The NFL season goes by in the blink of an eye, so for your rooting team, expectations matter.  It is different in other sports.  In the middle or end of an interminable MLB, MLS, NBA or NHL season, it is hard to remember how you felt about the team before the season started.  And when you do remember it seems like a distant memory like your 4th grade class trip to Hannibal, MO.  ”Remember when we went to the Tom Sawyer Museum?” or “Remember when we thought that the Cardinals were doomed when Adam Wainwright had to have surgery?”.  Both of those thoughts seem like ages ago, a fuzzy memory of a distant past that were from a different person or a different mind.

NFL expectations are more ingrained, passionate and immediate.  The NFL regular season is 4 months long.  The off-season is 8 months long.  The expectations built up in those 8 long months can linger through the whole season.

Especially when a team like the Rams, with playoff aspirations in a wide open NFC West falls flat on their face through 4 games, those expectations of a resurgent season through the painful lockout lifted all of our spirits hoping for a 2011 NFL season.  When we got the season, it was not anything like we expected.

The Rams fans came downstairs on Christmas morning, saw the big red package under the tree with the giant green bow on top.  They had in their mind what they expected it to be – a brand spanking new playoff appearance.  But, when they opened it, all they found was the same rotting fruit they got in 2007, 2008 and 2009 just in a different package.  Rams fans have the same sickening feeling knowing what they hoped they would get and that there is 364 days until they get another chance to come down the stairs hoping to unwrap a new playoff appearance.

One of these times, maybe they should know better and stop thinking that something better than rotting fruit is under that Christmas tree.

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