone can yell but can they convey their message.
2.) Beware of New England assistant coaches: Track record alone would make me nervous. I don't fully believe that being an assistant for the Patriots is automatically a No-Go. However see reason #1 and look at the last three Patriot assistants. Matt Patricia: Couldn't get people to listen or buy in. Was rude to the media and acted stand offish. Brian Flores: Major problems working with people and stopped communicating to his assistants, management and owner. Joe Judge: Had a 10 minute press conference about not being a clown show while looking at a clown show. Jason Garrett it was rumored was so tired working for Judge. Better really make sure that they understand that they're not Belicheck, you can't act that way unless you're winning.
3.) Do they align with your vision as the owner and GM: Don't hire the big name for the sake of the big name. Urban Meyers and Gruden come to mind. This goes back to the idea of continuity. Big names are great but have you seen some of the crap Bruce Willis makes now?
4.) Don't get tied up into the grades for hires. Some believed McD was going to be a terrible hire. Some said Andy Reid could never win the big one. Simply put, have faith in your hire and then support them in achieving the franchise vision.
5.) The last thing is give them a realistic view of expectations. I'll give an example, Giants are not going to the playoffs next year and probably not the year after. But in year three the Head Coach should have the team in contention for the playoffs.
4.) The Nickelodeon game was AWESOME!
Have a great week!